Chakwera’s cluelessness irks CSOs… Malawians can’t pay taxes to finance Executive opulence-CDEDI

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By IOMMIE CHIWALO

President Lazarus Chakwera’s leadership is never short of controversies and disbelief as he is being accused of cluelessness from all angles latest being Civil Society Organisations (CSOs).

And the Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has joined rights watch organisations who have noted with great concern about Chakwera’s cluelessness on how to cushion the suffering of poor Malawians owing to the turbulent times the countrys economy is facing. 

In a statement made available to this publication CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa has said that Malawians must for once be spared from public relations stunts and be given what they deserve through their hard earned taxes.

He said it is disheartening to note that living conditions of millions of Malawians keep deteriorating, yet the Chakwera-led Tonse Alliance administration has for the past 23 months been collecting taxes on a daily basis yet failing to use the billions collected to improve lives of Malawians who are faced with unprecedented skyrocketing cost of living, including the recent rationing of essential commodities such as cooking oil and sugar.

This, according to Namiwa, speaks volumes of the cluelessness of the leadership.  

The CDEDI Boss cited the recent announcement about the 20 percent fuel cut for Cabinet Ministers whereby the President conveniently forgot to announce his own as an example of bad leadership that ought to be exemplary.

“Truth be told, unless the President includes among the austerity measures a cut in his salary, he is not prepared to suffer with Malawians. Otherwise, cutting on ministers fuel allocations is welcome but puts the President on the other side of the road where he will watch his juniors nurse their wounds as he criss-crosses the country at will. Simply put, it is morally wrong for the President to force everyone to tighten their belts in the face of the economic hardships, when the President continues living in opulence,” says Namiwa who has termed the current austerity measures as nothing but financial discrimination since are largely for the voters only when the ruling elite are swimming in riches.

Namiwa has, therefore, challenged President Chakwera and his Cabinet to cut their salaries by 50 percent; trim the Cabinet; trim the crowd of his advisers; and learn to delegate those assisting him in running government to go and cut ribbons while he stays in the office figuring out how his government can protect the vulnerable and marginalised Malawians using resources accrued from the announced cost-cutting measures. 

Namiwa has reminded Malawians that at the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, Dr. Chakwera, who was then leader of opposition, and Dr. Chilima who was still the countrys Vice-President, announced their salary cuts as a contribution to the national Covid-19 response and queries the whereabouts of such morality.

“Where has that morality gone two years down the line? A Cabinet minister in the former President Dr. Bakili Muluzis regime, the late James Makhumula, set a good precedent when he directed Treasury to channel his salary to a special rural development fund. Given the examples above, it is possible for leaders to sacrifice their benefits for the good of the country. If they cannot do this, then why should Malawians keep suffering by paying taxes, when there is nothing to show for their lives to get better? Malawians cant breathe!,”

The whole scenario has been worsened by recent public relations stunts when the President told the nation that he had decided to save money by cutting down on his travels, which undoubtedly eat a lot from the public purse.

But to the surprise of many, while hand-clappers were still showering praise on the President for the announcement, the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) shamelessly released an itinerary for the President that saw him on the road from Saturday to Monday. 

Marking the sign of cluelessness of highest order, Chakwera demonstrated his appetite for travel and is still promising one thing today and doing to the contrary the next day.

“We wonder how such a leader can be trusted?,”

In circulation there is an audio clip recorded by Times Radio in one of its phone-in programmes, in which a concerned Chilomoni resident in the City of Blantyre, by the name of Maggie Kaiyatsa, is appealing to the Executive arm of government to listen to the cries of poor Malawians.

“By now CDEDI believes that Dr. Chakwera, the Vice-President Dr. Saulos Chilima, and all Cabinet ministers have listened to the audio in circulation. If we were in a serious country, heads would have rolled by now and a social protection initiative could have been launched already since
Kaiyatsa has spoken for millions of Malawians that are suffering due to President Chakweras poor leadership style. It is for this reason that Malawians are asking themselves the morality of paying taxes when their money ends up just enriching those in the Executive arm of government at the expense of the poor millions who are suffering,” Namiwa says.

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