After being attacked at a rally by President Peter Mutharika and his frontline DPP troops for carrying a “bogus” survey, Dr Boniface Dulani said the Institute of Public Opinion Research (Ipor) report can be used by government as early warning signs other than being in denial.
Dulani in the survey findings titled titled “Democratic Governance and People’s assessments of President Peter Mutharika’sone year in office”, it is clear that the President and his DPP government have convinced themselves that they are doing a good job.
However, Dulani said “when public opinion does not match government’s own positive-assessment, it means that what they are doing is not resonating with the wider public. They, therefore, need to do a better job persuading the public about the viability of their agenda or change course before it is too late.”
In an interview published by The Nation, Dulani said the survey findings are showing that a year into his presidency, Peter Mutharika still has his work cut out in persuading Malawians that he is the right captain of the proverbial ship.
“Majorities in the three districts remain unconvinced about his leadership performance and many more say they do not trust him, including a majority in his own home district. This does not imply a trade-off between good governance and public trust. Good governance should feed into increased public trust for leaders. Trust, in other words, has to be earned through leaders’ commitment to good governance.
“Mutharika is seen by a majority in the three districts as not inspiring hope for the future, that he is not performing to their satisfaction a year into his presidency, should be cause for concern for the DPP government,” said Dulani.
He continued: “ A good leader should reflect on this and seek to change course. To do otherwise is to reduce good governance to something that is abstract and far removed from the people.”
The University of Malawi political science don, pointed out that while the survey results show a largely negative picture from the people’s view, it also acknowledge that there are a number of initiatives that if sustained, bode well for the country’s future.
“Take for example the president’s pledge to limit the size of cabinet to 20, the on-going public sector reforms, government’s willingness to allow civil society organisations to exercise their right to demonstrate, to mention, but a few examples.
“Indeed, in the survey itself, we noticed a rather interesting dilemma for people of Rumphi. While a majority said they are unhappy with Mutharika’s one year in office, a majority was also willing to place their trust in him-possibly because of his promise to construct the Livingstonia-Njakwa road. We interpret this to mean Malawians are open to changing their negative perceptions of the president and his government.”
The polls’ conclusion says “it might be too early to pass judgment on the Mutharika presidency”.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :