Some analysts have said three of the presidential running mates in the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections who faced off in a heated live television debate on Thursday night in Blantyre, failed addressed how they would reduce the widening gap or inequalities between the poor and the rich.
Both the Sustainable Development Goals and the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy III centres on that by focusing on the principle of “leaving no one behind”.
Mohammed Sidik Mia of Malawi Congress Party (MCP), Frank Mwenifumbo of United Democratic Front (UDF) and Michael Usi from UTM Party took part in the debate organised by privately-owned Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS), at Chichiri International Conference Centre widely known as Comesa Hall in Blantyre.
Professor Wiseman Chijere Chirwa of the University of Malawi’s Chancellor College observed that despite the discussants being lively and passionate in their delivery, none of the three running mates addressed how they would mend the gap the gap between the rich and poor.
Governance commentator Makhumbo Munthali agreed with Professor Wiseman.
Nevertheless, Munthali said there were some positives to note from the three runningmates when tackling the issue where UTM concentrated on improving governance, fighting corruption and promoting medium scale economy while MCP focused on cutting government spending, reduction of interest rates, treating agriculture as business, fighting corruption, and the problem of evasion of taxes by the top brass as solutions to the problem.
UDF on the other hand focused on investing in its prioritised sectors of energy, tourism, mining and agriculture.
“However, my view is that these three perspectives can be married as they relate to each other mindful of the fact that in the absence of addressing governance, corruption and others the gains registered in wealth creation (as suggested by UDF’s Mwenefumbo) may not be noticed and hence not trickling down to the power,” Munthali said in comments made to Nyasa Times.
“Likewise without a focus on economic growth and wealth creation for the country the country runs the danger of being stagnant or retrogressing. It is therefore my proposal that whichever government wins should be able to seal all the holes that lead to the country losing billions of kwachas due to corruption while at the same time taking economic investment steps in targeted sectors in order to spur economic growth,” he added.
Social commentator Kondwani Bell Munthali writing on Facebook observed that the debate exposed lack of depth in people expcted to lead.
“Do they have teams that prepare them or yes bwana’s who cheer them? If they have teams do they listen to them and follow advice? Some could not even match their own manifesto with the rhetoric they spewed,” he wrote.
The event started with observance of a minute’s silence in respect of the souls of the 56 people who have died following the floods disaster that hit the country last week.