Lazarus Chakwera’s dinner speech was an attempt at persuasive rhetoric. Chakwera acknowledges that his party is “descending into chaos” and fights to shield off the division in MCP by using the rhetoric of unity.
However, the speech embarrassingly flopped. There are too many statements that simply do not make sense at all. Some of the statements promise dangerous policy direction if Chakwera was left to run government.
At best, it is typical of an embattled politician who refuses to acknowledge development.
Let us look at a few examples sentence by sentence.
Chakwera promises his voters that “Whatever needs fixing in our government, we will do it ourselves.” This sounds like voters will mob Capital Hill, kick out civil servants and get to fix matters themselves. At the same time, under Chakwera, Malawi would break relations with development partners.
Then Chakwera says “We are tired of living in our own country without receiving services funded by our own taxes.” So, Chakwera and his people are not receiving any services funded by Malawian tax payers? Really? This is an insult to Malawians. Taxpayers have funded water supply systems in Chitipa and in Mzimba. Taxpayers bought 58,000 desks for primary and secondary schools and their money is constructing 300 schools and 700 classroom blocks.
Then Chakwera says “We are tired of living in our own country without being able to change our own laws.” Why is Chakwera and his backers not able to change laws? Of course Chakwera is lying to his voters because this man has been leading Opposition MPs in Parliament for four good years. Both Chakwera and the honourable members have participated in changing and making many laws over the last four years. So, what is this man talking about?
Unbelievably, Chakwera tells us “We are tired of living in our own country without being able to build our own homes.” What about the K600 million mansion that Chakwera has just built? In any case, someone should have advised Chakwera that this argument will not resonate with knowledgeable Malawians who understand that the construction industry has picked up at the moment after the economic rebound. Someone needed to tell Chakwera that there are many villages now where you see more malata than grass roofs. Since Mr Chakwera is in Blantyre, he should lift up his eyes and look across a couple of villages in Ntcheu between Salima Turn-Off and past Nsipe to your right. Some villages look like trading centres. This is only but one example in case Chakwera lacks proof that people, including himself, are building their own houses.
Then Chakwera says “We are tired of living in our own country without being able to own our own land.” Who owns the land in Malawi? This is a dangerous statement that hints at Robert Mugabe’s land grabbing policy if Chakwera took over Government.
In his dinner speech, Chakwera continues to say “We are tired of living in our own country without being able to drive on paved and tarred roads within our cities.” Is this a joke? Where does Chakwera and his speech writer drive then? Why are they NOT ABLE to drive on the tarmac roads which APM is building in our cities? Was Chakwera delivering this speech under the influence of wine at the dinner or not? Chakwera has not been able to drive on a paved road because since he became MP, he has never been to his constituency where he would have seen a paved road this government is constructing.
Then comes this revealing announcements in the speech. “We cannot afford to be selfish.” Is this an implied public self-confession? Chakwera has been accused of being selfish by his own party. His pastors in the Assemblies of God Church has more than enough to tell about Chakwera the Pastor. There is a pastor in Chilimba who got completely paralysed with stroke after he refused to hand over a donation of money to Reverend Chakwera because the money was for church use and not a gift to the then Chakwera President of the Church. Chakwera tortured this pastor until he suffered stroke with stress. His wife died of high blood pressure. He later married a second wife who also dumped him. This is a living story and there are more cases.
Needless to say the speech is also failed on mechanics of logic.
Chakwera tells “this land will once again stand in the valley of decision.” Some English teacher must tell us: WHAT IS A VALLEY OF DECISION? This sentence simply doesn’t make any sense at all. Or, is this some biblical metaphor Chakwera miscopied from the Holy Bible? But no, that can’t be either.
Further, Chakwera preaches to his audience “We cannot afford to be divided.” Sir, you don’t make any effort to “afford” division. You are either divided as a party or you are not. Everybody knows MCP is divided because of Chakwera’s style of leadership. So, to whom is this message being preached anyway?
Then Chakwera says, “We cannot afford to make unforced errors.” What does the phrase “unforced errors” mean? Do errors have to be forced? What Chakwera is saying is that we must be making forced errors. If an error is forced, it becomes a deliberate error. Does Chakwera really know what he is saying?
Finally, Chakwera tells his congrevation that “There are many forces that want us as a party to descend into chaos.” Yes, everyone knows MCP is descending into chaos because the way Chakwera is managing it. But he wants to blame someone else?
This speech is incoherent, politically misfiring and mechanically flawed. The style of short sentences, the cadence and the rhetorical technique of repetition by echo tries to borrow from the style of Peter Mutharika. There is no problem with being inspired by the State President’s style. But the speech could have advised better. The speech is an embarrassment to any critical reader who can see through Chakwera’s lies and failures.