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Welcome Mr President, Malawians Need Your Leadership Now More Than Ever Before

We at the Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) join all people in this country in welcoming President Lazarus Chakwera from his recent tour of duty in Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

As we do that, in exercise of our watchdog role we would like to inform our dear President that he has found the nation in a state of shock and hopelessness following the 44 percent devaluation of the Kwacha which the Reserve Bank of Malawi announced just hours after he left for Saudi Arabia.

As expected, the atmosphere in the country was never the same in the morning following the announcement of the devaluation, coupled with that of the increase of fuel prices and electricity the same night.

It is worth acknowledging that the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Hon Simplex Chithyola-Banda a couple of days ago attempted, but failed, to inspire hope with his statement purported to provide measures that government plan to provide to cushion Malawians from the effects of the 44%devaluation of the Kwacha, including the resultant increase in prices of fuel, electricity and other basic goods and services.

The President may not be aware that the Finance minister dodged questions from the media and betrayed himself as lacking understanding of what he read out from his statement; hence CDEDI, on behalf of Malawians, expects that when he addresses the nation this evening he will not waste time with the usual rhetoric, but address crucial issues affecting the nation.

Most importantly, Malawians are eager to hear the President exhibit his perceived servant-leadership by doing the following:

. Provide evidence to illustrate the country’s economic gains from the previous 25 percent devaluation of the Malawi Kwacha before justifying the recent 44 percent devaluation.

. Provide evidence of gains from his 40-plus international trips against the drain of the much-needed forex by the same;

. Not only spell out cushioning measures to effects of the devaluation of theKwacha but, also, spell out austerity measures that demonstrate that he and his Cabinet colleagues are ready to share the pain the Tonse Alliance administration has inflicted on Malawians.

For the avoidance of doubt, CDEDI and, indeed, Malawians that mean well for the country, contend that devaluation of the Kwacha brings nothing but more harm, given that in the past three years Malawians have endured ever-increasing cost of living, compounded by shortages of food, fuel, fertiliser, forex and essential drugs and medical supplies.

In view of the above, CDEDI hereby implores President Chakwera to consider adopting the following economic recovery measures:

. Accept that the country’s ailing economy cannot sustain a 35-member Cabinet and 26 presidential advisers, hence the need for a leaner Cabinet and a handful of advisers.

. Borrow a leaf from the late Tanzanian President John Phombe Magufuli who used to work from his office at the State House, and suspended local and international trips;

. Cut his salary and fuel allowances and those of his Cabinet ministers;

. Talk less and do more action, work in silence and let the results do the talking for him.

Accordingly, CDEDI would also like to ask the President to spare Malawians attempts to shift blame for the suffering of Malawians to the previous administration bearing in mind that Malawians, actually, voted him into the high office to make the country a better place to live in. Otherwise, the blame- game is construed as an admission of failure in that regard.

In the spirit of transparency and accountability, CDEDI wishes to put it to the President that the Tonse Alliance regime that he leads has become a sure threat to the survival of Malawians it was supposed to serve and protect.

In fact, Malawians now feel left alone [Tili tokha], hence this night the ball is in the President’s court to either swim or sink. After all, he is the first expected to be familiar with dictates of Section 12 of the Republican Constitution.

SYLVESTER NAMIWA

CDEDI EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

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