By Watipaso Mzungu
The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has described the Tonse Alliance-led government as a ‘stillbirth’ and has since warned Malawians to brace for another term of executive arrogance, impunity, and gross disregard of the rule of law.
CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa, in his scathing statement titled ‘Malawi showing signs of a failed state and absent leadership’, which was issued on Tuesday, observed that President Lazarus Chakwera is already showing signs of loss of grip on the country’s reins of power, and further seems to have declared a free-for-all kind of style of leadership, with some of his close allies and the rank and file in the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) capturing him and are calling the shots.
“CDEDI has noted with regret that Malawi is showing all the signs of a failed state and absent leadership just six months into the Tonse Alliance government under the leadership of President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera.
“ When the faith community starts speaking against any regime, that’s a warning sign that the country is going astray. It is even more disturbing to note that these sad developments are coming at a time when the new regime is still in its infancy and that the goodwill of the voters is still there.
However, should the situation continue as it is, then Malawians need to brace for another term riddled with executive arrogance, impunity, and gross disregard of the rule of law by President Dr. Chakwera and his Tonse Alliance administration,” says Namiwa in the statement.
He says it is against this background that CDEDI in collaboration with the Indigenous Business Association of Malawi (IBAM), the Blantyre Small Scale Business Operators, the Common Path Organization (COPA) the Mzimba and Mangochi Civil Society Network and the Centre for Young Leaders in Africa have teamed up to echo the warning Monsignor Boniface Tamani of the Archdiocese of Blantyre sounded recently.
In his recent homily, Tamani warned that Malawians should never expect peace where there is no justice and let alone where there is selective application of justice.
Namiwa warns Chakwera that the civil society will not stand and watch as his government tramples down on the hard-won freedoms and rights of in his quest to revert the country into “a one-party era of darkness, fear, terror, and death”
“We will not sit back and suffer in silence; we want Malawi for all regardless of people’s social economic status, religious, tribe and political affiliations. While the current administration is busy painting a very rosy picture that they are fighting corruption at all levels in the country, CDEDI has overwhelming evidence of gross mismanagement of funds and abuse of office by some officers and politicians in the Tonse Alliance government.
Surprisingly, no action is being taken by the law enforcement agencies against such unpatriotic public servants who were ushered into office on trust that they were going to change things, and yet the country is all quiet, pretending as if all is well,” he claims.
Namiwa has since appealed to Malawians of good will to step forward and demand answers from Chakwera and his Tonse Alliance government on early signs of absent leadership, citing Chakwera’s defeaning silence on the National Oil Company of Malawi (NOCMA) fiasco where a cabinet minister, his chief advisor and an alliance partner are being implicated. He also challenges Malawians to demand answers from Chakwera on the ‘shambolic Affordable Input Programme (AIP), failure by the President to honour his promise to declare to Malawians the expenses that were incurred during the 6th July independence celebrations, which were cancelled at the eleventh hour due to the COVID-19 pandemic, when all the preparatory work was almost done.
Namiwa also alleges that Chakwera is allowing some of his officers to become untouchables, citing the Chief of Staff at State House, Zanga-Zanga Chikhosi, who is reportedly amassing inexplicable wealth at the watch of his boss, and is now driving a Toyota V8, which is a preserve of the Vice President and the Speaker of the National Assembly, and yet such an officer is below the level of Cabinet Ministers who are driving Toyota Prados.
“Dr. Chakwera promised Malawians that he would do things differently, and yet he has shown already that he is slowly becoming powerless against his own officers at the State House. His careless usage of the term ‘Nyansi’ in reference to his slogan of clearing the rubble.
“Dr. Chakwera should be reminded that such inflammatory language is capable of fueling civil unrest in the country, hence our appeal that the President should withdraw his statement and apologize to Malawians; his failure to tell Malawians the outcome of his investigation of the MK12.5 million State House-Crossroads Hotel accommodation saga involving his Chief of Staff and the Director of Finance at the State House.
“ The President’s silence on the matter is raising serious questions about his commitment in tackling corruption and theft of public funds in the country; By extension the President does not have a higher moral ground to stand on and accuse anyone of corruption and theft of public funds because he has clearly failed to live by example.
“ This simply means the arrests carried out by his government are mere cases of political persecution of those deemed as sympathizers of the immediate past regime of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP),” chronicles Namiwa.
He warns that the Tonse alliance government could be setting a very bad precedent in the way they are handling the public service. He also demands Vice President Dr. Chilima to explain to Malawians if he is in support of the unceremonious firing and suspension of public officers, as part of his public reforms agenda.
“Dr. Chilima is further being demanded to publicly explain to Malawians if indeed the Tonse alliance manifesto, which he was synonymous with during the campaign period, is being fulfilled. Malawians have all the evidence as regards the campaign promises Dr. Chilima and the Tonse alliance partners made prior to the 23rd June 2020 Fresh Presidential Elections (FPE).
“It is equally surprising to note that the very same Vice President, who acted as a whistleblower during the past regime of the DPP, has all of a sudden looked the other way, when things are getting rotten in his own administration.
“Is Dr. Chilima probably waiting for an opportune time to act on this dirt which is slowly piling up in the Tonse alliance administration? Could it be that the Vice President is also a beneficiary of this rot? Or is Dr. Chilima waiting for 2025 as has been the tradition with all Malawians who only act during elections?” he asks.
Namiwa and his collaborators have given Chilima six (6) working days to speak to Malawians on the contents of a pact he signed on behalf of the UTM party, as he was partnering with the MCP at the Kamuzu Institute for Sports in Lilongwe prior to the FPE.
“The Vice President needs to know that failure to fulfill the Tonse alliance manifesto is total betrayal of the trust people had in him prior to the FPE,” warns the letter.
Both the State House and he Office of the Vice President did not comment when we sought their reaction.