I like collecting many many items. I have all voters cards from 1994. I have managed to get a few MCP membership cards, my old one kwacha notes, quite a collection of UDF plate, DPP shoes and wrist watch, an empty Joyce Banda maize sack and of course all Kamuzu mbumba attires. I was going through all this when I remembered that this year will 50 years since Malawi became a Republic in 1966.
I looked at the one kwacha paper, tears came into my eyes that at that point when we became a republic, our poverty has gotten worse. We had poverty levels at around 30 percent of population, by 2010 we had outdone ourselves to 60 percent, with almost 20 percent living in extreme poverty.
Then I tried to watch Zodiak Television. I found Reverend Dr. Lazarus Chakwera speaking of an empty speech from the President. I googled his last remarks on the same topic, it was empty. Actually I googled John Tembo response to Bakili Muluzi and Bingus speeches, voila the same statement came up empty.
I got worried. Very worried. I was looking forward to suggestions in his response on what we can do better and how the President could have improved the situation. No, his response Leader of Opposition was more of rhetoric and more pointing at Government failures. Specifically Executive failures since he is part of branch of Government called Legislature.
The first two weeks of debate were a mere waste of my tax. Seriously from the benches of sleeping Ministers and MPs, nothing worth the daily expenditure of around MWK6million a day or MWK75million blown in the first days were worth it. I prayed that the budget would have something for me.
No, when Goodall came to the podium, he had a surprise well, a very bad one. Bread and others will have to go up, so too exercise books which are made from news print. Interestingly in trying to punish newspapers with VAT, Goodall is indirectly killing education in Malawi. Newspapers don’t make money from copies, they make from adverts which is already taxed. The 6,000 copies at 16.5 VAT will only bring MWK32,000 kwacha per day into treasury which is quite negligible. Its ridiculous that the whole treasury envisaged this as a solution to our lack of money. No Ministry of Finance, try to be innovative.
Looking at the huge expenditure by our Parliament, I went into real cost saving measures which only Dr. Chakwera and Goodall Gondwe will never agree to and will never say in public. I believe these will work when these two people leave the political stage. Now lets try them:
- Reduce Parliament seats from 193 seats to 100 seats. We have 640 counsellors in Councils in our devolved local government. The 93 MPs will save us an average of MWK7billion in five years from loans, salaries and allowances. If we are serious as a nation in cost saving let Chakwera or Goodall bring these to Parliament.
- Declare all party financing sources to limit potential corruption by parties by potential Government suppliers. We might be paying huge thank you bills to companies that ruling parties owe a favour to. Think of Oswald Lutepo and his International chani chani company and Thuso.
- All political parties should be subject to audit especially on finances collected from the tax payer and the general public. I will vote for Chakwera if his speech in Parliament campaigns for this. I declare Goodall a national hero if he does indeed move for an audit for public collected finance. This should cover NGOs as well to ensure we don’t get politically driven groupings pretending to be civil society. But lo, Chakwera or Goodall teams have no idea.
- Reduce Presidential convoy to 4 vehicles, cut Police lining up the streets and reduce number of state residences. We can do with Chikoko, Kamuzu and Sanjika. The rest should be found better use or leased on long term to hotel or other interested groups. Do not sale them to your families.
- Review all diplomatic and top appointments in public service. Publish names of all those in embassies, their curriculum vitae and dates of appointment and dates of contracts finishing, the same with critical agencies such as MRA, ADMARC, MHC, Water boards, Escom, NFRA, MERA, MACRA, MBC, Roads Authority, etc. Let us see who is serving Malawians and what qualification they hold for the posts.
- Remove use of V8 4X4 and limit V6 vehicles to President and Vice President, Chief Justice and Speaker. The rest of Government executives and agencies should be downgraded to a Toyota Hilux or Fortuner type of vehicle. No Mercedes Benz or VX should be bought. We can cut our wastage bill by almost MWK2 billion annually which we spend to maintain those fuel guzzlers. This should apply to even useless Judges of our courts who have no time to hear cases by roam around Blantyre and Lilongwe that cash gate cases now are running into their third year!
- Reduce fuel allocations, why should Ministers claim 1000 litres of fuel when Government restricted travel to 3 trips per month. The same with telephone allowances. Everyone in Government, Ministers, Principle Secretaries and litany of assistants and heads of institution should get 150 litres a month. That’s enough and that will save us not less than MWK5 billion a year from wasted fuel allocations.
- Start serious age limited contracts. Everyone above Government retirement age of 60 should retire and not be hired on some sort of technical directors. If we retired all above 60s this 1 July, 2016 I am told we could save MWK300 million per month or MWK1.2 billion in one year alone.
- National Bank has just made MWK19 billion kwacha profit. Start standards regulation and fines for Banks, Insurance and all other companies like Water Boards who fail to fix leakage for 24 hours, Banks that fail to have ATM services for more than allowed close times, Banks that fail to provide a service like online banking they charge, money deducted mysteriously or failed to show in customers account in 24 hours, stealing of ATM cards by their machines, Escom for failing to provide adequate notices, poor standards in hotel, food and many more, collect fines from Insurance companies for delayed compensations or dodgy insurances. Hey wena I can prophecy MWK5 billion free money raining from these institutions or improving of their standards.
Now you see why I say both Chakwera and Goodall came with empty words to Parliament. They have idea how to change and save Malawi but they are not serious enough to say the right words. They prefer politically correct words and statements that do not mean anything.
I support the phasing out of subsidy, hospital fees for users especially those in alcohol or domestic violence related accidents. Only malaria, HIV and Aids, TB and diahorrea should remain free in Government hospitals. Pregnancy services should be abit high to limit our uncontrolled fertility and sexual libido.
We should stop spending on male circumcision, it does not add any value save for misleading people to believe they are invincible to HIV.
Dzuka Malawi, if you love Malawi ask Dr. Lazarus Chakwera to bring these words into Parliament and save us MWK27billion pronto. Or Goodall Gondwe to stop taxing exercise books and reduce fuel and allowances he collects as Cabinet Minister when he spends all the time at Capital Hill.
Dzuka Malawi, empty speeches will end when these people go. Read about Thomas Sankara, he said if any President, Minister or Government officials want luxury he should get a job at a company. Public is service to the poor. Closer home John Magufuli is walking the same line, when are we ending empty speeches from our Government and opposition parties-Dzuka!