For the past 20 years, MCP might have been viewed as an anachronistic outfit that has miserably failed to wrestle back the reins of power it lost in 1994 on account of the fact that the populace then simply got tired of it after 31 good years.
But one must now accept that the new breed of MCP leaders is a different ball game altogether and it is saying the right things that people want to hear at the right time.
For all its intents and purposes, the budget that Finance Minister, Goodall Gondwe, crafted and approved by Parliament only last week is bad news for all of us.
It has deep cuts to essential social services, necessitated by the ever-shrinking national kitty due to, among other things, the withdrawal of donors.
Simply put, the budget spells, among other things, debilitating poverty getting worse among the depraved and avoidable deaths in hospitals because suppliers and drugs will be wanton.
You would have thought that this was not lost on the DPP government and the least President Peter Mutharika would have done is to show some semblance or attempt to be seen to take part in the suffering that the poorest of the poorest in the country would be going through as a result of his government’s lack of creativity to circumvent the situation we are in.
Sadly, the DPP government has done nothing of the sort. In fact, the State House budget has seen a massive leap in allocation with mundane things such as construction of new banquet halls in state residences splashed across the country, all for the comfort of the President.
As if to underline ‘the necessity’ of the banqueting halls very much in demand at the State House, the President hosted all MPs to a feast at the Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe to wrap up the budget session on Wednesday night.
The symbolism of a feast for the MPs to celebrate the passing of the budget at a time billions will be burnt to build more banqueting halls for the President, yet there is no Panado for my old aunt at Kasungu District Hospital, is not lost on me.
But MCP MPs boycotted the heartless wining and dining and the constant click of champagne glasses at Kamuzu Palace and instead chose to side with the poor people who are dying from curable diseases.
MCP publicity secretary, Jesse Kabwila, even claimed that two people in his constituency had died because there was no ambulance to take them to a referral hospital.
It is easy for DPP to dismiss this as an empty PR stunt but is also true that the President’s decision to build banqueting halls and inviting MPs for a jolly do at the State House at a time his Finance Minister calls all of us to tighten our belts is being insensitive to the plight of the poor and the needy in our country.
To put it bluntly, MCP is coming out as a caring party while DPP is projecting itself as an outfit that is full of people only interested in their own comfort and enjoyment, regardless of the plight of the poor who voted it into office.
I might add, in case you did not know, dear reader, this is a reason why the President wants more banqueting hall across state residences in the country: To feast more while poor people are starving and dying needlessly.
- The article appeared in the Malawi News on July 4,2015 under the column ‘Hitting the Nail’