Rating Peter Mutharika 7 out of 10 so far: ‘Cut-the Chaff’

The National Assembly reconvenes [in Lilongwe] for the Mid Term Budget Review, a legislative norm and finance management requirement that happens, or is expected to be fulfilled, six months into the budget implementation.

President Mutharika with his dutiful Vice-President Saulos Chilima providing a rare glimpse of political leadership to deliver his boss’ vision.

President Mutharika with his dutiful Vice-President Saulos Chilima providing a rare glimpse of political leadership to deliver his boss’ vision.

It is that time when the Executive must report to the people of Malawi whether the ship remains on course, or whether through the turbulence on the widespread sea has changed course.

This is the time when the people of Malawi expect their representatives to hold the Executive accountable on all the excesses that may have occurred in its spending patterns, demand answers for all overflows that happened and reprimand it for going overboard.

The chaff cutter will follow those proceedings keenly to see whether the legislative sitting will provide dividends to the people of Malawi. The people of Malawi will also not be expecting anything less from their representatives.

The MPs can never be in a better mood to tackle national issues having just had their pay revised.

This happened despite the fact that the economy is in bad shape. The interest rates and inflation figures are still way up into the sky. The currency had been in free-fall before it stabilised and started picking up recently.

The national resource envelope remains troubled and overstretched because donors are yet to lift their suspension of direct budgetary support.

This has affected the entire social fabric clearly represented by the worsening scarcity of drugs in hospitals to the rationing of resource allocation for the fulfilment of campaign promises.

The disposable incomes have shrunk with inflation pushing the bar of affordability beyond the reach of the spending comfort of many households.

Life is hard and in some cases outright unbearable, which should explain a manifold of strikes that typified the last several weeks among different public workers.

But truth be told, President Arthur Peter Mutharika (APM) has done nothing untoward to create the economic challenges besetting the country. These are inherited problems.

The questions he will not avoid are based on his management style of those problems. He has appeared to be hesitant and uninvolved to confront many preventable storms as they appeared on the horizon of his administration.

He only showed up when the Judiciary strike, for instance, had already worsened after several weeks of silence.

He may have employed silent diplomacy as a tool for conflict resolution, but in crisis times the Judicial staff strike became, for instance, people die to hear sentiments of assurance from their leader that something is done behind the curtains.

These came late.

But that is chuff where the President scored miserably in the period under review. In terms of the grain—as measured by his campaign promises—he has scored remarkably well.

He promised to run a small government. He has delivered on that promise. Including the President and his deputy, the full Cabinet has 20 members.

Never make a mistake about it, reducing to 20s a Cabinet that previously kept oscillating between the 30s and the 40s is significant in terms of prudent resource management when one considers what goes into maintenance of a Cabinet minister.

He promised to devote more of his time as President to office work. This he has done. Ministers too have had their foreign travel restricted to only three trips in a year.

What is more? He has also placed a freeze on willy-nilly attendance of public functions by public workers, directing that only those directly concerned should grace the functions.

Compared to his predecessors, APM is the least travelled leader in the context of his duration in office.

The economic value of these decisions is that huge sums of money have been saved, helping to feed the public purse in lean times.

He promised to reduce presidential powers with regard to making public appointments, which ideally should be independent of the Executive influence.

He has started doing this. Senior technical positions will now be filled through a competence and suitability vetting process to be conducted by an independent and professional body.

This is important because it gives the public officials so appointed the latitude to fully exploit their potentials and talents, retain their objectivity and work without checking over their shoulders if in what they are doing they are scoring on the political scorecard.

He promised to institute public reforms. He has delivered on the promise, with his dutiful Vice-President Saulos Chilima providing a rare glimpse of political leadership to deliver his boss’ vision.

The Malawi Public Service Reforms which he constituted has cleared a lot of ground already.

He promised to implement a building materials subsidy programme. Admittedly there are teething problems, but which new initiative does not have problems at the formative stage? He is delivering on that.

The point is this: In terms of delivering promises, President Mutharika is good. If his genes in this regard were to be inculcated into the manner in which he responds to unforeseen challenges that affect every President, his leadership would be successful.

Let’s hope this area will improve going into the last six month of this fiscal year.

Otherwise it looks like Mutharika is headed for a strong legacy. That, in short, is how I would rate APM. If you want marks, I would give him a nice seven out of 10 so far.

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BalakaGuy
Guest

Well done Ephraim,so far this article is not based on other s minds,it really comes from you deep down your heart,this is the kind of thinking we want,giving credit where it is due,you know journalists can provoke people or can bring hatred based on what they write,so sometimes try to have a balanced criticism,not because one is from such and such region,this will help to build our nation.

bigman
Guest

Ephraim Munthali has given Malawians an excellent assessment of APM. Shame to one political analyst from Chanco who gav Muntharika an F without any basis but rather hatred. Basic M&E the starting point is to measure based on promises or targets that the candidates set before. Other PP sympathisers are assessing APM on the basis of PP and MCP promises not and not what DPP promised.

YAKASHATA
Guest

STUPID NUMBER 41 YOU MUST BE MAYI’S GROUP. ANTHU OIPA INU.

Ameneyo
Guest

Giving our president 7 out of 10 is incredible. This is close to, if not getting a distinction for his performance. Really???? In my opinion, the maximum I can give him is 4 out of 10.

ndangodusamo
Guest

Let me join others who say this article is very fair and balanced. Ephraim is very objective and balanced in his analysis. Nor these other haters such as Tenthani who always hunts for negative stories about APM and his government. Keep it up Ephraim. Anthu amaonatu zachilungamo.

KASIYAMALIRO
Guest
Ephraim can still be qualified as a respected individual in the journalist fraternity. Can’t he? The other scribes know him better than me. But I do enjoy reading his articles as they expose a little extra time of reflection, good English and some amount of objectivity. I tend to buy the rating this far.APM is short of the aggressive confrontationist who may be more proactive than reactive. He needs time for that. I am proud to say”I feel more confident with APM team than before.” Keep it up! Yes, I also give particular credit to the Vice President… very excellent… Read more »
Kanyimbi
Guest

I, Kanyimbi also salute the president and his team. Remember we are operating on zero aid budget. So we can not expect things to be rossy.

Peace
Guest

Musiyanitse kufatsa ndi kupusa. Peter is an introvert wopusa. Things are just happening around him and he only reacts. He does not drive things. Bingu was different: he would start projects and even fights. Peter will wait for projects to come to him and just approve. He will wait fro Kikwete to strike and react, he will wait for strikes at Parliament to start and offer an increment instead of averting the strike.

If we asked him to stay at state house for the next 53 months without getting out, he will be most happy. Akacheza chani ndi mafumu.

Katundumadzi
Guest

Hehehe am glad 2 hear dis, t meanz ma vote hs rely a voic and thats y I voted 4 APM, a visionaly Leader. Am expctng alot frm him, am sure he has dis countly at his heart and if dis contnues dis countly wil neva b de same. Keep t up Mr president.

Mashino amingi
Guest

No. 31. Very good article. Thank you so much. But please be patient with those who may not have knowledge of the topic. You are too hard on Waakulu

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