Malawi President Chakwera fails to impress on 1 million jobs, nepotism, blames predecessor in HARDtalk Interview

President Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera who is in the United Kingdom (UK) for a Global Education Summit featured on BBC HARDtalk interview on Wednesday, July 28, 2021 where he was grilled on a wide range of issues including creation of 1 million jobs, Covid 19 and healthcare, state of economy, nepotism covering appointment of daughter to diplomatic mission and inclusion of family member in the 10 person delegation paid for by the British tax payers.

President Chakwera with HARDtalk interviewer Sarah Montague.

HARDtalk is the flagship interview program by the BBC that provides in-depth interviews with hard-hitting provocative questions on topical issues which normally could not be asked by local media. The style and format is highly combative that sometimes interviewees walk out.

Experienced journalist and presenter Sarah Montague hosted President Chakwera on Wednesday, pushing the Malawi leader to the corner with various tough questions.

One million jobs creation

Among the questions, she asked Chakwera whether or not he has fulfilled his pre-election pledge a year ago when the Covid-19 pandemic was already underway on creating one million jobs. Chakwera and his administration have blamed the fragile economy and high unemployment statistics on Covid-19.

Instead of informing the host about how many jobs his administration has so far created, President Chakwera went round and round bringing about an issue of Affordable Inputs Program (AIP), which he claimed had created thousands of jobs for the youths as wage labourers.

“When we started for example with Affordable Inputs Program, we had thousands of jobs. Young people were employed across the country with millions of people accessing the affordable inputs. It was 3.5 million actually able to access the inputs,” he said, claiming the AIP had offered millions of smallholder farmers access to low cost fertilizer resulting in a record yield so far and thereby creating wealth for thousands of households.

President Chakwera also claimed his government had given loans and initiated cash transfer programs to create wealth for the people.

He, however, acknowledged the impact of Covid-19 pandemic, which had resulted in about 600,000 people losing jobs.

Asked to comment on the recent remarks by his predecessor Peter Mutharika that President Chakwera had plunged a million people into poverty instead of creating one million jobs, President Chakwera retorted: “He should be the best and the first one to know what they did by destroying the economy of the country. There is no iota of truth in what he is saying.”

Reminded that creating one million jobs was his significant campaign pledge, a visibly angry and finger pointing Chakwera said that was “not the only pledge”.

“The majority of Malawians, I said 80 percent, are smallholder farmers and they voted on the basis that we would have affordable farm inputs, which we did provide and Malawi now has, on record, the best yield. It is not an empty pledge (jobs), we will fulfill that but how many people have lost jobs here (in the UK),” wondered President Chakwera to which the interviewer said was “irrelevant” because she was asking about Malawi.

Nepotism

President Chakwera was challenged on the appointment of his own daughter, Violet, as a diplomat to Brussels, Belgium against his own accusations of then President Peter Mutharika.

Montague quoted a paragraph from Chakwera’s speech then as Leader of Opposition in his response to the state of the nation address (SONA) in parlimament delivered on 7th May, 2019 saying:

“If there is a vacancy at a foreign embassy that requires a professional and career diplomat, the DPP will send someone unqualified whose only credential is being related to someone at State House by tribe or blood, because it is a chance for someone to steal from Malawians.”

An angry President Chakwera responded saying: “I am really amazed that you could use that as an example of something that is not true. Violet is not going to Brussels. Check your facts and investigate those things”.

He failed to put the facts straight but levelled accusations of untruthfulness.

A fortnight ago, State House through the President Press Secretary Brian Banda confirmed the appointed the daughter as a diplomat to Brussels and that it was not nepotism because she is qualified. She (Violet) also went through a diplomatic orientation at the Foreign Affairs Ministry in Lilongwe alongside other diplomatic appointees a few weeks ago.

Since President Chakwera became President, he has made over 2,000 appointments in the civil services and out of those 2,000 appointments only one appointment which was duly vetted, following thorough process in as far as appointment is concerned. you have a problem with that? Someone who is qualified for the job, the only problem that the person you are referring to is being the daughter of the President. We at the State House find that lacking,” said Brian Banda, the President Press Secretary.

It is normal practice that State House to change tune when the heat is on. The appointment may be diverted to London or elsewhere to distance itself from Brussels.

London trip family inclusion

Asked why he included the daughter (Violet) and other family members, – wife and son-in-law –  in his delegation on the UK trip by for by hard working British tax payers. President Chakwera – without elaboration – defended his decision, arguing that he brought “Malawians that are doing something along with me on this trip and that they are just as valuable”.

When asked that he had brought with him family members against the backdrop of his own promise to clear the rubble of corruption and cronyism, President Chakwera retorted: “I can tell you, each one of them have specific functions and the specific functions are such that for me to be able to attend a meeting like this, I need their services”.

Elsewhere, The Times of London reported on Wednesday that President Chakwera is “an unreasonable nepotist who flies his family cronies to the summit instead of proper government officials who could handle issues at the meeting”.

It is on record that President Chakwera applied to travel with 61 people to travel with him but the British Government refused and told him to travel with 10 people only. According to the Times of London, the British Government could not accept such wastage of resources for a country that they assist with aid.

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Don Magnus
Don Magnus
1 month ago

Your story ” fails to impress” as well. 50% true at best.Chakwera is the best president Malawi ever had and was elected mostly by farmers to help other farmers. He has succeeded in this. Malawi currently has a far better President than USA has.

eddy
eddy
1 month ago

Man up Mr president and stop being a cry baby,you thought it was easy when you were in the opposition taking swipes at Mutharika, now its your turn to face the music and seem to be perfecting those doings which you were accusing your predecessor of, they say karma is a…….

BigMan
BigMan
1 month ago

AMalawinso penapake kupepela, how can you be asking about 1 million jobs when the effects of the pandemic are there for all to see?

Kavunga
Kavunga
1 month ago
Reply to  BigMan

So you don’t know that the pandemic was there when the fool was promising the ppl of Malawi one million jobs?

chaiwone wawo
1 month ago
Reply to  BigMan

the effects of the pandemic were there when the 1 million jobs were created

stanley
stanley
1 month ago

Fellow-Malawians, be careful with white people, not just the British. They have a racial disdain for African leaders for whom they have scant respect. It has always been like this with all African leaders. If a British government representative were to come to Malawi, would our journalists seek to embarras him/her? For what reason? I amazed that we find all this disrespect something to laugh at. Where is your loyalty? Even if the President did blunder, can you join the arrogant, proud and self-important British? Shame on you!

Nyengo
Nyengo
1 month ago
Reply to  stanley

Very right

Bondo
Bondo
1 month ago
Reply to  stanley

British journalist was doing her work. Those are the questions that some Malawians are asking and we need answers. If you follow blindly simply because you are MCP, go ahead you are not the first and won’t be the last. Fact is Tonse govt is failing in Malawi. There was plenty of talk as opposition but as govt they are not ticking.

Rhudo
Rhudo
1 month ago
Reply to  stanley

this is what we call transparent, let white be white and black be black. if chakwera is indeed doing things according to the will of Malawians all these questions are simple and straight forward but if there is something black no wonder our president saw a heat back from the front. WAKE MR PRESIDENT. Remember the message on the 6th July celebration Chakwera told the nation that we should have a questioning mind on our leaders on issues relating to governance and social issues that matter most. what this journalist did was to stand on the foot of Malawians to… Read more »

Shonko Shiwathu
Shonko Shiwathu
1 month ago
Reply to  stanley

What do you expect if our President travels to UK with his wife, daughter, son-in-law and daughter and 6 others to attend a virtual conference which he could have participated from Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe. His trip was funded by UK tax payers. Its not disrespect, what the British press says, is said by Malawians but this falls on deaf ears,

Kamchiputu
1 month ago
Reply to  stanley

You have a good name Stanley befiing a level-headed person but you are useless. What kind of analysis is this nonsense? I wish you diidnt day anaything, anyway it’s your right to epress your rubbish.

Shona
1 month ago
Reply to  stanley

Wakaaputa dala.

Piper
Piper
1 month ago
Reply to  stanley

Please don’t twist facts. Chakwera has appointed his daughter to go on foreign mission to Brussels. Fact. Chakwera has taken the same daughter and son-in-law to London on government duty. Fact. Chakwera accused the DPP of the same things he’s just done. Fact. Now if you may, enlighten me, where is the racism in this? Don’t just defend, check the facts!

Kamchiputu
1 month ago

The American accent has not helped us.

My Opinion
My Opinion
1 month ago

Chakwera has answered well. Let not white people think that we are still under their armpit, she failed to answer if UK has not lost jobs because of pandemic, Dont be stupid by thinking that there is no any country in the world that has gone through difficult, think of them[ UK] how many died because of this covid19? you answer is best, stop this nosense of undermining the President just because the million job is not on the ground!

Chim
Chim
1 month ago

Malawi, you are on your own.

These politicians are there for themselves and their families.

How so daring from Chakwera. He was in the forefront accusing DPP of nepotism (rightly so), so I gave him my vote but what does he do? He practises the same nepotism to an even higher level, right in the face of Malawians.

Malawi is destroyed by politicians.

They just use people and once they are in power they start pissing on us.

phiri
1 month ago

Bwana president, mwatichitsa manyazi, DPP is long gone.Remember your colourful promises .As a government in waiting that time, you had shadow everything and u knew where to start and now one year down the line and still counting, u still blame the DPP,zoona? Mulungu sakukondwa cos u left His call and more night mares are coming for until u go back to his calling, i will pray for your forgivrness

Ken
Ken
1 month ago

Noah…. Noah

Chiombagaga
Chiombagaga
1 month ago

Many Malawians were fooled by this so-called Tonse Alliance. They promised Heaven yet they are leading us to Hell.

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