Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera, who is also leader of opposition in parliament, used the State of the Nation Address (SONA) response as a platform to outline his party’s plans for the country should the MCP govern after next year’s elections.
Chakwera in more militant tone told Parliament that his detractors, who accuse him of merely criticising government without giving it solutions, should know such solutions and suggestions are in all his speeches in the House, adding that the government is too arrogant to adopt any of them.
“We are not in this mess because of a lack of good ideas or alternatives, but because of the DPP’s lack of political will to use any of the alternative ideas,” he said.
Chakwera outlined an alternative vision for Malawi.
“So now I am determined to partner with young Malawians in pursuing the alternative vision I have for the country, since the DPP is too infected to make a healthy partner for development, as a certain political party has found out. But Mr. Speaker, Sir, this alternative vision is not one I created or manufactured alone, but one that young Malawians themselves have helped curate and entrusted to my care as I have interacted with them across the country, from the tea estates of Mulanje and Thyolo to the plateaus of Rumphi and Karonga.
“ It is an alternative vision for Malawi that I have heard young Malawians in Nsanje and Chikwawa describe as they have narrated their suffering to me after failing to secure a job at the only company in their communities. It is an alternative vision for Malawi that young Malawians in Rumphi, Mzimba, and Nkhata-Bay have etched on my heart as they described the pain of failing to afford or qualify for University after passing MSCE exams with flying colours. It is an alternative vision for Malawi that young Malawians in Machinga, Mangochi, Zomba, Ntcheu, and Balaka have fuelled in me as they have told me their frustrations with unemployment and their struggle to start or grow a business in a country where the DPP government has allowed market terms and conditions to be dictated by foreigners,” said Chakwera in his American accent.
Chakwera said he would pursue his vision as a servant-leader and provide change of direction for a “new Malawi to be enjoyed by everyone”.
“That is what our people want, and that is what we promise to deliver if trusted to govern,” he said.
He called for the country to look to a better future under an MCP government.
“ A New Malawi Enjoyed by Everyone will be a country with economic opportunities for all. We will invest in infrastructure critical to economic activity. I am talking about guaranteeing electricity for industry throughout the day and creating a Solar Energy National Subsidy Effort (SENSE) to make electricity accessible to homes even off the grid. I am talking about making our cities attractive for investment by making dirt-roads in our cities a thing of the past. I am talking about implementing irrigation schemes and employing irrigation technologies to make our farms productive in and out of season.
“I am talking about scaling up import substitution opportunities in order to improve the country’s trade balance and overall current account status. I am talking about adopting an aggressive policy that promotes the production of exportable commodities. I am talking about expanding the infant agro-industrial manufacturing even if it means initially substituting the imported food commodities which the country can produce for itself. I am talking about giving private sector businesses tax breaks for giving young people under the age of 30 part-time jobs, so that more young people have a chance to start earning an income.”
Rubbishing Mutharika’s address, Chakwera said it was sad to note that the only thing the President had to offer young people was the construction of more stadiums, probably with borrowed money.
“The irony is that when the President was a young man, he was given opportunities to study, to work, to build a career, and to build an income, and yet as an older man, he is offering young people nothing more than stadiums that remain empty most of the year and cost millions to maintain and manage,” he said.
Chakwera said his administration on ‘ A New Malawi Enjoyed by Everyone’ will be a country with basic services for all.
“ Here, I am talking about access to education, health, water, and sanitation. No Malawian citizen should sleep on the floor in a hospital, or spend a whole day in the hospital without being seen by a doctor, or be sent to a private pharmacy to buy medicines that have been stolen from public hospital, or end up in the hospital because the Government made them drink sewage water,” he said.
He said his administration would embrace good governance where institutions will be measured by a credit score, mobilise financial resources needed to carry out the key investments in infrastructure and services and spend public resources judiciously on the key priorities, among others.
“We will subject all governance institutions to be measured by a CREDIT score. This will be a public service performance evaluation system that will annually scrutinize every government department to see if it is Corruption-free, Responsive, Enthusiastic, Disciplined, Innovative, and Timely. I am talking about functional government systems that work for all our people, not dysfunctional government systems that our people are forced to work around. I am talking about designing and implementing key policy reforms in various areas and sectors, enforcing policies, rules, laws, regulations, and procedures that are currently gathering dust on government shelves. I am talking about going through the whole government sector by sector to remove every element that is a product of nepotism and tribalism practiced at the expense of capacity and results,” he said.
Chakwera promised to build a lean, efficient state tasked with creating opportunities for people, instead of the bloated, corrupt state that is only dragging Malawi backwards.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :