By Burnett Munthali
The people of Malawi believe that Reverend Lazarus Chakwera was helped to win 2020 fresh presidential election by his Vice President, Saulos Chilima, to lead the then popular Tonse Alliance (TA).
Although he won the presidency, it is still believed that the issue of 50+1 was interpreted and brought in as a way of helping Chakwera and Chilima take over government from Arthur Peter Mutharika because even the Judges thought this was the best combination to take Malawi to a different level, a better level for all Malawians.
The idea of job creation and loans for the youth empowerment was ideal and came at an appropriate time and was considered as golden truth and hope.
This was the best moment to take Malawi to greater heights, a better place for the creative, energetic, and enthusiastic greater population of Malawian.
On the contrary, I personally did not have any confidence with Chakwera succeeding Arthur Peter Mutharika because he did not appear to me to possess the zeal to change anything.
He did not have any government experience, according to my opinion, nor the driving force to change anything as he had been preaching. All the talk sounded childish and was out of desperation to get to the State House.
I believe that Chakwera qualified to contest and try his luck for the high political position of President and was handsomely given the vote to prove what he had been preaching.
However, my concern right from the beginning has been about the expertise, commitment and capacity of such a government as Tonse. But I still gave them the benefit of doubt.
Almost three years down the line, Lazarus Chakwera and his (TAG) government has faired badly as the president of Malawi. His popular Hi-5 hasn’t been implemented yet and the most annoying burning issue is the Agricultural Inputs Program (AIP) fertilizer which was procured dubiously without following government procedures and huge sums of money ended up being stolen. However, it appears the alleged stolen MK750 million or MK30 billion was actually shared by top politicians in government.
You may agree or disagree with me that Tonse Alliance Government has totally failed to change the living standards of Malawians such that people have resorted to booing and shouting the President each time he travels in all parts of Malawi.
Frustrated and disgruntled, Malawians have developed the habit of calling President Lazarus Chakwera disrespectful names even in MCP stronghold areas. What does this suggest to the future political landscape? For sure nadzi achita katindo
Lazarus Chakwera became the President of Malawi at a time when the country was experiencing COVID-19 and that was his first excuse Chakwera gave for failing to deliver development.
When Russian and Ukraine war erupted, it was the second excuse government kept giving to Malawians for their struggle to change anything for the people to appreciate.
From here, we can now start rating the political Curriculum Vitae (CV) of Reverend Lazarus Chakwera. Honestly, Lazarus has failed to bring any economic impact to the nation. Malawi has fallen below the poverty line and continues to score poorly on the political scoreboard. Corruption, rule of law, prospering together and other Hi-5 slogans still remain unachievable today.
There are probably many reasons that lead to the declining popularity of TAG.
First, the appointment of Chakwera’s cabinet is based on appreciation, family, friends and not on merit. The President fails to reshuffle his own cabinet even when such cabinet ministers are failing to deliver. He is always at crossroads, stuck to make a decision.
Second, Chakwera’s rebranding policy has divided MCP. Some party members say that there is Congress and MCP and the two are different so the reasoning of the two sides is quite different. When you mingle with this camp you hear such discussions going on.
There is an outcry for leadership change from the Malawi Congress Party as some members are not satisfied with Chakwera’s leadership style. This suggests a tough ride at the MCP party convention to come shortly in 2024 while others still want him to be the torchbearer again in 2025 .
Another interesting observation is that the MCP-UTM Alliance has weakened just few years into government. The first cabinet appointment alienated the UTM as MCP took a lion’s share. The second blow, Vice President Saulos Chilima lost his ministerial position in the first cabinet reshuffle but SKC didn’t say anything. Then the final assault came end of June 2022 when the Vice President was relieved of delegated duties. This time the VP fought back in a tone of anger and vengeance.
The President has finally lost authority and control over his Vice and the entire cabinet. This was a big blow to Lazarus’s CV and political career.
Unfortunately, he keeps scoring low and cannot patch up the holes in his government and downfall is evidently coming its way. It is also very doubtful if Chilima will accept and continue to be Chakwera’s running mate during the 2025 presidential elections or Chakwera will pass the baton to Chilima for the relay race.
Unfortunately, some key political figures in MCP have already spoken their mind proposing Chakwera to continue representing the MCP as a presidential candidate in 2025. It is not clear if MCP would like to stand with UTM again as an alliance or MCP wants to stand alone in 2025. Anything is possible and anything can happen.
A few weeks ago, Lazarus shocked and disappointed many Malawians when he said those who cannot survive in Malawi can go to other countries and stay there.
This is a clear indication of a rude President showing rudeness to his own people. This is not the first time the President is being unrealistic to his own people.
Previously, he said to the people of Malawi that they had reached Canaan, the promised land of honey and milk. It was a big insult and goof and the President continues doing so.
What has become common nowadays is that President Lazarus Chakwera continues to be insulted by Malawians everyday whenever he travels by road.
This trend of events started taking place few months ago in 2022, and video clips showing anger continue to flood the social media each week calling for his resignation.
Despite all these sad developments, Lazarus Chakwera continues to handle his daily government business in a laissez fair.
He is silent and not taking any decisive action against those involved in corruption in his own cabinet. He doesn’t castigate his cabinet for bad deeds and seems not want to even reshuffle his cabinet at all. He appears to be corrupt by choosing to remain quiet, saying nothing and doing nothing.
I mean how does the President fight corruption in that way ? Silence means nothing, surely, the fight isn’t there and he hasn’t started fighting any corruption yet.
Many people can agree with me that Chakwera Government is a total failure because it over-promised the voters but cannot deliver their promises. In fact, most of the promises that were are doable and one wonders why they cannot implement any of them .
Can Lazarus Chakwera have the relevance to win another election in 2025? With all the weaknesses demonstrated so far, it will be a challenge for him to go to elections with a formidable alliance as a torchbearer of Tonse Alliance.
Perhaps Chakwera and his MCP will change the strategy and stand alone or with different alliance partners or the strategy will automatically change thereby forcing MCP stand alone in the next coming election.
Perhaps the alliance partners will maintain their positions despite the disappointments and move on then wait patiently for disaster.
Let us wait and see what happens in 2023 as political parties gear up for their respective conventions in readiness for the twist in 2025 tripartite elections.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are those of the author not necessarily of The Maravi Post or Editor