Leader of Opposition in parliament Lazarus Chakwera has threatened the opposition would reject the national budget unless funding for all by-elections are made.
Chakwera, who is also Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president, said the government must find money to fund the Lilongwe Msozi south constituency byelection and the Supreme Court ordered Lilongwe south east constituency by-elections and two other local governnment byelections.
“It is the people’s constitutional rights to have members parliament,” he said in response to the speech, which Mutharika delivered in Parliament on Friday.
” In fact, I want to make it clear here once and for all: the era of excuses for delaying these by-elections is over; we the people will not allow any budget to be approved in this house that does not allocate the Malawi Electoral Commission the funds needed to conduct by-elections in every vacant ward and constituency within this calendar year. And that is non-negotiable,” said the maverick church pastor turned politician.
Chakwera also querried President Mutharika of omitting the whole issue of electoral reforms in his address to the House.
He told the government benches, comprising of veteran politicians like Finance minister Goodall Gondwe that he would not be intimidated by the parade of some clergy, traditional leaders and CSOs leaders to condemn him for constructive criticism.
Chakwera said he would continue calling a spade a spade on issues of corruption and other issues of national importance.
“ I stand here as a bona-fide Malawian [having lived in it my whole life], qualified and trusted to say what ordinary Malawians themselves are saying about the way things are in this country, about what they see as the true state of the nation after three years of the Mutharika presidency,” said Chakwera.
He accused President Peter of making use of his state of the nation address to outline his campaign promises and how his government has fulfilled them.
Finance minister Gondwe said the government would respond in detail, point by point on Chakwera’s allegations and response to President Mutharika’s State of the Nation Address. However, he said the government worked hard to get the US$80 million budgetary support from World Bank.
But Chakwera was unstopable.
“For me and the 17 million who live as citizens spread out across Malawi’s 28 districts, for me and the millions more in diaspora who carry the flag of Malawi with pride, this is our country and our only home in this world. I therefore stand here as one who is determined to expose and rid this nation of every attempt to exploit its resources and destroy the livelihoods of its people. Let it therefore be known at the outset that I stand here to call a spade a spade, and I shall do so without fear or favor or ill-will, not because I am bitter as some misguided persons like to allege, but because this nation’s very survival, our survival, depends on it,” said Chakwera.
He condemned President Mutharika for his failure to say how much jobs were created last year.
Chakwera said Malawians are intelligent enough to differentiate between mere rhetoric and substance and cannot be hoodwinked into believing that government is performing by listening to the propaganda fed panelists cartooning themselves on state television or radio.
’’ If the current pattern continues, we will bring a motion at the next sitting of Parliament to defund the state broadcaster to protect taxpayers’ money from being abused in this wasteful way,”’warned Chakwera.
He described the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration as failed government because of lack of improvement in provision of social services, electricity, water supply, health, education and that things were no better for the unemployed youth or tobacco farmers.
Chakwera observed that President Mutharika speech chosen theme, ‘Harnessing Economic Gains for Sustainable Socio-Economic Development’, provides the impression that first, a list of proven substantive gains will be presented with evidence; and second, a plan for harnessing those gains for development will be clearly laid out for all to see.
“I and all Malawians waited with baited breath to hear if those two impressions would be accomplished by the President’s address, but we waited in vain.
“President Mutharika’s address had all the hallmarks of a man who has mastered the art of self-delusion and self-contradiction. He is like a physician who describes to his patients all the terrifying symptoms and test results that prove that they are critically sick, but who then tells those same patients that they are in robust health and sends them home without treatment,” said Chakwera to wild applause from the opposition benches.
He continued: “ How else do we explain his habit of publicly acknowledging that things are deteriorating on his watch, yet also carelessly boasting that he has accomplished in two years what no one has ever accomplished in fifty years?”
During this sitting of parliament, Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe is expected to present the 2017/18 budget .Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :