Op-ed: Nankhumwa showed leadership maturity against President Chakwera’s fury at HEQs

The popular narrative currently circulating on the social and even mainstream media is that President Lazarus Chakwera ‘roasted’ Leader of Opposition Kondwani Nankhumwa during His Excellency’s Question time (HEQs)  style-session in Parliament on Thursday, September 11, 2020.

Leader of Opposition Kondwani Nankhumwa poses a Question to President Lazarus Chakwera in Parliament-pic by Lisa Kadango

The reason propagators of this narrative are forwarding  is that despite the fact that President Chakwera took time to respond to Nankhumwa’s ‘response’ of his SONA,   the Leader of Opposition took  an  easy approach and  chose not to  ask  some ‘tough’  questions as people expected.

But wait a minute. President Chakwera was fulfilling a constitutional obligation to appear in Parliament to ‘respond’ to questions from MPs on obviously pertinent issues affecting our country. Instead, the President chose to spend almost over half of his allotted time responding to the response of Leader of Opposition to his SONA sentence by sentence.  Why?

There should have been a reason why President Chakwera decided to use his first time in Parliament as President of this country almost wholly responding to Nankhumwa. The immediate answer is that he found the response by Leader of Opposition to his SONA as capable of denting his image and even curtailing his honeymoon as a President.

It meant there was enough substance in Nankhumwa’s response worth responding to. He would have chosen the option of ignoring Nankhumwa if his response was of no consequence. He did not because that was simply not an option.

Chakwera’s response 

A SONA is not just a regular statement; it is a powerful tradition across many democratic countries in the world where Presidents are given an opportunity to articulate their vision for development.  President Chakwera’s vision, therefore, could not have been ably articulated without drawing from politics; it was a political statement.

In his response, Leader of Opposition Nankhumwa drew President Chakwera to the fact that his SONA skirted around  main Tonse Alliance campaign promises such as free water and electricity connection; three meals a day; 1 million jobs in the first 12 months; tax free week, cheap fertilizer for all, cheap and non-renewable driving licences and passports, among others  whilst  at the same time  focusing on  an obscure  Hi-5 agenda. This was a very legitimate observation from the Leader of Opposition Nankhumwa.

President Chakwera’s response to Nankhumwa’s ‘response’ did little to help matters. Instead of  dissuading the narrative that his SONA avoided  the main campaign promises  for  Tonse  Alliance, Chakwera focused on attacking Nankhumwa on mundane things  such  as  sentence construction and facts on why Kamuzu  is not the ‘Father  and Founder of MCP’, which, to say  the least,  is a useless undertaking considering that he should have optimized his time in the Chamber.

This approach also only fueled accusations that President Chakwera and his team are only interested in flowery English language with very little on substance.

Meanwhile, the narrative that he avoided main Tonse Alliance campaign promises still stands.

Just a recap, the Tonse Alliance comprises nine political parties with MCP and UTM being the main ones.  The Malawi Congress Party has a Hi-5 agenda whilst UTM promoted concepts like three meals a day; 1 million jobs in the first 12 months; free electricity and water connection, among others. The alliance promoted some kind of amalgamation of these campaign themes, and for Chakwera to present a SONA with only an MCP agenda with truncated UTM promises, eyebrows had to be raised.

Some can argue that it was no business for Nankhumwa to point this out but who is better-placed to do that at this very early stage?

Perhaps Nankhumwa could have done better in the phrasing of his question. He should have asked Chakwera whether it is still relevant to call his government an MCP government or a Tonse Alliance government. This may look like a small question now but it is only just a matter of time before Malawians will be forced to revert to it.

Whereas President Chakwera came to Parliament with guns blazing and fully prepared to ‘demolish’ the Leader of House, Nankhumwa deflated a visibly angry President with a master stroke. He advised the President to “take it easy”.

All in all, the Leader of Opposition Nankhumwa showed leadership maturity; his strength is in his calm and collective approach to issues. President Chakwera displayed the same anger and restlessness he used to display when he was Leader of Opposition a few months ago. He must improve.

  • Ian Songazaudzu Mandala is a Lilongwe-based social and political commentator. His views are not necessarily the views of Nyasa Times

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Concerned Malawian
Concerned Malawian
12 days ago

Good observation. From a neutral your analysis makes utmost sense. Hope many colleagues in the Tonse Alliance will start to learn to help the president with such observations than rushing to hand clapping. Many a times our leaders speak a lot but say nothing.

Marumbo
13 days ago

Nankhumwa’s SONA was the best so far. And Chakwera has already appeared in parliament to respond to Nankhumwa’s SONA. Actually Chakwera addressed Nankhumwa more than 20 times in his response to the SONA. Well done Nankhumwa for your perfect SONA. This leader of opposition Chakwera is yet to learn many things.

Chilungamo
Chilungamo
13 days ago

True. This very good of Nankhumwa. Keep it up.

The Apostle
The Apostle
13 days ago

Ayi Chabwino, a Ian Mandala inu nde odziwa kuposa anthu onse anawona session pu parliament.

Do these people get paint to write such easily demonstrable false versions?! Chonsecho, we all saw the same thing. BWAHAHAHAHAHA!

Medson
Medson
13 days ago

Kkkkkk nyenkhwe Tonse government

Mulumuzana
Mulumuzana
13 days ago

Kkkkkk Ian is an amateur in did. Nankhumwa failed to do his job well. Even look at the quality of his supplementary questions. He asked about the fate of individual MEC commissioners. Wasn’t there no things attaching to Malawians worthy asking. He asked about whether the government is the Tonse or MCP. Do you think Malawians choose Chakwera to preach about Tonse or MCP?. NO, Malawians choose him because we need to see a better way of doing things that will help our nation change for the better politically, economically, socially and in almost all spheres of life. Yet Nankhumwa… Read more »

Me you
Me you
13 days ago
Reply to  Mulumuzana

You chose Chakwera to lead you. You didn’t vote for the opposition. You should be more concerned with the failures by the one you voted for and not the one you voted out.

Leone Trotsky
Leone Trotsky
13 days ago
Reply to  Me you

That’s a bitter fact…
The opposition may not just be smiling at lack of progress and commitment by the ruling govt…
It’s their duty to speak out for the best direction of our country

Too Fat
Too Fat
14 days ago

We do not send our MPs to Parliament to “take it easy” as Nankhumba asked the President. We send you fools to parliament to represent us and this is serious business. You just don’t go there to get allowances, you are our servants, we send you there to work and not take naps

Leone Trotsky
Leone Trotsky
13 days ago
Reply to  Too Fat

Well so you send mps to go and spend time kumangolalata on offpoint staff…
Mps must be in parliament…
With calmness but greater levels of substantiality…⚡. Thumbs up to Nankhumwa♥️

Phiri
Phiri
14 days ago

Nankhumwa showed maturity? Maturity must mean differently to other people. There was no maturity on the part of Nankhumwa, on the contrary! Nankhumwa should also check his facts before opening his mouth! The author is obviously an amateur and his analysis is full of void.

John Gray Gufa
John Gray Gufa
13 days ago
Reply to  Phiri

Lemba yako ndi chizungu chosamvekacho

Tati
Tati
13 days ago
Reply to  Phiri

Maturity and facts are two different things, so, if his fact were not good, fine but he showed maturity during Chakwera’s outbursts

Chilungamo Chafika
Chilungamo Chafika
13 days ago
Reply to  Phiri

Indeed maturity to others shows utter stupidity like shown by LoO. I agree that position needs mature people not like sitting babies like current LoO

Nkhombokombo
Nkhombokombo
14 days ago

The scriber of this article has been a bit myopic in his analysis. People are not taking sides at this particular moment in time but rather weighing the facts. Looking at the current situation and period in time, all that was promised could not be achieved in such a short time. Give the new administration some time to set the ball rolling. The wise shall be judged after a year or so!!!

Rodrick Phiri
Rodrick Phiri
13 days ago
Reply to  Nkhombokombo

But The president has more than 1,460 days in office. Judging him Now would be like enrolling a child to school before He is born. Let’s assess him and make judgement as The his term approaches completion

Marumbo
14 days ago

Hahahaha Chakwera must know that his honeymoon is over. Soon he shall be in office for over 100 days and we shall weigh him accordingly….not by his parrot words but by his deeds. But for starters, Chakwera has been schooled by Nankhumwa that his Hi5 rhetoric is empty with nothing deliverable. It is indeed a hard punch to abusa and wazelezeka nayo bagera kkk.

Chisoni
Chisoni
13 days ago
Reply to  Marumbo

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
OK CHABWINO

LOLOLO


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