The newly-appointed spokesperson for opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Brown Mpinganjira has described the State of the Nation Address (SONA) presented by President Lazarus Chakwera in Parliament on Friday as not a true reflection of what is on the ground.
He has said President Chakwera is “Mr Talk-talk'” who speaks good English full of eloquence but lacks the necessary vision to take the country forward.
In an interview, Mpinganjira said while Malawi is mired in many deep and seemingly intractable problems, the President thought is wise to announce that his government would build official offices for Members of Palriament in all the 193 constituencies.
“If that is not an insult to struggling Malawians, then insult has lost its meaning. MPs have access to parliamentary loans: they receive various allowances; and they receive salaries. What is wise about constructing offices for people who are already managing when teachers, nurses and many public servants are living in mud and grass-thatched houses?
“That was the most horrible part of his speech. The President could have done better,” said Mpinganjira, who is popularly known as ‘BJ’.
BJ said among the problems confronting Malawi today are the weak state of the economy, poor roads infrastructure, housing, lack of essential drugs, inadequate schools and teaching and learning materials and high level of unemployment, hunger and the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, among others.
He said the President never adequately address these issues and articulate realistic approaches to address the same.
BJ said many state-owned companies including ADMARC, Blantyre Water Board, Malawi Posts Corporation, ESCOM and MACOHA are now technically insolvent.
The President should told the nation how his government intends to turn around these loss-making entities instead of exalting court judges for putting him in his seat, he argued.
“These companies and others continue to offer a huge burden on the government’s finances, due to the damage done to them through mismanagement and abuse. What should be the remedy, if I may ask the President. I am not impressed at all,” said BJ.
Veteran journalist turned political commentator Dickson Kashoti has also harshly attacked President Chakwera’s SONA.
Writing on his Facebook page, said the President’s “unnecessaryuse of flowery English language which ended up in verbal diarrhoea”.
“Great and important national issues and facts hidden in the useless show off of mastery of English language.
“President Dr Lazarus Chakwera’s speech writer can do better next time. The whole purpose of SONA is to communicate to Malawians and other interest groups on the state of the nation politically, economically and socially, not a show off that somebody mastered the Queen’s language.
“I think the President is making too many promises which he will not fulfill,” Kashoti argues.
However, Leader of Opposition in Parliament Kondwani Nankhumwa said the Democratic Progressive Party will respond to the speech on Monday.
In his one hours and 20 minutes address which was themed “Restoring warmth to the Heart of Africa,”Chakwera—who was elected in a court-sanctioned June 23 presidential election—also repeated the vow to trim the powers of the presidency and answer questions from Members of Parliament—a thing no President has done since independence.
The President, who has already declared his assets, affirmed his desire to roll out the Access to Information (ATI) law, free up state broadcaster Malawi Broadcasting Cooperation (MBC) and Malawi Communication Regulatory Authority (Macra) from political abuse and empower the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB).Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :