Cut the chaff: Chakwera burning political capital with string of blunders

President Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera speaks earnestly, passionately and sounds like someone who means what he says. He is likable and has a face that exudes honesty and trust. The fact that he has been a respected man of God throughout most of his adult life does not hurt either. He smells piety.

Chakwera does not believe in what he says in public or he just does not talk to or listen to advisors

So, when he says he will root out corruption, sternly deal with abuse of office, do away with executive arrogance, govern by the rule of law and through servant leadership, one cannot help, but give the man the benefit of the doubt.

So far, he appears to have brought dignity to the presidency with his measured tone, a careful choice of language and, yes, even looking and sounding damn presidential. But the string of blunders he is piling since assuming power tells me that either Chakwera does not believe in what he says in public or he just does not talk to or listen to advisors.

For example, when he came into power, Chakwera replaced the Commissioner General of the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA), yet the law says that only the tax collector’s body can hire and fire its head. Did he seek legal advice on the matter? Does that read like the behaviour of a man who respects the rule of law?

In defence, the President said at the time that the two appointments were temporary while a new MRA board was being reconstituted.

“I have made these provisional appointments to stop the free-for-all pilferage of taxes and the destruction of evidence that have been taking place there in the last few weeks, crimes which need to be stopped as a matter of urgency,” claimed Chakwera. But this explanation did not make sense for two reasons. First, where on earth do you pick someone from outside the organisation to work in an acting capacity? MRA has a lot of career professionals who would have acted in this position unless Chakwera produces evidence that they were all too compromised.

Second, why didn’t the President first appoint the board and instruct them to expedite the recruitment of the MRA chief? Meanwhile, it is roughly three months since the new MRA board assumed their duties and there have been no adverts to float the ‘vacant’ position.

The President unceremoniously sacked the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Malawi Dalitso Kabambe and packed him somewhere in the Office of the President and Cabinet while the man’s contract as Governor is still running.

Now I hear Kabambe is not taking the insult lying down and is demanding hundreds of millions of kwacha from the taxpayer for the tasteless removal.

Just last week, Chakwera sparked another controversy with the appointments of boards of directors of parastatals and other subvented organisations.

Ignoring Malawi’s gender laws, the percentage of women in the boards is well below the threshold that the laws prescribe. Prominent women, lawyers, gender activities and organisations protested heavily and demanded that the boards be reconstituted. In response, Chakwera—the man who promised to do away with executive arrogance and work to respect rule of law—dispatched his Information Minister Gospel Kadzako, who basically told everyone complaining about the illegal composition of the boards to go to hell.

The President’s silence is a tacit approval of Kadzako’s arrogant response to serious concerns.

Chakwera also messed up the rollout of his Cabinet in which people from the Central Region grabbed more than half of the portfolios, centralizing power to a region the President comes from and which is the bedrock of Malawi Congress Party support.

Yet, this is the man who said he would do things differently and consistently condemned Peter Mutharika’s staffing of top jobs with people from the Southern Region, especially from the so-called Lhomwe belt.

He also filled his Cabinet with families—including spouses and siblings—much to the chagrin of the general public. Even then people demanded that he dissolves the Cabinet and re-appoint a new one that helps to re-unite the country and share national power in a more representative way.

Chakwera refused not because he wanted to show his decisiveness, but he was too afraid of the families and his party that have captured him to change anything.

It has only been three months, but at the rate President Chakwera is alienating certain constituencies, he won’t have enough political capital to do much

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Winstonmsowoya
Winstonmsowoya
13 days ago

CHAKWERA WAS NOT A GOOD CHOICE TO BE VOTED AS MALAWI’S PRESIDENT.SOME VOTERS HAD THEIR OWN CHOICE THAT THE FORMER CHRISTIAN HAS AN AMERICAN VOCABULARY,WHAT FOOLS OF THE MALAWIAN PEOPLE? BANDA CAME INTO MALAWI WITH NO KNOWLEDGE OF MALAWIAN LANGUAGE AND YET HE CHEATED THEM THAT HE WAS A CHEWA BY TRIBE.THIS IDIOTIC BRUTAL KILLER FRANKLY SPEAKING,HIS PARENTS CAME FROM GHANA AND NIGERIA.THERE ARE BANDAS IN NIGERIA AND GHANA.YOU MUST WONDER WHY HE COULD NOT SPEAK CHEWA AND YET THE ROGUE CLAIMED THAT HE WAS. A CHEWA BY TRIBE HOWEVER,HE IS ON LINE WITH MIA AND HIS WIFE,IN SHORT,HE WAS… Read more »

nyarugwe
nyarugwe
15 days ago

What else can Ephraim say?

The Democrat
The Democrat
16 days ago

Time to accept the fact staring us Malawians in the face. There is no country in the world where a clergyman be it Rev, Bishop or Archbishop has been a successful. Cyprus lost half the country to Turkey because of the incompetence of Archbishop Makarios, look at Haiti and the poverty the clergyman who was President has reduced Haiti too. Look at what Rasputin did to Russia and it’s Royal family. This Rev Chakwera is made of the same mould, he has dictatorial streaks in him, he is arrogant and oblivious to criticism. Let dump him and support SKC.

Lego
15 days ago
Reply to  The Democrat

This is not CYPRUS and stop showing us that you know history than the rest.Were you happy with what was happening at MRA?

Democrat
Democrat
15 days ago
Reply to  Lego

Lego – Why are you feeling jealous that I know history? If you go back to school they will teach you that history repeats itself. I know the history of Cyprus, but do you even know where Cyprus is?

KWENGWERE
KWENGWERE
16 days ago

The president needs to cut the chaff. The useless foreign trips he has lined up, are they not part of the chaffy???? Kkkk

Mine
Mine
16 days ago

Osamalemba zopanda mutu ,mmene MRA inaliri muli inu mukanatani,reserve bank governor anadzipanga yekha kukhala kadet muli inu mukanatani ,give this man time zinamukunenazo za gender olo panyumba panu palibepo zitayeni

D nyasulu
D nyasulu
16 days ago

No one is 100% perfect.we all have shortfalls.Chakwera is the best president we’ve ever had in Malawi.stop discouraging him with your useless posts.

Mapopa
Mapopa
16 days ago
Reply to  D nyasulu

Of all the presidents Malawi has ever had, this is the dullest.

Chathengo
Chathengo
16 days ago

Za ziiii. DPP article as usual. Compare him with ur old man. How did he appoint board members?

Nkombokombo
Nkombokombo
16 days ago

The author of this article is insincere! He should not expect drastic changes in the Govt. overnight, give the President and his Govt. ample time to fix this ailing nation. Looks like the author is taking sides!!………..

tiyowoye nyasulu
tiyowoye nyasulu
16 days ago

Well said and well written. here is a man who doesnt believe that he is the president of Malawi and run things as if he is running a grocer. He was not ready to be president and this came as windfall and he is yet tocome to terms

Ngulenje wa Ngulenje
Ngulenje wa Ngulenje
16 days ago

Remember what brought Joice Banda down was the fact that she left people who were corrupt in Bingu’s government in vital key areas. Do the writer want Chakwela fall into the same trap. Please be of sobber reason mind.

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