Malawi government has trashed leader of opposition in Parliament Rev Dr Lazarus Chakwera for describing President Peter Mutharika as a hypocrite and that his government is trying to divert the attention of Malawians from real issues, saying the opposition chief should not claim to stand on a higher moral ground as a self-righteous leader.
Chakwera told a news conference in the capital Lilongwe on Monday that Mutharika government is run by “distractions and deceptions, not leadership.”
But Minister of Information, Tourism and Culture Kondwani Nankhumwa on Tuesday rejected the hypocrite accusations levelled at the President, saying “like a Pharisee of now” Chakwera would obviously have loved to see Mutharika and his administration wear sack cloths and flagellate themselves to demonstrate that they care.
“Lest the leader of the opposition continues to find comfort in self-delusion, the President wishes to assure him that he knows the suffering of the people of Malawi and, therefore, he will not be persuaded to attend to the pointless need of resorting to grand theatrical gestures or actions or pronouncements. The people of Malawi want action, not speeches,” Nankhumwa said in a statement emailed to Nyasa Times.
The strong worded statement said as far as President Mutharika and his government are concerned, “there will be no empty theatrical gestures or actions or pronouncements, no prancing on the stage and no flagellation, but we will simply continue to act against the suffering of our people, as decisively as we have sought and resolved to, without being seduced to do otherwise by holier than thou sentiments of those that are obsessed with the desperation of seeking cheap political capital from the sanctuaries where the untried and the untested hide, who because they are in the safety of not being in office, and who by possessing the advantage of not being on the stage of public scrutiny, pretend to be present day Messiahs with all the answers.”
Nankhuwa said President Mutharika knows that the leader of the opposition is “an eloquent spectator who loves to speak from the exaggerated comfort of knowledge and saintly pretence.”
The government spokesman said the leader of the opposition, like many politicians and critics, “need to throw off the cloak of self-imposed superiority that seeks to pretend that simply for being on the other side they possess the exclusive rights to the privilege of knowing it all.”
He said government will always refuse to accept “t he cloak of imposed inferiority that seeks to have us define ourselves as unequal to deep challenges that the country is facing.”
Nankhumwa pointed out that Chakwera knows that at the time President Mutharika came into office some six months ago, the economy was “already rolling down the cliff.”
He stated: “ The social sectors were haemorrhaging at rates that were not only alarming but unprecedented. The development partners decided to suspend their participation in direct budgetary financing by reason of Cash gate. The President inherited a country that was almost on a life support.”
Nankhumwa said Mutharika started working on economic rebuilding by sizing down the Cabinet, stopped the craze of everyday presidential travel, made sure that the age-old euphoria of public servants being present at every presidential or public function got restricted to only those to whom the event was relevant, and constituted the Public Service Reform Commission to provide strategic leadership in the implementation of Public Service Reforms in a bid to improve service delivery in Malawi.
“If the leader of the opposition cannot see that these actions were taken at the instructions of the President’s own knowledge of people’s suffering and the desire to do everything possible to make sure answers are found to their problems, it confirms the public worry that the opposition is teetering under the weight of leadership bankruptcy, the kind that may be out to set new records about its lack of substance,” reads the statement.
Responding to some of Chakwera’s accusations, Nankhumwa explained that the President has left the criminal system to independently deal with the Cashgate corruption cases.
He pointed out that President Mutharika has beefed up the capacities of oversight and accountability institution by appointing new leadership and increasing budgetary allocations to them. More resources have been made available to upgrade and tighten the financial management systems. At the same time, resources have been identified to conduct further audit in the civil service exercise dating back to 2005.
“If these efforts by the President are nothing more than an exponent of naivety on his part, what would the leader of the opposition have done differently?”
The Minister of Information conceded that the cost of living has gone up, while their disposable incomes have stagnated but said Chakwera must not become “cheer leader of bad news.”
Nankhumwa said Chakwera as “ a man of God, he should be joining hands with government in explaining to the public that decent pay can only be met by the availability of resources.”
Chakwera accused Mutharika of taking a “blind eye” of are so many critical issues facing Malawians.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :