Malawi: Chakwera Makes Fight against Corruption, Promotion of Gov’t Transparency as Cornerstones of his Presidency

President Lazarus Chakwera is gradually settling down in his new role as head of state and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces of Malawi. He is speaking tough on ending corruption among other injustices and promises to operationalize the Access to Information Act to end the era of government secrecy and usher in the dawn of government accountability.

 

On  Monday July 6, he  presented with a sword by the Defense Force Commander, General Peter Andrew Namathanga at a  ceremony which ought to be a full inauguration and 56th independence  day celebrations for Malawians, but was downgraded due to the Covid-19 Pandemic.  

 

President Chakwera promised to do his best and set a good example of submitting to the Constitutional provisions and institutions that are designed to ensure that the President and vice President are always at their best.

 

“This means that as required by law, I will make a full declaration of my assets each year; I will go to Parliament to be questioned by the People about my handling of state affairs; I will propose legislation to reduce the powers of the presidency and empower institutions to operate independently, including Parliament and the Anti-Corruption Bureau, I will meet with the Leader of Opposition personally every three months to listen to alternative ways of running government affairs...”

 

He said it was no secret that after 26 years of false starts and stale finishes, Malawi has been left in ruins by the previous administration which promised prosperity but delivered poverty. He emphasized that the people of Malawi were promised nationalism but instead, division is what was delivered, adding that the promise for good governance was exchanged for corruption.

 

“It is because of these ruins that our first task in building a new Malawi is clearing the rubble. Before we can begin to rebuild, we must clear the rubble of corruption, for it has left our taxes in ruins, we must clear the rubble of laziness, for it has left our infrastructure in ruins, we must clear the rubble of passivism, for it has left our rights in ruins, we must clear the rubble of donor dependency, for it, has left our dignity in ruins …’’

 

Unspoit beauty of Malawi (C) Travelstart

 

President Lazarus Chakwera is gradually settling down in his new role as head of state and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces of Malawi. He is speaking tough on ending corruption among other injustices and promises to operationalize the Access to Information Act to end the era of government secrecy and usher in the dawn of government accountability.

 

On  Monday July 6, he  presented with a sword by the Defense Force Commander, General Peter Andrew Namathanga at a  ceremony which ought to be a full inauguration and 56th independence  day celebrations for Malawians, but was downgraded due to the Covid-19 Pandemic.  

 

President Chakwera promised to do his best and set a good example of submitting to the Constitutional provisions and institutions that are designed to ensure that the President and vice President are always at their best.

 

“This means that as required by law, I will make a full declaration of my assets each year; I will go to Parliament to be questioned by the People about my handling of state affairs; I will propose legislation to reduce the powers of the presidency and empower institutions to operate independently, including Parliament and the Anti-Corruption Bureau, I will meet with the Leader of Opposition personally every three months to listen to alternative ways of running government affairs...”.

 

He said it was no secret that after 26 years of false starts and stale finishes, Malawi has been left in ruins by the previous administration which promised prosperity but delivered poverty. He emphasized that the people of Malawi were promised nationalism but instead, division is what was delivered, adding that the promise for good governance was exchanged for corruption.

 

“It is because of these ruins that our first task in building a new Malawi is clearing the rubble. Before we can begin to rebuild, we must clear the rubble of corruption, for it has left our taxes in ruins, we must clear the rubble of laziness, for it has left our infrastructure in ruins, we must clear the rubble of passivism, for it has left our rights in ruins, we must clear the rubble of donor dependency, for it, has left our dignity in ruins …’’.

 

The President called on the people of Malawi to collectively own the problems that the country faces and participate in fixing them by embracing the Tonse philosophy of collective responsibility. He said there would be no new Malawi if the only people to build it were himself and his vice, Dr Saulous  Chilima.

 

“No! So long as I am President, I will insist that no new Malawi must be built except that which is built by Malawians. The collective ownership of our problems and collective participation in fixing them is the bedrock of our Tonse philosophy. The Tonse philosophy is not a campaign gimmick, but a governing philosophy that says: we either build together or crumble together…’’

 

He challenged the people of Malawi to work hard by participating in creating jobs and increasing household food security.

 

“When we promise to create 1 million jobs, we do not just mean that we will create programs to employ you, but also that we will challenge you to stop seeing yourself as a job seeker and start seeing yourself as a job creator. When we promise to ensure that every household is able to eat three meals a day, we do not just mean that we will give you cheap fertilizer to increase food production, but also that we will challenge you to work three times as hard in your fields as before…’’.

 

The President paid tribute to the people of Malawi for standing and working together to ensure that justice prevailed following the failed 2019 presidential elections in which the incumbent, Dr. Peter Mutharika was declared winner.

 

Downtown Lilongwe, Malawi (C) David's Been Here

 

He noted that his inauguration as President was ridden on the wave of indispensable contributions made by fellow Malawians who each rose to the occasion in different capacities to lend their hand to the cause of justice.

 

President Chakwera pointed out that the courage by Human Rights Defenders Coalition who galvanized citizens across the country to sustain protests for ten months straight despite the constant threat of arrest and cloud of teargas under which they marched, and  the courage of the Supreme Court to uphold and buttress the just ruling of the lower court, justice would not have prevailed.

 

“If it were not for the courage of over twenty witnesses who submitted testimony to the court in the face of death threats, none of us would be here. If it were not for the courage of over a dozen lawyers who stood up to the abuse of office and misuse of the law by a politically compromised Attorney General, none of us would be here. If it were not for the courage of the five judges of the Constitutional Court to do right by law despite attempts to bribe them in the interest of subverting justice, none of us would be here…’’ the new leader said.

 

Prof. Mustafa Hussein from the University of Malawi Chancellor College told Timescape that the election of Dr. Chakwera as president and Dr.  Chilima as vice president  represents the will of the people and great hope to Malawians in terms of attaining meaningful development and positive change in public service delivery. 

 

“Malawians expected economic development, infrastructure like roads, railway and lake service improvements, efficiency and effectiveness in agriculture, education and health sector through public sector reform and decentralization,’’ he said.

 

Prof. Hussein expressed hope that the country will record a reduction of corruption and particularly nepotism, which characterized the previous government.

 

“The hope is employment will be based on merit, skills and qualification rather than political connection, patronage, partisanship, tribe or  religion, we look forward to good governance, or a government which serves and not ruling or dictating, adherence to rule of law, accountability and transparency,  respect for human rights among others,” he pointed out. 

 

Several other stakeholders in Malawi have expressed joy that the win by President Chakwera represents the triumph of justice in Malawi over a stolen and botched election of 2019, noting that it gives hope for better things to come in Malawi with respect of peace, political and socio-economic development.

 

The Malawi Electoral commission recorded that Mr. Chakwera received 2, 604, 043 votes against Dr. Mutharika’s 1,751,877. The other candidate, Peter Kuwani managed 32, 456 votes from the total votes cast of 4,445, 699 representing a 64 per cent voter turnout. 6,859,570 registered to vote in the election.