By Iommie Chiwalo
The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI), has expressed disappointment over Tonse Alliance administration’s ongoing careless plunder of public resources sugar-coated in ‘crop inspection and review of implementation of Public Sector Reforms’.
President Lazarus Chakwera and the Vice-President Saulos Chilima are hardly seen in office instead are always on the road inspecting various projects which CDEDI alleges that each day blows about MK300 million, a situation which has been described as pathetic considering the current situation affecting the poor masses.
In a press release made available to this publication and signed by CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa, says it is disheartening to note that the President alone is spending over MWK300 million visiting people that can hardly afford a meal a day due to rising of cost of living.
“It beats human imagination, therefore, to note that the President, fresh from attending a conference for poor countries, went straight into a spending spree of the very scarce resources. This is a total mockery of the glaring poverty that is dehumanising Malawians,” says Namiwa in a statement.
On Chakwera’s arguement that the crop inspection is a learning process for future Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP) programme, Namiwa feels that is an open secret that the 2021/2022 AIP is a total mess.
“What is it then that the President would like to see or hear from the people which he doesnt know already? Where is the morality of assembling a whole Executive motorcade to visit people whose suffering is already known, and are helplessly waiting for solutions and not lectures that leave them hopeless,” he queries.
CDEDI has since challenged President Chakwera and his Vice-President to stop the so called needless local travels, and stay in the office to devise mechanisms to cushion the masses from the imminent fuel increase that will worsen the suffering of the people due to the global economic turmoil.
Namiwa says is sad that while leaders elsewhere that care about their people are busy formulating packages to protect their economies and cushion the masses from the effects of the Russia-Ukraine war, in Malawi is different scenario whereby leaders are busy competing on plundering the public purse through allowances for themselves and teams of public officers accompanying them.
“Closer home, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda has announced a package to protect his people from the external shocks as a result of the war in Ukraine, but here in Malawi the Tonse Alliance government is shamelessly making attempts to use the same war to cover up its cluelessness,” he narrates.
Namiwa has therefore reminded President Chakwera and his government that the Russia-Ukraine war is a month old, while the increase in the cost of living is as old as the Tonse Alliance government itself.
The CSO leader has recommended Presidency to immediately come up with a clear policy to cushion the masses from the imminent fuel increase that will unfortunately trigger yet another increase in the cost of living.
Namiwa has also seen it timely to ask President and his Cabinet to consider cut their tax-free salaries by half as a sign of sharing the pain with the masses that can no longer afford a decent meal a day.
Above all, he has demanded Presidency to immediately stop the global trotting and local travels.
“Malawi envoys should represent the country during all the international events while the rest should be attended virtually, until the country’s economy is fixed to the satisfaction of the majority of Malawians and that the President should trim his Cabinet from 32 to 20; and also chop his crowd of advisers from 22 to 5,” he suggests.
As a sign that Malawians have not forgotten campaign promises made prior to the court-sanctioned fresh presidential elections on June 23, 2020, President Chakwera was recently bood in Blantyre as a sign of dissatisfaction with his style of leadership.