Commentators and opposition leaders have criticised President Peter Mutharika’s national address as ‘underwhelming’, saying it was lacking in substance to inspire the nation which is facing economic turmoil.
Mutharika on Monday made the address on state controlled Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) Radio and Television and outlined measure to boost water and electricity supply, strides his administration is making to keep the country food secure, steps towards correcting shortfalls in the education and health sectors.
But his speech has been widely criticised by analysts, opposition leaders as an underwhelming list of promises once more.
Malawians took on social media to critique the national address.
Journalist and social-political commentator Idriss Ali Nassah sparked the debate on Facebook when he wrote: “A broken nation needs an inspired and inspiring leader. Malawi needs a Marshall Plan of sorts to help country get back to its feet. But for that to happen, it needs a general to plan and execute a path to victory. I don’t know about you but from last night’s speech by President Mutharika, I do not see that path. Neither was I inspired. Rather, I was left fearful for the future of our country.”
Nasser also wrote: “Peter Mutharika’s biggest problem might be that he doesn’t appreciate the depth of despair and problems facing Malawi. That then might be an issue with those closest to him and if at all they are speaking truth to power.”
Political pressure group Transformation Alliance (TA) spokesman Leonard Chimbanga added his voice:”Last night speech was an admission of failure and it lacked one more thing we are signing out announcement. No need to wait until 2019 when clearly you know you have no clue as how to turn the ship around. “
Levi Kabwato a social and political commentator said “A broken nation needs an active citizenry.
There’s nothing happening in Malawi that her people do not deserve.”
On Mutharika’s speech, Bexter Mwalija passed the verdict that “it was just another useless and empty speech to counter attack the Nation (newspaper) article (which wrote that DPP promises in the manifesto are not being fulfilled).”
And James Nyirenda commented: “Afraid really scared for the future no light at the end of the tunnel.”
Economist and commentator Henry Kachaje wrote: “Let’s be fair: to expect the current DPP under APM (Mutharika) to be our ‘solution’ is expecting too much. Tiyeni tingopitiliza kupilira basi. (Let us continue to persevere). Unless of course we desire progress bad enough, then we might need to change leadership.”
And in comments made in the press, opposition leaders have said the speech was full of promises but lacking in substance.
Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera said government seems to be busy prescribing different medicines to challenges facing the nation without giving hope to Malawians.
“This is a far cry from what the people expected. This is a far cry from what the DPP promised in its manifesto. I think they just want to be seen to be doing something but without a clear direction and vision,” Chakwera said as quoted in the Daily Times.
Chakwera hoped Mutharika had addressed Parliament and opened to Questions Time from MPs.
People’s Party Vice President for the North, Kamlepo Kalua, said Mutharika’s statement was only made just to hoodwink Malawians that the DPP administration is doing something about the numerous challenges rocking the country.
“This government borrowed money saying it needed to purchase maize for starving Malawians but look what is happening; people are failing to buy the maize because of the exorbitant prices and people have stopped going to Admarc not because they have enough food but because they can’t afford it,” Daily Times quoted Kalua.
Clarity on funding
In The Nation newspaper, an editorial comment titled ‘Decent attempt Mr President, but clarity on funding critical’, the paper said the President’s address had some good and sound proposals to reverse the economic and social problems bedevilling the nation.
“Yes, the President has set targets for some of the projects. This is good as it will enable the citizens and watchdogs to assess performances. But without clarity on how the same will be financed, we see a litany of a shopping list of ‘wish-list’ that tends to give hope to Malawians but far from becoming a reality,” reads the paper’s editorial comment.
The paper also faulted Mutharika for still dwelling on Cashgate and ‘almost bankrupt government” when his administration has been in power since May 2014.
“Mr President, thank you for the decent attempt to highlight problems besting the country and attaching some possible solutions. However, you could have done better,” the paper’s comment concluded.
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