Petra’s Chibambo rips JB on economy: ‘Malawi needs third liberation’

Leader of tiny opposition People’s Transformation Party (Petra) Kamuzu Chibambo says the ruling People’s Party (PP) government came into office without proper strategies on how it would address the country’s economic challenges left by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration.

Addressing journalists after a political rally at Limbuli area in the southern district of Mulanje on Saturday, Chibambo said the PP government rushed to devalue the Malawi Kwacha by almost 50 percent followed by a floatation of the local currency which he said was too much for an economy which was extremely weak.

“What we thought the government could have done was to bring in some gradual devaluation,” said Chibambo, a practicing lawyer.

“I know somebody would think of IMF’s dictates but know that this is our country and the interest of any government should be ordinary people. So any responsible government should think of the impact of its policies on its average citizens,” he said.

Chibambo: Malawi needs third liberation

“So much as you want to listen to what IMF is saying; you also need to be mindful of the person on the ground, in this case, Malawians who might be affected by your policy. We are saying the policy which this government introduced was a misplaced and it has hurt a lot of Malawians,” said Chibambo.

PETRA president said it’s a pity that the PP’s government still keeps on austerity talk, saying it is lip service citing newspaper report that State House has blown its 2012/13 annual budget less than five months into the financial year even as priority sectors such as health struggle for funding.

The State House annual budget according to the report is K1.6billion but the paper reported that within five months government has already blown K2.6 billion.

“This is over expenditure at its worst and a waste of resources. This is why some people are saying that the president needs to slow down; she should not be involved in activities that should be carried by other people like the distribution of maize. We are not against distribution of maize flours but it should not be the president doing that because there is a department of Relief and Disaster Preparedness which is responsible for that,” said Chibambo.

He said this would minimize the huge cost which the exercise is incurring, saying with such expenditure, “there is no way the economy would recover within 18 months.”

Chibambo described as obscene claims by Information and Civic Education Minister Moses Kunkuyu that President Joyce Banda has trimmed the size of her convoy from around 30 to 12.

“I am saying this is obscene gentlemen. Why it has taken the president so long to bring about that reduction in a convoy. There is a lot of money that the huge convoy has consumed. It would have been served for schools; it would have used to purchase drugs for the hospitals even some hospital personnel their salaries would have been improved but now is when the president says she is going to reduce the size of the convoy I would say this is too little too late,” he said.

Chibambo said after the country’s two liberations it has gone through  (1964 independence and 1993 vote of multiparty government ) it is high time Malawi should engage into a third liberation that would help put money into people’s pockets.

“But when you check these liberations there is one major deficiency. They have not brought money into the pockets of Malawians and many people have been left languishing in poverty and it is only top elite in government that have enriched themselves that within short space of time they are swimming in big money so as Petra we are agitating for economic liberation.”

He said Petra feels that the country need fresh start that can see the country come up with a vision that can address such a major imbalance which has left Malawians struggling making ends meet.

“Number one; we want to massively invest in education across the country.  We also want to invest heavily in health because it’s only healthy people who can produce effectively.  Then these two alone are not enough; then we will drive a national policy in which  we will pursue trade and national investment because when you look at our trade policy you will see that we import more than what we export from outside.”

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