MCP MP Menyani hits at austerity talk: ‘Malawians are facing hardships as leaders lead lavish lifestyle’

Member of Parliament for Dedza Northwest (MCP), Alekeni Wodala Menyani has told Parliament that President Joyce Banda’s State of the Nation address did not chronicle the brutal harships Malawians are going through, saying austerity measures being touted by government is lip service which has to be left out of podium politics. 

Making his contribution to the address in Parliament, The youthful MCP lawmaker pointed most Malawians are surviving on Mgayiwa  and Bonya – a  small fish which is  cheap besides its easy availability in almost every market across the country.

He said Bonya  “has been substituted by Bwanoni, compliments of the season”.  Bwanoni (seasonal grasshoppers), is a delicacy commonly found in cool months of the year.

“I would want to believe that if the majority of the people are eating that way, that is already worse than any austerity measure that a government or a leadership would ask about.

Menyani: What austerity when government officials are on wastefulness and lavish lifestyle while people face brutal hardships
Menyani: What austerity when government officials are on wastefulness and lavish lifestyle while people face brutal hardships

“ As a nation, Malawians out there are waiting for the Executive, the Honourable Gentlemen and Ladies, especially in front of the other side of the House, to also embrace the same, because once they sing the austerity song to us, they would want to lavish themselves and that is why the austerity song is not carried into the heads of the people,” said Menyani who has been a youth activist before joining politics.

“Malawi as a country, we are told, is on the road to transformation.  I am not sure whether we are on the road to transformation or from transformation, whichever way we are going, as a patriotic Malawian I will not run away.  Mr. Speaker, Sir, the truth remains that as a whole nation, we are eating from hand to mouth,” he said.

Menyani said in his constituency,  T.A. Chilikumwendo and Inkosi Kachere areas, tey have had  to harvest semi-dry maize, which in the local language is simply referred  to as Chitibu.

“When people start to eat Chitibu, Mr. Speaker, Sir, those are desperate measures caused by desperate time and this is exactly what I thought the State-of-the-Nation Address was going to reflect on and point at the strategies that the various ministries have put in place for our survival.

“We eat this Chitibu for the next three months and by July, we will be going about in Mozambique kumakasuma waiting for the next growing season.”

He also said government is distributing maize and maize flour  “to the same areas, on one side of the country and they ought to soul-search and reflect whether this is the right way for this country to go. “

Menyani also commented on much touted social cash transfer , saying it is a very important initiative.

However, he noted that “ it would be over-generalisation for this House to start to suggest that the nation will rely on it as a cushion to devaluation.  “

He said: “We need to find ways of creating means for ordinary Malawians to rely on themselves at least for food.  They can rely on government for other issues, but when you go around distributing ufa, [maize] and stuff like that, you also take away the spirit of a person wanting to stand on their two feet and hold their family to survival.”

“Mr. Speaker, Sir, in this country as I speak, there is a cash poverty crisis.  There is no money to buy essential services with, and the little money that any person will get whether after selling soya at Kabwazi Market or green beans at Mitundu, has lost its buying power.

“ I know that this obviously is an election year and that politicians on both sides of the House are bound to make speeches that are politically correct aimed at canvassing votes, however, Malawians are out there, glued to their radios, those that can read, reading newspapers, and they will make a final decision at some point,” he said.

“I am very much aware of the saying that every country gets the leaders it deserves.  This is exactly the soul searching that is taking place out there, in the societies of this country. The question is whether this is the government we deserve as Malawians,” said Menyani.

The MCP lawmaker said he expected the State-of the-Nation Address to look at the issues concerning the desperation the nation is at.

“As a nation, we are running a substandard health sector, a non-responsive and somehow, a pathetic education sector.  We also have a non-existent public transportation system,” Menynai pointed out.

“As a nation, we have a dilapidated road infrastructure.  These are the issues that should have been reflected on and we should have been told how the government intends to take us forward in repairing the nation on the road to transformation.

“All this situation, as I have pointed out,  Mr Speaker, is sadly a reflection of the kind of  leadership we have, which is guided by the honourable gentlemen and women on the other side of the House,” he said, stunning the government benches.

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