Analysis by Thocco Mlamba

Two years since President Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera assumed power and just about to reach second anniversary, debate has been gaining momentum in the public sphere on whether his leadership has achieved enough vis-à-vis what he promised Malawians during campaign.

Chakwera delivering amid ailing economy

Those who project his leadership as an absolute failure do so based on the fact that the Tonse administration is yet to show complete projects in a way they drew them in their manifesto.

Here they promised a 100-kilometre road, they are yet to present a 100 percent output or where they promised five schools they are yet to present the same in a complete form.

This argument is understandable because voters are an impatient population. They always focus on the final product while overlooking the processes involved.

However, it must be noted that campaign promises are made with a mindset of ‘all things being equal’.

It simply means if all things were in their rightful place, what was promised was bound to be implemented as planned.

The devastating effects of Covid-19 pandemic and the numerous cyclones that hit Malawi changed the whole script by dragging the economy to slippery terrain.

Those Malawians who are having an honest measurement of Chakwera’s achievements are doing so in respect of these post Covid-19 and post-natural calamity social and economic effects that have also been part of the same two years he has been in power.

That said, there have been a number of key projects either started by the previous regime and being finalized now or those starting from scratch.

During campaign both pre 2019 and pre 2020 elections, President Chakwera put his High 5 agenda as a guiding toolkit for his leadership philosophy.

The High 5 agenda has Servant Leadership, Prospering Together, National Unity, Rule of Law and Fighting Corruption.

That means he must be judged from across all these thrusts not only roads, schools, hospitals and other kinds of infrastructure.

However, this does not mean that his administration is not constructing infrastructure across the country, no. There is construction of public infrastructure in almost every district.

For instance, Lilongwe City has now been turned into a construction site with many projects underway. These include six-lane Kenyatta Drive from Parliament Building to Old Town, four-lane Mzimba Street from Crossroads roundabout to Mchesi Bridge, Area 23 Road, Mtandire-Airwing Road, M1 Expansion to four lanes from Mchinji Roundabout to Lumbadzi, Kauma and Senti Bridges, Area 44- Ngwenya Road, Area 49 Gulliver Road and many others.

So too with Blantyre City which has the expansion of Mahatma Gandhi Road, Chilobwe-Stella Marris Road, Naperi – CI Road and many other townships roads.

Similarly, Mzuzu and Zomba have their own roads being rehabilitated to modern standards. Other district roads include Neno Road which has remained unattended since 1964 when Malawi attained independence.

Other out-of-city big projects include the state-of-the-art Ruo Bridge in Nsanje, Chakazi Bridge in Mzimba and the 72-kilometre railway line from Marka to Bangula as part of the Sena Development and Nacala Corridors.
    
His administration has also intensified the drive towards clean energy with huge investments in the energy sector by independent power producers. Since he assumed office, the President has launched solar projects in Salima and Dedza with cumulative power output of close to 100 megawatts. 

The High 5 agenda also focuses on other areas of governance including Ending Corruption and Rule of Law.
One may appreciate that since Chakwera came to power there has been absolute sanitizing of our toxic political culture.

No longer do we see heavily-built part cadres beating up people willy-nilly in townships or openly defying traffic regulations by among other vices driving unregistered cars or road unworthy vehicles.

There is now sanity in the political space where everyone if free to say, write and do as they please even if it means saying bad things about leadership.

On the fight against corruption, the Chakwera administration has taken a strong stance of not shielding anyone who find themselves entangled in corruption cases.

The President has fired his own cabinet ministers and advisors after they found themselves on the wrong side of the law.

Another aspect that is indicative of Chakwera’s competent rule is on how he aspires to unite the nation. He has taken it upon himself to build bridges that were broken either by his own Malawi Congress Party when Kamuzu Banda ruled from 1963 to 1993.

The kind of leadership that heals old wounds and avoid opening new ones has made Chakwera a unifier Malawi has always sought for.

These attributes and many others are evidence that the two years under Chakwera’s leadership have been transformative for Malawi in so many aspects. 

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