“Within the first two years of being president, I will change everything in the way that we run things. If I don’t change everything in two years, I will resign.” Then-leader of opposition, now State President Lazarus Chakwera.

President Chakwera was born to a poor rural family in rural Lilongwe and lived his formative years under Malawi’s first president, late Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda.

The story of Kamuzu Banda, as everyone knows, is not a short one. We cannot even begin to unravel it here.

Suffice to say, critics on both sides of the aisle can write and never run out of fodder of both good and bad about Kamuzu.

In the context of the title above, I will touch on just one thing: among the few things no one can take away from Kamuzu’s legacy is the fact that in his era, boys and girls born from rural areas and from the poorest of families who made it to secondary school had as good a chance as any boy or girl born of affluent parents to proceed to university; graduate and after that pick a job of their choice, or like in the case of President Chakwera, dedicate themselves to saving souls without fear of destitution.

Kamuzu’s talk was never cheap.

His actions spoke. Both ways.

Fast-forward, Chakwera entered Malawi politics in 2013 as Malawi Congress Party (MCP) leader. He ran for president in 2014 and 2019, coming second both times.

Upon the annulment of the 2019 elections by the Constitutional Court, a Fresh Presidential Election was called.

Chakwera, at the helm of a loose federation of nine opposition parties with Saulosi Chilima as his running mate, trounced Democratic Progressive Party’s Peter Mutharika.

And lo and behold, Chakwera stumbled onto a lifetime opportunity to walk his campaign talk and deliver.

In his fool’s paradise “It’s an honour” acceptance speech, President Chakwera doubled down on promising the moon.

Among other things, he said independence “was for all of us, together, to be the ones who enjoy the riches of Malawi’s soil; to be the ones who make the products of her industries; to be the ones who harvest the bounties of her fields; to be the ones who are served by her taxes, and to be the ones who raise the skylines of her cities.”

He continued, “The time has come for us to arise from the slumber of our dream and make the dream true. Dr. Chilima and I accept this challenge and task. We will pursue it, not just as servants accountable to you voters, but as stewards of the hopes of millions of children, born and unborn, who have no vote.”

“With your help, we will restore a new generation’s faith in the possibility of having a government that serves, not a government that rules; a government that inspires, not a government that infuriates; a government that listens, not a government that shouts; a government that fights for you, not against you.”

He went on to bear personal testimony on what a good government for all can do.

“Now, I am no stranger to the benefits of good government. Although I was raised in a poor village like most Malawians; raised without inherited riches or political connections like most Malawians; raised without electricity or running water like most Malawians; I stand here today because I had one of the blessings of God that young Malawians today do not: The blessing of growing up in a well-governed Malawi.

”So I pledge to run Malawi well, for that is the surest path to Tsogolo Labwino, a path that has long been in ruins, riddled with the potholes of greed and corruption. In making this pledge, I am accepting this call to serve you with joy and holy fear, for I am duty-bound to God and all of you to give it my best.”

If what we have seen is Chakwera’s best, what would his worst feel like?

Look here, eighteen months under Chakwera, the feeling of betrayal is palpable for most Malawians.

If Chakwera were indeed governing as he had pledged, i.e., “running Malawi well” and “changing everything in the way that we run things,” how do we explain the fact that 57 years after independence, it is a British law enforcement agency accosting those whose who steal our taxes, bribe truckloads of government officials and externalize the loot?

If truth be told, vis-à-vis the ongoing Zuneth Sattar and associates saga, had the British not arrested Sattar, as we speak, he would have been signing another billion Kwacha tender!

When exactly did President Chakwera plan that Malawians begin enjoying the fruits of their taxes?

How can we reconcile the restoration of “a new generation’s faith in the possibility of having a government that serves, not a government that rules; a government that inspires, not a government that infuriates; a government that listens, not a government that shouts; a government that fights for you, not against you”; when every trick in the book has been tried to stop Bon Kalindo from organizing long overdue protests demanding that Chakwera walk his talk?

How do we begin to comprehend that someone who “was raised in a poor village like most Malawians; raised without inherited riches or political connections like most Malawians; raised without electricity or running water like most Malawians and is President today because he had one of the blessings of God that young Malawians today do not: the blessing of growing up in a well-governed Malawi” can today insensitively lambast some 500 souls inboxing him to lead?

All the above, however, is nothing. From the “It’s an honour” castle-in-the-air speech, my main take-home was the finale:

”So I pledge to run Malawi well, for that is the surest path to Tsogolo Labwino, a path that has long been in ruins, riddled with the potholes of greed and corruption. In making this pledge, I am accepting this call to serve you with joy and holy fear, for I am duty-bound to God and all of you to give it my best”.

Something, surely, must have happened on the way to heaven!

You know, if the president is a man of his word, in about six months or so from now, he should do the right and honorable thing.

Within the first two years of being president, he has not, and there is no reason to believe he will change a thing.

It’s high time that anyone with a spare pen and a ream of paper donated them to the State House for the president to begin drafting the promised: I quit!

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