President Peter Mutharika is leading a broken country with gloomy citizens due to economic turmoil that is punctuated by motal collapse such as state-institutionalised corruption, Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarous Chakwera has insisted in his new year message.
Chakwera rapped a larger wave of greed and criminality in the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government, saying2016 has been a year of corruption scandals.
“The perpetrators and masterminds of the 577 billion kwacha Cashgate scandal are still roaming free and conducting business as usual on behalf of Malawians with no mandate to do so.
“The allegations of links between members of Mutharika’s cabinet and the mismanagement of 277 billion kwacha remains uninvestigated and the ministers in question continue to spend our taxes,” Chakwera said in his message.
Making a populist pitch, he said 177 tractors and 144 maize shellers intended for farmers were sold illegally to government officials at a give-away price, but the investigations into the scandal have been blocked by government.
“Investigations into a 4 billion kwacha procurement scandal at ESCOM are making no progress, as are dubious transactions at Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA), National Roads Authority, and Malawi Electoral Commission.
“This month alone, the Government has been implicated in the abuse of funds at the Mzuzu City Council, and most egregiously, in the 25 billion kwacha irregular purchase of overpriced Zambian maize for hunger relief, which could have been bought locally at 80% less and which is now being sold by ADMARC at a price poor Malawians cannot afford.
In effect, Government is now in the business of creating hunger. And these are just the corruption scandals we know about, aside from the ones dating back to the UDF administration and which our courts have failed to conclude for more than a decade, and aside from the corruption scandals currently being hidden from you Malawians,” said Chakwera.
He bemoaned that the 2016 year ends without a resolution to all the scandals and that he understands citizens frustration and loss of hope in prospects to end corruption and thievery in all governance institutions.
Chakwera also pointed out that 2016 has been a year of “blocking progress”.
“ In our efforts to remove the corrupt dross from our governance institutions, the opposition under my leadership pushed for legislation to give the Anti-Corruption Bureau the power, resources, and independence it needs to get to the bottom of all these scandals, including the brazen murder and assassination of Mr. Isaa Njaunju who until his death was a top investigator at the Bureau, but the Mutharika Government blocked this legislation.
“In our desire to expose every criminal and corrupt act in Government, including the wasting of taxpayers’ funds at State Residencies, foreign embassies, and foreign trips that the President makes with no accountability about his itinerary or expenses, the Opposition under my leadership pushed and passed the Access to Information bill, but even before it was debated in Parliament, the Mutharika government had vowed to not sign it into law,” said Chakwera.
He also noted that ADMARC has obtaining an injunction to block the media from publishing stories related to the maize scandal “ which is a clear attempt to keep Malawians in the dark.”Chakwera said: “ When a party that claims to be democratic and progressive is at the forefront of blocking our progress to strengthen democratic institutions, I understand your frustrations and loss of hope as Malawians in our prospects to move forward.”
He used his speech to agttack government, saying 2016 has been a year of broken systems and services.
“You have endured long days without water because the management of our water systems is broken. You have endured long nights without electricity because the management of our energy systems is broken. The billions of losses in revenue to our economy and all industries across the board as a result of the water and energy crisis will go down in history as a national disaster and a crime against Malawi.
“ Young people in whom we place all our dreams and hopes as a nation have endured long weeks of no classes as Government indefinitely closed the public university because its management of our educational systems is broken.
“Farmers who invested their time and sweat in cultivating tobacco in their farms have endured big losses at the auction floors because the management of our marketing systems is broken,” said Chakwera,
He continued: “Teachers and other public servants have endured long months without pay, leaving their families vulnerable to incalculable suffering, because despite the empty rhetoric on Public Service Reforms, the management of Public Service systems is broken.
“Motorists have endured long lines and hours without assistance at Road Traffic offices because the management of our customer service systems is broken.
“Vulnerable groups like people with albinism have endured long spells of fear and terror without guarantees of protection from their Government because the management of our security systems is broken.”
MCP president further said that Malawians have endured long programs on state cotrolled media, MBC television and radio designed purely to misinform people and to mock and intimidate opposition politicians from expressing dissenting views, even to the point of using chiefs as mouthpieces of political mudslinging, which just shows that even the management of our communication systems is broken.
“ So as 2016 ends without any end in sight to this culture of operating broken systems that serve Malawians poorly, I feel your frustrations and loss of hope as Malawians at our prospects to create systems that serve you rather than enslave you,” he said.
He commende the media for the role they have played this year “ to bring out issues of national concern”, saying without the ‘fourth Malawians would have been at the mercy of DPP government ministers of lies and misinformation.
Leader of opposition also thanked all opposition Members of Parliament “who put the plight of Malawians before personal gain” to pass the Access to Information bill.
“May God reward their integrity and servant-leadership with favour,” he said.
Chakwera hailed the Malawian people, for keeping the peace this country is famous for and for trusting in his leadership “as we pursue our collective quest to disabuse ourselves from failed leaders who are past their prime and who are relics of our country’s broken past than they are beacons of our country’s promising future.”
The government spokesman Nicholous Dausi has said Chakwera is in denial that he lost the 2014 presidential elections and that he faces prospects of remaining in opposition aftrer the 2019 polls.
Dausi dismissed Chakwera’ s statement as “mere political rhetoric and tantrums.”
But he could not dispute about concerns on poverty, inequality, and unemployment.
He however said DPP government will in 2017 reignite economic growth.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :