Malawi President’s ’arrogant claim’ comes under attack: Mutharika not miracle-maker

Two newspaper  columnists on Saturday  launched at attack on President Peter Mutharika’s New Year address when he equates importation of goods and service to sound economic management.

President Mutharika: Listen to the voice of reason, the preening pompadour of arrogance is the architect of so much of that from which our great country is trying to free itself

According to the President, Malawians now have a high sense of taste and can afford to buy imported cars and that fuel service stations sprouting up all over the country are a sign of a growing economy.

“More than ever, I am seeing new cars on our roads – and Malawians have a high sense of taste. More and more Malawians can now afford to buy a car,” said Mutharika in his New Year’s message.

But Weekend Nation columnist Suzgho Khunga queried Mutharika: “ As his convoy passes Area 18 in Lilongwe or Chichiri Trade Fair grounds in Blantyre, the President does not see the high number of vehicles that stay for months without being sold, he does not know that those vehicles translate to the millions in forex that have left this country due to our gluttonous nature to consume more than we can produce.”

Khunga wrote:”Whatever happened to the promise of turning the country from consuming nation to a producing one when the whole President can take pride that his people are importing excessively?”

The prominent columnist Mutharika’s  New Year address, pointing out that some of the content was just “ too laughable for words.”

In the commentary, Khunga reminded Malawians when Bingu wa Mutharika, the President’s brother,  came into power in 2009, he told Malawians that the country had developed beyond recognition, so developed the sunrise on the flag became a full blazing full white sun. Not long after that there were fuel, power and forex shortages and the people did not like him as much as they did on May 20 2009.

“Just the fact that the same institutions that have been in existent for 53 years under different administrations including the DPP have failed to resolve the challenges facing the country should tell the government that APM is no miracle-maker,” Khunga wrote.

The columnist continued : ‘Only a President that has no clue what is happening in his own country can claim that new jobs have been created when over 3 000 people lost employment in 2017 and 1 500 in the year before.’’

According to Khunga, it would be kind to believe that the President could not have written the “litany of hogwash” that was presented as a New Year address on Monday, “he had to have been misled by someone who thought patting himself on the back for developments that are actually depressing was the perfect gift to Malawians.”

Another columnist, the ‘Backbencher’, similarly went out of his way  to bash Mutharika on economy talk.

While the Backbencher noted that Mutharika was “spot on” regarding the stabilisation of the kwacha and the rolling down of both inflation and interest rates, he pointed out that the challenge is in making this a rule and not an exception to the rule.

“How can the stability be sustained so it trickles down to impoverished Malawians? I missed that part if it was articulated at all,” wrote the Backbencher.

Despite the positive economic data presented by the President , the columnist gently pointed out that what isn’t true about the economy is the “arrogant claim” by Mutharika that we are managing without donor aid.

“The truth is that many donors stopped giving us direct budgetary support. They were nauseated by the rampant fraud and corruption which made them liken government’s Account Number One to a ‘leaking bucket.’

“Only a mad person would try to fill such a bucket by pouring in more water. But aid flows into the country. It doesn’t only help government implement its social and developmental agenda but it also is a major source of foreign exchange without which this consumer economy which largely depends on exporting tobacco, would once again be reduced to ‘zigubu’ economy of Bingu’s disastrous second term,” reads the influential column in part.

The Backbencher also argues that it doesn’t help government’s image for the President to insist that Cashgate —the plunder of public resources at Capital Hill exposed in September 2013— was a  former President Joyce Banda  problem when audit has shown that massive pilferage of public funds was rampant even when Bingu was at the helm of a government in which President Peter Mutharika  himself served as a Cabinet minister from 2009.

‘What most law-abiding Malawians would probably like to hear is an out-of-the-box strategy for making the zero tolerance for corruption policy work.

‘Otherwise, not only is corruption rampant but it’s now on your watch that Malawi–the poorest country by GDP per capita –is still losing more than 30 per cent of its revenue. Could it be that your government is clue-less on how to effectively and decisively fight corruption?Trust me, that’s probably a major reason some tax-payers may be looking for an alternative leader,” conclude the columnist.

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Banda Rodgers
Guest
Mutarika was not adressing Malawian as a whole, he was adressing the illiterate where he gets most votes…. He fools the ignorant who doesnt know anything about infraction or economy rise…. Do you think importing more cars from Dubai means boosting economy.?? Kitchen politics!!! Malawi needs more exports than imports to register her name on the map. One cried loud that our president needs brain surgery…, we thought he was mocking the president. Now his words have come true. Instead of adressings ways of having more exports to boost economy, he praises the rich with more money possibly from cashgate… Read more »
Prince of Thieves
Guest

I question the integrity and the intelligence of this president of Malawi. Does he really know that most the cars civil servants own are from stolen taxes. With the salaries we civil servants get, we cannot surely afford a car. Professor Chikaonda suggested that we check what the people own vs the salaries, you would find that it is improprtional. Cashgate cars and cashgate houses in area 43, 47, 49, 25, Mchinji road, Kaphiri etc.The president can’t see this: OMG. He is the indeed the Prince of Thieves.

zrofin
Guest
Well as tech advances in rich country..they manufacture more affordable cars with higher efficiency than before. As their economy grow , they affordability improves despite the fact that the government’s tax avoidance corrupt leaders benefit from the high duty imposed on the cars, why charge high duty rates of an essential product which is not even locally produced and this is when they get lid of their old cars for free or at very low prices which then became affordable to the few malawians who either work hard in business or are corrupt or simply save money for a long… Read more »
Ineyo Khunga
Guest

Malawian so-called-columnists or journalists either have hate or are just ignorant of issues. Apa kodi mukuti chani?

Jarman
Guest

If these pipo will try to rig votes in 2019. There ll b blood shade until these pipo go.pipo are suffering and tired of these thieves.they dont have remorse.wher are they gonna eat that money.ther over 70 yrs.no children.shame

Zagwa
Guest

Federalism is the way to go. These people are thieves and now they are insulting

haward.maloni@yahoo.com
Guest

You are saying the truth bro and rigging in 2019 kudzakhala chipwirikiti here in Malawi tread carefully you Dpp thugs

Hatton
Guest
The problem that we have in this country is that everyone wants to comment on subjects they have little or no knowledge at all. Madam Khunga, the fact that vehicles take long to sell at Chichiri trade fair, does not mean that they have not been imported. Madam Suzgo need to know that the issue under discussion was import cover levels; from the traditional 3 months cover to the current five and half months import cover. When an assertion to turn Malawi into a producing and exporting country was made, that did not mean producing vehicles; only a person with… Read more »
Martin
Guest

You are a big fool and impaired yourself. what is it that Malawi is producing if you are importing apples, oranges, cheap useless soft drinks, eggs etc? You are eve importing blankets from South Africa which are manufactured in China, does it make any sense to you fool?

Ineyo
Guest

What are you doing yourself Martin, do you want the president to come and produce for you? Do something yourself then you will see that it will work, start manufacturing vehicles

Banda Rodgers
Guest

Iyeyo, dont be lame in your head. Creating farms for oranges , apples,etc….needs govt effort under ministry of agriculture…not an individual poor person. If the govt can have these farms jobs can be created and more local products can be produced. Not importing… Weigh facts my dear, dont just babble. Even yourself cant open such farms it is only the govt that can afford this…

Pathological liar
Guest

Peter Muthalika is just another ‘accidental president’ as was Joyce Banda. Never dreamt of becoming head of state for this great nation. Thats why this country has no clear vision & direction.

Thats why he is leading the most corrupt & nepotistic regime. Running the affairs of the state as Wandale’s united states of Thyolo & Mulanje.

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