By Manasse Nyirenda
Lilongwe, September 4, Mana: President Lazarus Chakwera says the current level of poverty among Malawi’s citizens is manmade and that there is need for reforms in the three branches of government namely the Executive, Parliament and the judiciary to end the entrenched poverty through enhanced performance.
Chakwera made the marks when he delivered his maiden State-of-the -Nation (Sona) address at parliament in Lilongwe on Friday.
In the speech which lasted just over an hour titled Restoring the Warmth to the Heart of Africa, he bemoaned the deep corruption in the three arms of government which he blamed for retarded development and poverty in the country.
He said while the country is blessed with enormous wealth provided by nature, the citizens have failed to benefit from it.
“Surely, my country, with 85 million dollars (over MK62.6 million) in gold exported to the Middle East every year, is not poor.
My country, with a freshwater lake and multiple rivers capable of generating 100 million dollars (over MK73.6 billion) a year in revenue, is not poor. My country, with soils fertile enough to grow the food needed to end hunger for good, is not poor.
“As you will soon see from my diagnosis of what ails us, ours is not a poor country, but an impoverished one.
Ours is a country stripped of its God-given wealth and potential by syndicates of people in the public sector who exploit decades of bad government policies and practices to enrich themselves and their private sector accomplices,” he said.
Chakwera said in order to get Malawians out of poverty, there is need for reforms in all the three branches of the government which he described as too corrupt.
He said the reforms would enable the three arms to serve the people of Malawi better.
The president cited the proposed legislation aimed at trimming the powers of the president as one of the reforms being proposed in the Executive arm.
He also disclosed the innovative approaches to justice the Judiciary has taken, for example, the creation of a Criminal, Civil, Commercial and the Revenue divisions to enhance efficiency of justice delivery among other aims.
The president also gave an economic, labour, education, health and tourism outlook for the country and the measures his government is putting in place to improve the sectors.
Reacting to the Sona, Leader of Opposition Kondwani Nankhumwa said he would have a detailed response to it when parliament reconvenes on Monday.
Parliament is meeting for the 49th session in Lilongwe to deliberate on the 2020 to 2021 National Budget and other matters of national interest. It has since adjourned to Monday.