Malawi Congress Party (MCP) second deputy president, Harry Mkandawire, has drawn public anger and criticism for suggesting that Malawi Enterprise Development Fund (MEDF) will give priority to MCP supporters when disbursing loans.
Mkandawire is on record telling MCP supporters in Karonga that they will be the first beneficiaries of the Fund as President Lazarus Chakwera is now running and managing state affairs.
But his remarks have not gone down well with governance and human rights activists and some well-meaning MCP supporters, who are now exerting pressure on Chakwera, who is also MCP president, to denounce Mkandawire’s seemingly discriminatory sentiments about the loan.
The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI), in a statement issued on Sunday, is challenging Chakwera to publicly distance himself from the retrogressive and highly insensitive remarks Mkandawire made.
“CDEDI has learnt with shock about Mkandawire’s remarks were captured in an audio, which has now gone viral on social media, repeating the very same mistakes made by the previous government which is in sharp contrast to what the Tonse Alliance promised Malawians. Mkandawire made highly insensitive and derogatory remarks to the Vice President Dr. Saulosi Chilima,” says Namiwa.
In his unwarranted political overzealousness, Mkandawire is heard giving instructions to prioritise members of the MCP when government starts giving out the MEDEF loans because they belong to the ruling party.
Namiwa has described Mkandawire’s remarks as highly insensitive and derogatory to the State Vice President Dr. Saulosi Chilima as Mkandawire is heard in an audio clip lambasting Chilima, arguing the powers of the Vice Presdient are not equal to those of the President, and that he should not be acting as if he is the President of this country.
“Ironically, Mkandawire’s remarks are coming barely a day after President Chakwera smartly avoided to committ to Malawians in his inaugural State of the Nation Address (SoNA), a roadmap on how he would work with the National Assembly to ensure that he empowers the office of the Vice President, as per the promise made by the Tonse Alliance partners.
“ It is against this background that CDEDI and indeed all patriotic Malawians are looking forward to hearing from President Chakwera on the steps he is going to take in empowering the Veep’s office. Given the lukewarm approach he has taken to honour his promise, it is not surprising therefore, to hear some MCP party loyalists discrediting the Vice President, barely three months after the two were ushered into the high office,” he says in the statement.
Just to refresh the voters’ memories, President Chakwera in his capacity as the Tonse Alliance torch bearer accused his predecessor Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika for underutilizing Chilima and disrespecting the constitutional office, that of the Vice Presidency.
Instead of walking the talk, President Chakwera has all of a sudden developed cold feet on his promise, and has been overtaken by his party zealots who are now fighting the office of the Vice President.
“Of late, we have also witnessed verbal attacks between supporters of the MCP and the UTM on social media, a development which can be construed as an indicator that all is not well among the Tonse Alliance partners, specifically the UTM and the MCP.
“We have also recently witnessed a scramble for Members of Parliament (MPs) between the MCP and the UTM who are enticing independent MPs and those from other political parties such as the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to join either the UTM or the MCP, a situation which is very worrisome, because the UTM and the MCP are already in bed in the Tonse Alliance administration. One would wonder, therefore, as to what this scramble of MPs is all about! One thing we can be sure of, is that something big is cooking between the MCP and the UTM, and it smells bad for the peace-loving Malawians! This ticking bomb has finally been confirmed by Mr. Mkandawire’s unfortunate remarks.”
Namwia said his organisation does not only find MMkandawire’s thinking as retrogressive, but also very careless considering that not long-ago government sent on forced leave the MEDF senior management team for purportedly politicizing the loan disbursement process.
“ This begs the question as to how different is this action compared to the new ‘police directive’ by the MCP Vice President for the north?” continues Namiwa in the statement.
He further cautioned Mkandawire and Chakwera to desist from taking Malawians for granted, arguing people did not vote for MCP alone in the court-sanctioned fresh presidential election on June 23, 2020, but the Tonse Alliance, which is a coalition of nine political parties.
“It is therefore not wise for any of the leaders for the nine political parties to take to the political podium to claim victory in the June 23 Fresh Presidential Elections (FPE) as a ruling party. This far, CDEDI is advising President Chakwera that he should remember that the Tonse Alliance partners promised a new Malawi for all, and that there is no way they would break their campaign promises willy nilly at the watch of all Malawians!
Namiwa has since asked Chakwera to discipline the overzealous Mkandawire as proof that he is not party to this scheme to frustrate the Vice Presidency.
On the other hand, the Chancellor College-based political analyst, Ernest Thindwa, said the remarks have the potential to bring divisions in the Tonse Alliance.
Thindwa said he finds Mkandawire’s remarks as demeaning the Office of the State Vice President; and, eventually defeating the much-touted Tonse Alliance philosophy.
But MCP spokesperson, Reverend Maurice Munthali, has downplayed the criticisms; justifying that the remarks have only come as parties prepare for by-elections in Karonga Central Constituency.
But Kelvin Thawale, an MCP diehard follower, has condemned Mkandawire for the remarks, stressing they do not augur well with the Tonse philosophy.
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