Ntata’s ‘Uncommon Sense’: Kenani for President in Malawi?

Section 12 (1c) of Malawi’s Constitution lays down the fundamental principle on which the constitution was founded. It states that ‘the authority to exercise power of State is conditional upon the sustained trust of the people of Malawi and that trust can only be maintained through open, accountable and transparent Government and informed democratic choice’.

Kenani: Malawians are happily channelling the little they have to The Onjezani Kenani initiative.

As the country celebrates the first anniversary of the landmark Constitutional Court ruling pronounced on 3 February 2019 that nullified the presidential elections held on 20 May 2019; it is becoming more and more disconcerting that President Chakwera – the ultimate beneficiary of the ruling – seems to have already lost the trust placed in him by Malawians.

I know that this assertion, given Section 12 (1c), is not to be made lightly, hence I need to back it up and back it up I will.

In the fresh election that followed the historic Constitutional Court ruling, 58 per cent of the voters trusted President Chakwera and his so-called Tonse Alliance to run government affairs and transform Malawi.

The problem now is that walking the talk is proving to be Dr Chakwera’s Achilles Heel. His administration’s commitment to good governance and accountability which Malawians expected to include a bare-knuckle fight against corruption, nepotism and other such undesirable isms, seems half-hearted if not non-existent.

Months and months after taking over, there are no signs that lack of accountability, waste of resources and corrupt practices will be a thing of the past.

The ongoing fight against the Covid-19 pandemic offers a good case study in this regard.

A few weeks ago, despite a reported injection of 6.2 billion Kwacha to fight Covid-19, Malawians woke up to SOS calls from desperate Malawians in hospitals.

The cries of ‘Save our Souls’ were all about hospitalised Malawian from all walks of life, begging for life-saving medicines and equipment.

Many have since succumbed to Covid19 and related ailments. May their souls rest in eternal peace.

What happened?

Appeals from both patients and the general public to the government for urgent action went unheeded. Zero urgency was demonstrated by the government.

The most heartrending SOS was from the late Dr Paul Msoma on 13 January, four months after the 6.2 billion Kwacha was reportedly released.

His appeal;

“SOS! In Hospital, diagnosed Covid positive. The hospital staff are so wonderful, and l can see the pain in their eyes. Yes, they have oxygen cylinders, but in my case, they can’t connect me to the much-needed oxygen because the whole KCH has no Oxygen flowmeter. My situation is getting worse, and l desperately need oxygen. Anyone who can urgently help out there please, please help by donating this very gadget”.

Noting the inaction despite the urgency, private citizens and ordinary Malawians led by Onjezani Kenani (who is not even based in Malawi) initiated a private contributions fund to buy the supplies and equipment that patients were frantically requesting from their sickbeds in Intensive Care Units.

In an unprecedented demonstration of goodwill, one by one, individuals and organisations, local and in Diaspora, have been contributing to the effort.

The most impressive thing about this initiative is that every tambala donated is accounted for. On a day-to-day basis. With no excuses.

When the government finally woke up from its slumber, President Chakwera reported that 6.2 billion Kwacha was already being spent and that some funds had been used as follows:

  • K60 million had been spent on planning meetings;

  • K535 facilitating the return of Malawians from South Africa;

  • K185 million on public awareness on media platforms;

  • K580 million on border patrols;

  • K72 million to support victims of gender-based violence during the pandemic with materials and cash transfers;

  • K100 million to disinfect schools;

  • K50 million to monitor and enforce COVID-19 protocols in the workplace; and

  • K50 million on mapping where to put isolation centres.

The expenditure reported by President Chakwera begs a lot of questions.

What kind of “planning” needs expenditure of 60 million Kwacha?

  • Are we planning to send a crew to the moon?

185 million Kwacha for public awareness when we already have information dissemination structures all over the country, on the ground, in print, air and social media.

  • Is Chakwera’s government trying to establish an organisation to rival Facebook or what?

As for the 585 million Kwacha reportedly used to repatriate Malawians, the alleged beneficiaries are vehemently denying receiving government assistance that would justify the expenditure of such a colossal sum of money.

If anything, they claim to have paid for their transportation!

  • The question therefore is: where did the MK585 million go?

Without a detailed expenditure report, no one in their right minds believes the president’s statement.

Moreover, when contacted by Idriss Ali Nassa for a detailed report on the expenditure of the 6.2 billion Kwacha, the Department for Disaster Management (DODMA), which is in the Office of President and Cabinet (OPC) reportedly said they couldn’t release a detailed report before an audit is done!

Yet, the same department dared to use Chakwera’s rhetoric skills to launder its dubious expenditure report!

Incredible!

The bottom line is obvious. Onjezani Kenani and the citizens’ initiative is transparent and accountable and hence more trustworthy than the government.

Any investigation can prove this as a fact.

Although the government has tried to ask donors for financial support dealing with the pandemic;  Malawians are almost unanimously refusing to trust the government with any money and are happily channelling the little they have to The Onjezani Kenani initiative.

There is no way to sugarcoat this: this is an alarming indictment of the Chakwera administration. It is an unambiguous charge that Chakwera and his administration have lost the confidence of those that voted it into power.

Of utmost concern is that this is not surprising because the government’s appeal for financial donations comes after people have requested for a detailed accountability report of the MK6.2 billion, which the government – through DODMA – is failing to honour.

Let me make my viewpoint clear. I know Covid19 is a global pandemic. I am also aware that no government in the world has found managing this pandemic a walk in the park. The UK, the US and even Germany are all struggling.

Having said that, President Chakwera ought to meditate on Collin Powell’s advice that “Leadership is solving problems and the day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them.”

In our case, Malawians are taking their problems to Onjezani Kenani.

Now tell me, who is governing Malawi?

Is it Chakwera or Kenani?

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Mswachi
Mswachi
5 months ago

This is a trap Mr. Kenani, please don’t fall for this! I know Kenani is a sensible man and is beyond this type of praise singing. Of course his initiative is brilliant worth emulating!

Nyadani wa Nyadani
Nyadani wa Nyadani
5 months ago

Are we trying to praise Kenani here and demeaning others? If i may ask: Which Companies is Kenani giving the money and supplying the items? Did he follow all procurement procedures or he is also giving business his accomplices? Did the Companies compete to Kenani or who? When did he invited for adverts and thru which medium? These are the questions that we have to answer when praising him. He is doing quite agood job but we shudnt give him unnecessary praise as he might also jumped some procedural issues which are also a problem to DODMA team. Govt has… Read more »

Spokes
Spokes
5 months ago

The amount of money he has collected has been well spent and that is what matters. Kaya he used friends etc. There’s a pandemic and we are seeing his contribution not the missing 6.2 billion

braveheart
5 months ago

M’busa is the best. Don’t cry you were one of them supporting the obvious failure. Enjoy! Ever heard the word ‘The best or Nothing’? M’busa and his wagon were/are the best Malawi could ever had to rule. Enjoy the ride.It is stupid to me to get surprised with this garbage when it was obvious this is what could follow. You mean u didn’t see this coming?

#ThisistheGovernmentofthepeople
#ThisistheGovernmentofthepeople
5 months ago

This is the usual Malawian way of writing a piece and find a willing publisher to publish it. I have to say this that the best writers are those that objectively write opinion piece. I do not see that here. While some of your assertions are true, your tone of writing is still the same as when you used to tear down Peter Mutharika for the sole reason that after a little sojourn in the UK you come back with the mighty DPP triumphant in 2014, The new president did not take you in. Your writing is out of frustration… Read more »

Zio ine
Zio ine
5 months ago

Ntata you praised these certified thieves. They are all over stealing. They have formed cartels and syndicates just to steal. State house is full of Chakweras and his wife relatives and they are busy stealing. Nkaka and Chimwendo Banda are all over stealing and boasting that this stupid reverend would be nothing without them. Thus stupid reverend said he will reshuffle cabinet after six months but nothing. Chakwera is not only sleepy but useless.

Vilhomwe Ndivimbuli
5 months ago

His family and cousins will vote for him

John Phiri
John Phiri
5 months ago

I do not agree to this line of thought. The fact that Kenani is good at mobilising resources does not mean he can make a good president. I know of secondary school teachers who were prolific mentors. They were rewarded by the Ministry of Education to administrative positions at higher grades at the ministry or regions. It was disastrous. I could have mentioned their names but for obvious reasons I will not. The best decision was to reward those teachers there where they were the best. Similarly, let us reward Kenani where he is. Next time he might mobilise international… Read more »

Marumbo
5 months ago

Universities are busy offering online classes. But how sure are universities and the Ministry of Education that every student has an internet gadget, electrified home and internet data? My daughter requires K2000 per day for data alone. This is K12000 a week and K48000 a month for data alone. How many students can afford this? Are universities checking whether all students are affording online classes? To me, I feel that the plight of the poor is not being considered. Amabungwe mukutinji pachipsinjo chamaphunziro a online chi?

Mwitere
5 months ago
Reply to  Marumbo

This translates to K144,000.00 per term of three months for internet data only. How are poor students copping up with this? And the issue of poor internet connectivity in Malawi, how are students copping up with this? And Dedza has stayed 3 weeks without electricity, how are online students in Dedza etc copping up with this? Why does the ministry of education pretend as if everything is fine with online classes?

Clara
Clara
5 months ago

Ntata! Only if you continue to present issues objectively as you have done here,,,you will win trust of all Malawians. Chakwera was a better man at a better place (church). Taking this direction was not well calculated & sought for. Let’s just pray for him before his miserable exit

#ThisistheGovernmentofthepeople
#ThisistheGovernmentofthepeople
5 months ago
Reply to  Clara

Man, you don’t know what objectivity is. Get on with life. What is objective is this piece, just full of ranting.

mtete
mtete
5 months ago

Please be serious. Kenani may be an expert in his field but definitely not presidential material. Your article, Mr Ntata, is good in as far as entertainment is concerned.

Kasambala Banda
Kasambala Banda
5 months ago
Reply to  mtete

Is Chakwera a political expert? chilipo chanzeru chomwe mungaloze kumtundu wa a malawi chomwe wapangapo?

Kagwa
Kagwa
5 months ago
Reply to  mtete

Of course Mtata’s conclusion on Kenani and Chakwera is very poor. He could not have linked Kenani’s excellent mobilisation & use of Covid funds as a whole standard qualifying him to presidency. But what you are saying that Kenani’s field does not make him an expert in presidential affairs begs a lot of questions. For instance, which field qualifies a person to be an expert in presidential matters?

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