Chakwera dares politicians and parties on personalization of development projects

President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera on Friday dared fellow politicians and political parties to stop “cheating” Malawians that their contribution to the successful initiation and completion of development projects is a favour that Malawians must repay.

Chakwera, speaking at the official opening of new building facilities at the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR), emphasized that development is a constitutional right and that no politician or political party needs to be rewarded for successfully delivering it.

He said this is why he made a personal commitment to ensuring the smooth and speedy completion of the various projects initiated under the previous administrations.

“Having this kind of infrastructure is your constitutional right, and building it using your own taxes does not make us saints who have done something generous. Rather, it makes us servants who have simply done our duty,” said Chakwera.

The President said Malawians need to celebrate the continuity of projects across different administrations, stressing that this is in line with the long-term national developmental agenda as outlined in Malawi 2063 will simply not be achieved.

“Continuation of development must be celebrated, not politicized, because development is a constitutional right. Section 30 of our Constitution could not be more emphatic when it says that “all persons and peoples have a right to development and therefore to enjoyment of economic, social, cultural and political development”. The section even goes on to place on the shoulders of the State the responsibility of “taking all necessary measures for the realization of the right to development, (including) equality of opportunity for all in their access to basic resources, education, health services, food, shelter, employment and infrastructure,” he said.

Chakwera observed that between 2012 and 2022, LUANAR has grown ten-fold, from twelve hundred students to twelve thousand students, with over a thousand students enrolling every year.

He said the government should match the growth with additional infrastructure to address the lack of classroom space.

“These are the kinds of investments that will ensure the sustainability of our country’s economic development going forward. It was exactly a year ago that I stood before Parliament and unveiled the path I will be taking the country in order to reach that future. As you might recall, I declared that my administration’s top priorities until 2025 are job creation, wealth creation, and food security.

“However, I also said that to see these three priority areas achieved with speed, we would need to invest in certain key areas that would act as accelerators, and the areas I mentioned at the time were infrastructural development, human capital development, and governance digitalization. And the beauty of this project is that it ticks all the right boxes on our list of priorities as well as our list of accelerators for the agricultural sector,” narrated Chakwera.

Turning to agriculture, Chakwera emphasized the need to mechanize the sector to scale up production of crops.

He also said there is a need to diversify it to produce a variety of crops that are in high demand in different markets around the world.

Additionally, the Malawi leader said Malawi needs to commercialize agriculture by focussing on crops that are of high value.

“We must industrialize it by attracting investors that can build factories that add value to everything we produce to create exportable products that generate forex revenue; revenue we can then invest in other sectors to create a diversified economy of the future. This is my vision for Malawi, and it is the reason why I regard investments in agricultural higher education to be critical to our nation’s quest to become a self-reliant middle-income economy. This is why I have been going around the country encouraging farmers to stay the course with regard to best farming practice. This is also why I have personally requested the World Bank to support the Agriculture Higher Education in Malawi with resources amounting to US$30 million to facilitate Centres of Excellence in Agriculture, three of which will be housed here at LUANAR,” said Chakwera.

He added that this is why he endorses the council’s decision to name the buildings at this university in honour of those who have made great contributions to the capacity of this institution to equip young Malawians with the skills and expertise our country needs to build an agro-based economy that is globally competitive: Names like George Kanyama Phiri, Zachary Kasomekera, Moses Kwapata, Peter Mumba, Timothy Ngwira, James Banda, and Beatrice Mtimuni.

LUANAR Vice Chancellor Professor Emmanuel Kaunda said poor financing delayed the completion of the project.

Kaunda also asked the government to address water problems at the university.

On the other hand, the Vice Chancellor assured Malawians that LUANAR will continue delivering better education to meet Malawi 2063 development agenda.

The Students Union president Maya Kachepa asked the government to increase students’ loans to cater for many needy students who are dropping out of school.

At the event, Chakwera has awarded Professor George Yobe Kanyama Phiri and Professor Moses Kwapata for their contribution to the development of the university.

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