How do we understand President Arthur Peter Mutharika and his time in office? Do we look at the day’s headlines or do we remember what he has done and what we as a country went through?
Not since the days of democracy has so much fallen on the shoulders of one President. And when he faced his country who look for answers, he will not dwell on blame or opportunism.
As President, the tough decisions that he would make would not only determine the course of the nation, but they revealed the character of the man. And like Malawians – he dug deep, fought back and never lost faith in the country in the face of adversity.
The first decision would begin in 2014. President Mutharika acted quickly with the economic recovery plan.
In 2014, the country that was collapsing and in an economic crisis. Inflation was in the mid-’30s, and interest so was the interest rate. The impact on the poor deep in rural areas was huge.
There was no money because the Joyce Banda Government had engaged in massive looting. Mutharika’s government inherited a deficit that was almost equal to our annual national budget. The country was going bankrupt.
In the first year of Government, we had a national-wide disaster. There were floods, followed by droughts. Crops failed, and there was famine.
In the second year of Government, there was drought and crops failed again. There was famine again.
All this happened while there was no donor budget support to support the economy. The country had to run with very little resources, and it did!
Today, Malawi is a country full of hope. The country is rising.
Recently, we have seen interest rate drop to 14.9%, the lowest in our history. Inflation remains below 9% — prices of goods and services stable. The economy is growing; the economy is working!
I have never been more hopeful about Malawi. We have come too far to abandon the change we fought for and achieved in the past five years. We have to move forward to the future we imagined in 2014.
The challenges we face today are real they are serious, and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short space of time.
Today we have eight major national roads under construction at the same time. Some are already completed. Main city roads are being expanded into dual carriageways. Streets in the townships are being rehabilitated in the four main cities in Malawi.
To empower the youth and build a skilled labour force, 15 community-technical colleges have been constructed so far. Thirteen more are under construction. This work is towards the plan to build one community college in each of Malawi’s 28 districts.
While there is still more to do, there is real progress under President Mutharika.
To build a healthy nation, two district hospitals, tens of health centres and a National Cancer Centre are being built.
To improve access to clean water supply, four water supply projects in four of the five districts in the North. One 20-million litre water supply project under construction in the South. A 50-million litre water supply project under construction in the Central Region.
Sixty thousand homes in the lakeshore district of Mangochi will have potable drinking water.
Instead of working together to lift Malawi up, the opposition together with some CSOs is waging a campaign to tear the President down. Opposing development! And still he preservers.
Many areas in Malawi faced a huge development. Primary School Education, Public University Education, Integrated Rural Development, Rural Electrification, Agriculture, Energy. We had seen no blackout since the end of November last year.
We have come too far as a country. The road travelled is too long. Let us not look back, let us not get derailed. Let us keep moving forward!