Former pastor and devout evangelist President Lazarus Chakwera who clocks one year in office in two weeks is said to have lost steam and is now taking Malawi to war-torn Baghdad than Canaan following a series of u-turns and misjudgements which are damaging his standing with the public.
Africa Confidential, an influential fortnightly newsletter in its Volume 62 No 11 reported that Malawians “say that he (Chakwera) only has led the country to war-torn Baghdad” having promised to lead them to Canaan during the heated campaign to wrestle power from Peter Mutharika and DPP.
Following a drop in its exports as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, Malawi’s economy is sinking beneath soaring fuel and basic commodities prices, and rising unemployment. Crime too is getting rampant.
“The government is vulnerable to accusations of corruption—the very thing the Chakwera’s Malawi Congress Party (MCP) promised to root out in its coalition with Vice-President Saulos Chilima’s United Transformation Movement (UTM).”
Chakwera has been accused of promoting nepotistic and tribalistic ways of roping people from his Lilongwe district and Chewa tribe as a qualification into public offices—a repetition of the DPP’s behaviour that had most people in government appointments coming from the Lhomwe belt, President Mutharika tribe.
“Hopes for a clean slate after the Mutharika years rose last year when Chakwera promised a review of cabinet promises within five months, having been attacked for appointing husband-and-wife teams and brothers and sisters to office, and other favouritism towards people from his Lilongwe home district,” it said.
But there has been no reshuffle to-date despite Brian Banda, presidential spokesperson, announcing on March 26 that a new cabinet would be announced within 48 hours, which was later withdrawn on April 11.
According to the report, such incidents fuel the impression that the President is indecisive.
MCP vs UTM war
However, Nyasa Times understands, that much as President Chakwera’s MCP wants to kick out some of UTM’s topnotch including energy minister, Newton Kambala, a prominent businessman in the construction industry, fears are still high within the alliance if they lose equally powerful Chilima who aided their ascendancy to the presidency.
It adds: “To be arguing over appointments to top jobs this long after the election is not a good look for either coalition partner, each of which accuses the other of hogging the best jobs. Much sought-after diplomatic appointments are being held up, and leaked documents indicate that most of the plum jobs are going to MCP allies.”
Socio-political commentator, Jackson Msiska, said in an interview on Tuesday that Chakwera and his Tonse Alliance cronies have left Malawians in unprecedented disillusionment.
According to Msiska, Chakwera has an enormous task to regain public trust.
“The thing is that there is really no second chance in making first impression. Chakwera had his first chance but it has been visibly spoiled, and now people are now beginning to see no difference with the ousted DPP and its leader Peter Mutharika,” he said.
The 2021 -2022 national budget has addressed some of the campaign promises made by UTM like the duty-free week, the free and water electricity connections.
UTM’s flagship promise of creating 1 million jobs in year one is yet to be quantified since the economic conditions seem to point to more jobs being lost each week.
No date has been set for the reduction of passport and driving license fees contained in the UTM manifesto.
Chakwera is said to have described some of the UTM promises as unworkable needing review.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :