Chakwera has himself to blame for inefficient govt systems—HRDC

Malawi’s popular and firebrand human rights watchdog – the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) – has accused President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera of being the biggest saboteur of the government system, citing failure by the President to dismiss non-performing ministers and system government officials.

Reading a statement at a press briefing held in Lilongwe on Saturday morning, HRDC Interim Vice National Chairperson, Michael Kaiyatsa, challenged Chakwera to rise to the occasion and start implementing what he promises Malawians through various podia.

Kaiyatsa reading out a statement before journalists in Lilongwe on Saturday morning–Photo by Watipaso Mzungu

Kaiyatsa cited failure by the Head of State’s recent declaration that he would reshuffle his cabinet as one of improving efficiency is service delivery as a clear sign that the Citizen Number One is not ready to mend the broken systems.

“Our observation is that Dr. Chakwera is sabotaging himself by dithering in dismissing non-performing ministers and Government officials. The President has the prerogative to fire and hire a new Cabinet and he is to blame for his Government’s inefficiency. We can thus conclude that the President is sabotaging himself and, in the process, he has lost the trust of Malawians who expected him to do more. We expect the President to use his powers to direct law enforcing authorities to take action against the pilferage of public resources,” he said.

Others who attended the presser were HRDC National Chairperson Gift Trapence, Madalitso Banda who is Regional Chairperson for the Eastern Region and Masauko Thawe – Regional Chairperson for Southern Region while the rest of their coalition’s leadership simply appended their signatures to the statement presented to the media.

Trapence addressing journalists in Lilongwe on Saturday–Photo by Watipaso Mzungu

The press briefing was called to inform journalists about the suspension of the December 7, 2022, demonstrations to force Chakwera to address the social and economic problems dogging almost all sectors of the economy in Malawi.

Kaiyatsa said the coalition is at pains to understand why Chakwera is still ‘shielding’ Secretary to the President and Cabinet (SPC), Colleen Zamba, amidst a litany of allegations over her involvement in shady deals.

Recently, the former Acting Chief Executive Officer for National Oil Company of Malawi (NOCMA), Hellen Buluma, raised very serious and pertinent allegations against Zamba during her appearance at parliament.

Kaiyatsa said they were dismayed that while President Chakwera has previously fired ministers, suspended officers and aides close to him on suspicion of corruption and abuse of power, the Head of State has paid a deaf ear to allegations made against the SPC.

“The fact that the President has not taken any action against allegations made against the SPC or commented on the issue is highly suspicious and gives the impression that Dr Chakwera is shielding her. Further to that, we demand the SPC to respond to the allegations levelled against her or step aside to allow the law to take its course. The fact that the SPC continues to carry out her duties in the President’s office while there’s this cloud hanging over her is immoral.

“We urge the President to take action on this crucial matter as his inaction continues to bring the esteemed SPC office into disrepute. The SPC is the engine of the civil service and the heart of government machinery, so it is important to maintain the integrity that this office holds,” he emphasized.

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