Vice-President Saulos Chilima graced our eyes and ears Sunday night with a televised national address that failed to provide answers, or clear direction, to two critical issues that have trapped this country in a stalemate.
One, the secrecy surrounding the management of COVID-19 by government is becoming a serious public concern, as such, Chilima should have come out gun-blazing on this.
Secondly, in the wake of COVID-19, how do we proceed with elections, especially when we have already witnessed a jaundiced electoral registration system at a time when everybody is supposed to stay home observing social distance.
These two issues, though related, are critical to our times because the road ahead of this country depends on how best we negotiate them.
That is why, when senior leaders, such as Chilima, takes to the podium, we expect them to offer clear direction on these two issues.
In his address, Chilima—rightly so, called the need of an all inclusive approach in managing COVID-19.
The beauty of an all-inclusive approach is that it enhances accountability, transparency and, of course, public trust.
The greatest question of our time, on COVID-19, is the entire financing mechanism of this pandemic.
Unlike in other countries, parliament is yet to convene to scrutinize finances involved in this project.
Government is acting in solitude and no one knows how the finances that keep flowing into this project are being managed.
I expected Chilima, as someone who understands how public finances are managed, to dwell in detail on this, helping the public understand if we are being duped or not by government.
Chilima, unfortunately, only caressed this topic, saying he know finances are being abused by some ministers and all that.
By saying he knows that COVID-19 finances are being abused, what Malawians wanted to hear from him is: One, name and shame those involved; and two, report them to police or Anti Corruption Bureau – ACB.
Chilima’s lukewarm approach to this critical COVID-19 financing is a symbol of cheap politicking that Malawians don’t need at the point in time.
In fact, his approach tells us that he is ready to jump on any burning issue—not to extinguish but to score a political mile without offering anything worth the salt.
That’s bad politicking.
Secondly, on elections, Chilima is candid, saying the fresh elections must go on. Well said.
But, in the same vein, Chilima confirms that COVID-19 is real and you and I knows that the only option available to stop this pandemic is social distancing.
Taking from his word, Chilima isn’t clear on how best we can hold these elections without avoiding public congestion. Can we? That is the question.
Truth be told, we all need these elections. We must have them. But let’s also see the COVID-19 dangers before us and examine if it’s possible to have these elections and, at the same time, observe social distancing.
Already, the registration process is wrought with visible irregularities of registering minors and, in some areas, political thugs stepping in to disturb the entire process.
The fear before us is not just the enhancement of public congestion which is a big risk of contacting or spreading the virus; the fear is that we will end up having a shoddy electoral process that will be shunned by many.
Even worse, the tricky issue of Jane Ansah hasn’t been sorted yet. How do we proceed with her?
These are some of the questions at the heart of most Malawians as the country continues to struggle with the threat of COVID-19 and pending fresh elections.
These are questions that our leaders must address in clear and concise terms not in sheer political cleverness aimed at scoring a political.
I must confess Chilima’s national address Sunday night was just another litany of verbiage aimed at keeping his name a topic in all forums of public discussions.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :