First and foremost, I wish to thank His Excellency President Reverend Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera for his address to the nation on Saturday, 25th July, 2020 where he tackled a number of important issues affecting our country.
However, as Leader of Opposition, I wish to disagree with President Chakwera on his claims of theft and abuse of public resources allegedly by the previous Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government.
Listening to the said address, I got the impression that he may not be well conversant with the financial operations of government.
The President clearly deceived the nation that the DPP government misappropriated and mismanaged a total sum in excess of MK1 trillion.
President Chakwera must be informed that if an economy, as small as ours, was robbed of that sum of money, his administration would not have found any penny in the government coffers.
President Chakwera based his allegations on the ‘Report of the Auditor General on the Government of the Republic of Malawi for the Year Ended 30th June, 2019.’
The Report of the Auditor General does not say that the DPP government stole government money. The said report on page 9 is talking about non-compliance by ‘individual MDAs’ as follows: –
ü Delays in paying contractors: K13, 220,855,182.32.
ü Payment vouchers without supporting documents (Poor record keeping): K8, 660,464,313.21
ü Abandonment of construction works: K1, 263,478,836.39
ü Under Collection of Revenue: K1, 207,032,445.74
ü Stores not accounted for: K762, 260,739.61
ü Failure to maintain proper revenue records: K610, 879,500
ü Suspicious long standing pensioners: K590, 766,657.28
ü Misallocations of Public Funds: K 454,333,543.56
ü Revenue Spent at Source: K425, 727,406.87.
From the foregoing, it is clear that there is no mention of DPP stealing money anywhere.
What is clear from the President’s address is a desperate attempt to mislead the nation on matters of management of the economy, obviously taking advantage of people’s ignorance on the same.
Indeed, one wonders how a delay in paying a contractor and under collection of revenue could become theft.
As Leader of Opposition, I suspect President Chakwera may have made such serious and unsubstantiated allegations for the following reasons:
1. He wants to arrest more people, more especially those from the DPP on these baseless allegations;
2. He wants to divert people’s attention from the blunders on the appointment of the cabinet where we have seen nepotism of the highest order.
3. He wants people to lose focus on the unrealistic promises his party made during the campaign period, such as:
ü Universal Secondary education;
ü The cost of obtaining a Passport to be at MK14,000.00;
ü Creation of One Million jobs;
ü Cheap fertilizers to all Malawians (MK4,900 per 50kg bag)
ü Removal of fees to all institutions of Higher learning;
ü Duty free week every year;
ü Free water connections;
ü Free electricity connections; and
ü Construction of 400 roads in the first 8 months.
President Chakwera is now the President of the Republic of Malawi. He can do what he wants as long it is within the confines of the rule of law and good governance.
President Chakwera should start working towards fulfilling the promises he made, otherwise, Malawians will not forgive him if he fails to deliver on his promises because he was busy blaming and arresting members of the previous governments.
Indeed, President Chakwera must prioritize nation-building and that his thirst for settling political scores against DPP members and leaders must take a backseat.
In conclusion, I wish to remind President Chakwera and his government that Malawi is facing the most difficult challenges amid the COVID 19 health crisis.
It is important that our collective efforts and energy are expended on saving our people from this pandemic instead of witch-hunting and persecution against perceived political enemies.
KONDWANI NANKHUMWA, MP
LEADER OF OPPOSITION
28th July 2020