Managing Editor of Nation Publications Limited, Ephraim Munthali, writing in his influential newspaper column, ‘Cut the chaff’ has observed that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government has not lived up to its campaign promises and feel now after four years that they have failed the country.
Launched in April 2014 titled: ‘Towards a people-centred government’, DPP had undertaken to clamp down on corruption, create jobs and improve service delivery. But only a year to go before Malawians go to the polls again, these promises lie in tatters.
The DPP government has also strayed on promised to reduce concentration of power in the presidency, especially on appointing and removing heads of accountability institutions such as the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM), the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), the Auditor General (AG), the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and Clerk of Parliament (CoP).
The DPP promised that once elected it would abolish the coupon system and make subsidised fertiliser available for every maize subsistence farmer that needs it but four years down the line, coupons are still used printed to cater for 1. Farm Input Subsidy Programme which the donors have abandoned the seed component.
In his column, Munthali observed that the “blundering DPP” has “butchered” almost 90 percent of its 2014 manifesto promises and the party is behaving like Alice in Wonderland.
”They can’t just show or tell what they have or will do if voted into power again. Of course, they have launched a project here, a foundation stone there and took time to break some ground somewhere, but the whole business is so murky that there is no clear end game,” he wrote.
The columnist said should it retake power in next year’s elections, the same pattern will continue.
.”It is now difficult to trust whatever promise the DPP will make; including the ground breaking ceremonies that President Peter Mutharika is presiding over week in-week out,” he wrote.
He criticized DPP that instead of using the time it has to turn around their strategy, the party is spending most of its time attacking main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) instead of selling a blueprint of what kind of country they want to make if voted into power again.
“Actually, when the DPP holds the so-called development rallies, it spends two hours talking about MCP and 20 minutes outlining a new dream for the country…forget about its many botched dreams.In other words, the DPP is spending less time talking to and about Malawians and all its focus is on MCP because they are convinced it is their only enemy that can wrestle power from them in 2019,” he pointed out.
While attacking DPP for giving a raw deal to Malawians, the columnist also had a dig at MCP, saying as a government-in-waiting, it is uninspiring as the DPP itself.
“Actually, MCP is failing to convince why people should vote DPP out of power and has struggled to define itself in terms of what it represents. As a result, MCP is giving people reason to maintain the devil they know , which is DPP,” reads the column.
Munthali said at political party level, MCP cannot handle an internal crisis as the party is facing factionalism and leadership wrangled and that it has undefined vision.
So far, he noted, the MCP’s only selling point is that its party president and leader of opposition Lazarus Chakwera can deliver a prepared speech “nicely wrapped in an American accent”. But he pointed out that Chakwera speeches are “devoid of substance.”
He said even when Chakwera criticises President Mutharika’s agenda, he falls short of providing his own ideas and policy choices.
“Sometimes, MCP spends so much time going after what they consider to be unfriendly media outlets and critics that one wonders whether their actual vision is a Malawi where freedom of the press and freedom of expressions are rolled back to the dark dictatorial days when they were in power in the one party State era,” noted Munthali in his column.
He wrote: “And so when all the chaff is cut, I get the sense that DPP And MCP are spending too much time publicly ridiculing and attacking each other without any grain of shame.
“If they are not calling each other pathological liar or mpelezi then it is about killers and prince of thieves. We don’t have time for this, for Christ’s sake.”
As it stands, Munthali’s verdict is that MCP is a hopeless opposition party. It is no better than the DPP.
Munthali ends the column: “Both Mutharika and Chakwera lack the kind of leadership that is required in the 21st century for a country like Malawi that needs to play catch up on a number of issues.”
While the DPP has shied away from tackling thorny campaign promises, it has successfully implemented those which caught the attention of Malawians for their uniqueness such as limiting the size of the Cabinet to 20, implementing the Malata and Cement subsidy and establishing community colleges.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :