Alliance for Democracy (AFORD) has said unless Malawi changes its system of running its affairs it will continue to wallow in massive stagnation as far as national development is concerned.
AFORD president, Enock Chakufwa Chihana, said in a talk show programme ‘Cruise 5′ on ZBS monitored by Nyasa Times that the notion of decentralisation in the country was “sheer lip service” whose simple agenda was to lie to the masses that they have the power to decide their own development.
He told host Joab Frank Chakhaza that with a federal system of government in place, it would mean a people power system with the people at the grassroots being able to allocate readily available resources appropriately.
Said Chihana: “Our present unitary system of government has failed us. This nation knows that AFORD has always been lobbying for a federal system of government from the beginning because we feel this is way to go if fair distribution of development projects across the regions is concerned.
“With a federal system of government it will mean each local assembly deciding their projects based on their allocation from the national budget. Actually, it is sad that a whole Member of Parliament should come all the way from Nsanje or Chitipa just to ask for a borehole in their constituency.
“These are projects that are supposed to be dealt with at local assembly but these can work if an effective federal system is instituted to give more power to local assemblies.”
Chihana said it would be imperative that once the system is instituted it should not be a copycat from other countries but rather one that would work with the country’s available resources.
“It is a fact, and we have seen that our neighbours such as South Africa and now Kenya where a federal system is in place things are working. But it would be completely wrong to copy everything in the manner they run their systems because, for example, we have varied resources,” said Chihana.
AFORD’s ‘miracle’ money
Chihana, son to political czar and trade unionist Chakufwa Thom Chihana, rebutted allegations that AFORD was being financed by the ruling Malawi Congress Party (MCP).
Recently—especially prior and during the recent by-elections—AFORD has shown that it is financially stable with the purchase of tens of vehicles, funding its candidates and profound availability of party regalia.
But Chihana said they had not received any penny from MCP and wondered why the media was inquisitive about AFORD now.
“Why now? AFORD has survived all these years and no one cared where we were getting our resources. The thing is we are rebranding, and when you are rebranding you need to make it look like it. And we are doing it.
“It is funny for one to think MCP would give money to us. Does MCP have money? Where will MCP get money that it would give to AFORD? Where has it gotten it? No, we run AFORD on our own just like MCP does with their own,” said Chihana.
He confessed that the resources are contributions from various party members with him as the chief financier.
“I am a businessman, and time and again when I make some profits I put some of it into the party coffers. But as it were there are also members and well wishers who come in and help,” he said.
‘Party of the North’
Chihana dismissed assertions that AFORD was a “party for the northern region” saying that was wrong thinking as the party was actually an epitome of a national party.
“Where do people get that from? Just to give you an idea, almost all top positions except me are not from the North. The treasurer general is from Chiradzulu, the secretary general is from Ntcheu and our vice president is from the central region. Does that sound like a party of the north for you?” he wondered.
According to Chihana, the party “was in an intensive care unit” but was now healing steadily hence the visible changes people are noticing.
“Instead of building the party we were busy quarrelling and tearing each other apart. Imagine, for example, if [Honourable Frank] Mwenifumbo and I had given the resources we spent during our 2018 convention to the party purse, how much do you think we would have achieved with it? Obviously, we would have propelled the party to some indomitable level,” said Chihana.
All are welcome
The AFORD leader said the party was “democratic” and “open to all”, encouraging Malawians to join it.
He dismissed allegations on “an ongoing exodus” of AFORD members to other parties such as MCP and UTM saying, actually, the opposite was true.
“We’re receiving a lot of people from the very party you are mentioning. It is not just MCP and UTM members that have defected to AFORD but we have also received new members from DPP. We also received the entire DEPECO as a party to our fold,” he said.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :