Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera, who is also leader of opposition in parliament, has described his week-long trip to United Kingdom as “enriching” experience after visiting Westminister, the British legislative home for House of Commons and that of the Lords.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Nyasa Times in Manchester on Monday , Chakwera said he was in UK on an invitation of House of Commons through Speaker of Malawi Parliament, Richard Msowoya, in his capacity as opposition leader “to be able to appreciate the systems in the UK.”.
Chakwera said the trip to Westminster in London has been “quite interesting”.
The MCP president said he watched British MPS debate on Britain leaving the European Union (Brexit). He then had a meeting with clerk of overseas office Matthew Hamlyn who introduced Chakwera to the Westminister system.
In his two days of House of Commons tour, Chakwera also had lunch with Deputy Speaker Lindsay Hoyle MP.
The opposing leader also discussed Malawi’s developmental relations with Scotland government when he met Scottish National Party (SNP) Chief Whip Chris Law MP.
Sharing knowledge on how to best work as the party in opposition, Chakwera also met the chief whip in parliament of the Labour Party Nick Brown.
“It has helped me me understand process of legislation and checks and balances,” he said.
“It was enriching. It was really to be schooled in the British system,” said Chakwera.
He added that Speaker Msowoya advised him to “learn a lot” during the tour considering that Malawi Parliament is modelled on a British system.
Chakwera also took time to meet Malawian community in UK. He had meetings in Leicester on Saturday apart from being a guest speaker at Mens Day Church conference at DFMI church, he also took time to address Malawians who came to see him.
On Monday he also addressed Malawians in Manchester, urging Malawians to be focused and work hard towards the development of their country.
In his address, the opposition leader shared his vision for the future Malawi while tackling a number of issues such as corruption , electricity problems and dual citizenship for Malawians in diaspora .
Chakwera focused on introducing himself and what his vision is for Malawi and highlighted how, as a family man and God fearing – he wants to embark on eradicating some bad practices such as corruption and how he wants to unite Malawians to work together towards the development of the country
Answering a question from the audience on what is his stance on the issue of dual citizenship, Chakwera said he was very much welcome to the debate, and for something to happen so that Malawians who obtain citizenship in other countries should not lose their right to be Malawians.
“The world has become a global village and we appreciate the role Diaspora play on our economy. MCP government will be open to the issue of dual citizenship as what we want is a win win situation where Malawians are not deprived from the freedom of investing back in their home country,” said Chakwera.
When asked to point out what his stance on the issue of nepotism, where people from one region or tribe dominates the government , Chakwera strongly suggested that his party is not a one region party or one tribe party but that it is a party for all Malawians.
He said all Malawians need to be given equal chances and even things like government contracts need to be awarded on merit , not based on who you know or where you come from.
On the issue of increasing levels of corruption , Chakwera said he was not happy with the level of corruption in Malawi.
He said it is not acceptable to have corruption as a way of life for one for one to be successful in Malawi.
Chakwera elaborated some of his party’s policies on fighting corruption saying “ we will strive to make governance institutes such as Anti corruption Bureau independent. MCP will work on fighting corruption on three levels, legislative, policy and practical levels”
Some Malawians who attended the event expressed their excitement with Chakwera decision to make himself available and meet them.
“Very often Malawi politicians come here in UK and doesn’t bother to meet Malawians , to hear what our views are on the current developments of our country- Chakwera has proved to be a leader who is willing to engage and listen to the hard truths from the people face to face” said one Winston Mponda.
At the end of the Manchester event , Chakwera told the Nyasa Times reporter of how excited he has been to engage with Malawians in UK.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :