Malawi’s governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has been branded as dishonest and that it holds low the Malawian voter by its sudden change of heart and departure from its social contracts with the citizens through the manifesto, the country’s flagship newspaper has said.
The Daily Times newspaper on Monday led with a story titled ‘DPP continues to defile manifesto’ which the paper reported that Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe has defended the government’s continued borrowing up to almost K2.1 trillion.
And the paper in its editorial comment, reminded that DPP in its electoral manifesto dedicated a whole chapter to “managing the public debt” in which it promised to only borrow for production and not for luxuries and consumption It also pledged to negotiate with bilateral creditors to turn loans into grants.
The paper expressed worry with the K2.1 trillion loan bills against the national budget of K1.1 trillion, quashing Finance Minister Gondwe’s defence of “extravagance” such as state of the art vehicles and chartered executive jets for President Peter Mutharika.
“The DPP-led government is also supervising serious assets stripping where its top officials and influential figures in society are sharing tractors that were bought using borrowed money. The most painful thing is that the loan was obtained on the strength that it would benefit poor Malawians and that the connected rich beneficiaries are getting the tractors for a song,” reads the editorial comment in part.
The paper pointed out that DPP either made its campaign promises in the manifesto “ignorantly or it just wanted to cheat the poor to vote for it.”
The comments went further to ask Malawians to demand from DPP administration “to stop sending this country to abyss just because someone wants to massage their ego.”
Finance Minister Gondwe told parliament: “I am not saying that we should not be very careful when borrowing, we should b careful. But what matters is not the amount we are borrowing, what matters is how we use it and what we borrow for and that’s where we should concentrate. If we concentrated on that, certainly, it would be very meaningful.”
The following are some of the major promises DPP made in the manifesto that ushred it into office:
- Complete construction of university campuses in Karonga, Mzimba, Nkhotakota, Mangochi, and Nsanje;
- Reduce presidential powers by empowering a special public appointments committee to handle the appointment and removal of top officials in various public institutions such as appointment and removal of the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Malawi, Director of the Anti-Corruption Bureau.
- Others were the Auditor General, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Clerk of Parliament, Malawi Human Rights Commission executive secretary, the Malawi Law Commissioner, director general of the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation, Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) director general, and that leaders of other accountability institutions shall be on merit through a special public appointments committee;
- In Chapter 4 (11) it emphasises zero-tolerance to corruption, fraud, theft and other economic crimes
- To implement recommendations of past constitutional reviews including the facilitation of revised Section 65 on crossing the floor and to bring back of Section 64, on the recall provision;
- Operationalising the Nsanje Inland Port;
- Abolish the coupon system for subsidized farm inputs;
- Make subsidised fertiliser available for every farmer who needs it.
- Cooperate with and collaborate with the civil society and non-governmental organisations and the media; Pass and implement the Access to Information Bill;