Leader of opposition Lazarus Chakwera on Monday delivered a powerful response to that President Peter Mutharika’s State of the Nation Address (Sona) , punching holes in it, asking the Mutharika administration to stop abuse traditional leaders, the clergy and civil society leaders.
Mutharika was not in parliament on Monday afternoon when Chakwera made the response. The President is in South Africa attending a pan African parliament business.
“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 when he addressed the National Assembly.
“ As the distinguished Hon Lucius Banda, MP, put it in one of his songs, Malawi is like a boat sailing on the lake and all of us are in it. If it sinks, we all perish,” he said.
Chakwera, who is also Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president, here at home, said the opposition would move a motion in the next meeting of parliament to free the state controlled public broadcaster, Malawi Broadcasting Corporation out of government armpits.
’’Among other things, I call for the emancipation of our traditional, civil, and religious leaders from the bond of political patronage and allow them to concentrate on their noble callings within our communities. Parading traditional, civil and religious leaders on state broadcaster (MBC) to vilify those with different opinion from that of Government should stop hence forth as it is a waste of time and taxpayer funds,”said Chakwera.
MBC reacted by taking Chakwera off the live coverage on its Radio 2 and immediately played Joseph Nkasa’s Yoswa, a single that praises and glorifies President Mutharika.
But the unmoved leader of opposition said the aim was to make MBC independent and revert to its status of a public broadcaster.
The ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) tightly controls the 50 year old tax funded broadcaster which is facing stiff competition from private indepedent radios and television stations. C
Chakwera also condemned the government for the use of traditional leaders, the clergy and civil society leaders who are paraded on MBC to attack those of critical of government including opposition leaders.
“This must stop forthwith,” said Chakwera amid applause from the opposition benches.
“This administration can do better than this,” he said as Leader of Government Business Kondwani Nankhumwa looked on.
He described the parading of the leaders on MBC as waste of tax payer money.
Chakwera said he expect MBC to operate like Southern African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) or Botswana TV or else let MBC fund itself.
’’Our suggestion therefore is that MBC should be granted independence to operate truly like a state broadcaster just like other similar institutions in the region (e.g. the SABC, Botswana TV). Furthermore, the persecution of independent media for attempting to give Malawians the other side of story should stop since this tendency denies Malawians access to information as provided by the law,’’ said Chakwera.
Chakwera also lambasted President Mutharika for growing nepotism in governnment, substandard projects, high rise of corruption, public misinformation and political intimidation among others.
He also attacked the government for the ongoing persecution of the independent media in the country.
MCP president also advised that the government should consider employing credible people in Malawi missions abroad, especially those who do not go through the parliament public appointments interviews.
“The government should consider establishing a foreign mission recruitment policy,” he said.
He also tore apart the much touted governnment reforms, saying there is nothing the government has done.
Chakwera accused the president of implementing the reforms through rhetoric only.
He said while Mutharika said State vice presidentSaulos Chilima was lopped in to bring in his vast private sector expierience, the vice president has not been utilised at all.
Chakwera attacked the state for selective justice, saying it is quick to arrest opposition leaders, leaving out suspects with powerful connections including former Agriculture minister George Chaponda who is free after serious corruption against him on maize purchase for Admarc.
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.
Meanwhile, Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe is expected to present the 2017/18 budget during this sitting of Parliament.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :