Either Mutharika or Kachaje lied on Malawi economy

Having combed with a fine toothcomb through The Daily Times’ story about Economists Association of Malawi (Ecama) suggesting that President Peter Mutharika lied on the economy, I have failed to come across a statement where Vitus-Gregory Gondwe, the author, quotes Ecama’s president Henry Kachaje as saying “Mutharika lied on the economy”.

Kachanje:  My Presentation was done in the spirit of guiding a discussion to assess the economic progress

Kachanje: My Presentation was done in the spirit of guiding a discussion to assess the economic progress

Which is why I find Ecama’s rambling rebuttal in The Daily Times needlessly provocative, lacking coherence and direction, contradictory and built on shaky ground. And a waste of resources.

Perhaps, Ecama could have stated their case better by publishing Kachaje’s presentation for us to judge how ‘unprofessional’ The Daily Times or the journalist were, if at all. They didn’t! I would have expected them to, at least, reproach Gregory for quoting Kachaje out of context or inventing quotations. Shame, they didn’t either!

Nowhere in the story does Gregory quote Kachaje directly as saying Mutharika lied to the nation about the economy. And nowhere in its published tantrum does Ecama say Gregory misquoted Kachaje. What the journalist used was inference or interpretative journalism. If someone says “John does not say the truth” it is not farfetched to infer that John is a liar. Just as there are million ways of skinning a cat, they are even more of saying someone is liar. Kachaje used one of those.

Gregory directly quotes Kachaje, on economic growth, as saying: “How can we be sure that ‘the economy is expected to rebound to higher levels averaging 7 percent’ when we have just experienced the worst floods in recent history and agricultural output is expected to drop by 30 percent?” In his State of the Nation Address in May, President Mutharika said on the subject: “It is estimated that the economy grew by 5.5 percent and it is expected to rebound to higher levels averaging 7 percent or higher from next year.” Interpretation? Mutharika lied.

On inflation, Kachaje rhetorically asked in his presentation last week: “How will the interest rates go down when inflation is unlikely to drop significantly? How will people’s disposable incomes increase when they will be buying food at higher prices?” He was, in all probability, responding to what Mutharika said in that address: “We expect annual inflation to fall to 16.5 percent in 2015 compared to 23.8 percent in 2014. The decline in inflation is expected to increase people’s disposable incomes and interest rates are also expected to decline in 2016.” Interpretation? Mutharika lied again.

Kachaje and Mutharika are patently not singing from the same hymnbook and only one of them can hold the truth. The journalist in Gregory just brought up that fact. Mutharika is a lawyer. And a politician. And politicians are not necessarily noted for their preference for truth. Kachaje, on the other hand, is an economist. Not just a riff-raff economist picked off the street; he is the boss of them all, including those boys and girls Mutharika relies on for advice on the economy.

And when he barks on the economy, people sit up and listen. Kachaje is an authority on the economy. Hence, when Kachaje says that what Mutharika said on the economy is more suited to a John Grisham novel than reality, you need to put those facts into perspective. And that perspective is that Mutharika lied on the economy. Kachaje didn’t have to say the words out loud.

What Mutharika said can only wear a veneer of truth if Kachaje took it on the chin and confessed that his presentation was an uninspired attempt at economic fiction; that the economy would probably rebound to higher levels averaging 7 percent irrespective of the worst floods we have experienced in recent history or a downturn in agricultural output by 30 percent; that interest rates would decline, as Mutharika hopes, even if inflation is unlikely to drop significantly.

Only on that score would we say what Mutharika said was the truth and Kachaje lied. Otherwise, Mutharika lied on the economy.

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Munthu - The Citizen
Guest

Once upon a time this Kachaje guy used to talk stuff; but now he has started vomitting chaff. Mr. Kachaje, that’s the price you pay when you ignore professional ethics an reduce yourself to an entertainer.

Living Walters
Guest

Kachaje is too much full of himself. He is thus a big fool who thinks he is always right. Ali ndi kamwano kamumtima ameneyu, even kwao ndiwodzitukumura onse. Baba ngati mukufuna kuyamba ndale ingonenani. The President has so many advisors even pa nkhani yazachuma…..onsewo olakwa, iwe wekha No. 1??? Aaaah! Musatinyase kayambeni ubusa.

Mugonapamuhanya
Guest

Some guys just love limelight and Kachaje is one of them. It is not wrong to do so, however there is always a fee for everything we do and say. Kachaje is fast undoing his own image which he took time to build because of his love for trivia and limelight. He lacks seriousness.

Gas Machine Head
Guest

Kho kho kho kho kho kho ! Bull’s Eye!

Rift valley
Guest

Nsabwe yoyendayenda imakumana ndi Chala. Wakumana nazo Kachaje. He definitely implied Mutharika lied. My advice to experts is, be ware of what you say. Remember Ma Blacks and “Mulomo uwu’

Jelbin mk
Guest

Kachaje is a coward how could he retract the obvious? It was not worthy doing I strongly believe he received alot of pressure from the ruling elite and he bowed and succumbed to their demands for him to retract his statement.

Charombanthu
Guest

Kalowa kayaza…. tamva.

Zanga Phee!
Guest

Politicians don’t like people who are straight all what they know is who is next to kill who is giving us problems in the long run you will find accident that you can’t imagine so Mr Kachanje please distance yourself from these tycoons.We don’t want to loose you Sir Remember what happens with Late Tenthani.See my name.

Bololo
Guest
We don’t expect Kachaje to say he indeed meant Munthalika lied. Asking for that is personalizing so to say and creating enemies to some extent. The facts however are about the economy not individuals and I prefer to focus on that of course in the context of the story at hand. The difference between APM and Kachaje is only about confidence in management to steer the economy well enough to overcome the pertinent risks against the health of Malawi economy. Otherwise, they don’t differ greatly on the “current” state of the economy: both recognize we have significant risks. To us… Read more »
clement
Guest

Most Economists and Politicians who run our economies are ghosts unto themselves. They calculate growth and profit using a calculator. A calculator always posts huge profits. Kachaje’s economics does not differ from that of Marx. These people are economists coz they excelled in an economic class. Board room economics. Ife tikufuna akaswiri amene angatukule chuma cha anthu okhala kumudzi. Osati ma economic commentators. Si mpira uwu. If u comment so what next? If APM lied so what next? If Daily Times misquoted u so what next? You see, all these queries will not help the common man

Mnunkhaludzu
Guest

Maybe a piece of scone was next to his mouth which made Kachaje to become an enemy of the truth. To say the truth, APM is surrounded by a set of poor advisors who cannot give him any sound and concise advice on either political, social or economic issues. Goodall is filled with outdated economics notions which do not auger well with the current thoughts in economics.

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