Lilongwe, 28 July, 2020
PRESIDENT CHAKWERA SHOULD COME OUT CLEARLY ON TRIMMING PRESIDENTIAL POWERS AND OTHER FLAGSHIP CAMPAIGN PROMISES
The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) would like to commend State President Dr. Lazrus Chakwera for his unwavering stance in tackling deep rooted corruption in the country, following his revelation recently that the country has lost over one trillion Malawi Kwacha. The president spoke on the matter with zeal and energy in his special address to Malawians over the weekend.
CDEDI would like to assure the president that he has our support in fighting corruption in the country. We believe, however, that the situation in the country reached this extent due to a number of factors, major among them is the concentration of powers in the hands of one individual; the president.
CDEDI has also noted that it was very difficult to track the milestones that had been achieved by the previous regime of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) due to lack of a clearly spelt out road map on how such milestones were to be achieved. This now brings us to the Tonse Alliance flagship promises which we would like to outline as follows:
- Presidential powers: We would like to remind the Tonse Alliance led government about the promise they made during the campaign period on trimming the presidential powers. We are urging President Chakwera to come out very clearly and tell Malawians the steps he intends to take in order to ensure that parliament deliberates and passes legislations that would see the presidential powers trimmed. As the president is considering this matter, CDEDI is proposing that the appointment of the Inspector General of Police (IG) and the Director of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), should be done independently, and not by the president. So far, the wheels of justice are seen to be in overdrive simply because the offices of the IG and the ACB are currently free and are busy prosecuting individuals that are suspected to have committed various offences just for the mere fact that such individuals are no longer in power. Our wish is to have this spirit continue, and this can happen only if the two offices are independent. CDEDI would also like the Tonse Alliance led government to explain in their roadmap what the country is going to gain from the current spate of arrests that have been launched so far. If left unexplained and unjustified, Malawians will begin to suspect that this trend of arrests is just mere political witch hunting which we are used to witnessing whenever there is a change of government. CDEDI, however, would like to reiterate its earlier position that all those that contravened the law in the previous regime should be investigated and prosecuted, but in a fair and just manner.
- The fight against corruption: From the special address, CDEDI noted with regret that President Chakwera left out a very critical aspect especially on tackling corruption, and that is the role being played by the financial institutions in the country in aiding the plunder of the country’s minimal resources. CDEDI is of the view that some commercial banks and other financial institutions in the country are aiding this plunder of resources, and yet they are hardly taken to task. We would like to remind the nation that the infamous ‘Cashgate’ scandal during Dr. Joyce Banda’s administration also involved some of the commercial banks and other financial institutions in the country, but we don’t know how they were dealt with. Perhaps these institutions are currently being investigated since cashgate cases are still being pursued. Nonetheless, we are appealing to government to consider investigating some of these commercial banks, if the fight against corruption is to be taken seriously in Malawi.
- Backtracking on campaign promises: CDEDI believes that this is the time Malawians should be told how the 1 million jobs will be created, for example, as part of the roadmap. Of late, we have seen how government has backtracked on its earlier campaign promises such as the cost of passports whose cost government says will not be reduced; the purchase of fertilizer whose procedure for identifying beneficiaries government says will be targeted as opposed to being universal; the appointment of retired people to serve in various government positions instead of considering promoting already existent and well qualified officers, thereby creating room for the youth to be employed; these are but just a few examples, and we will not be surprised if this trend continues.
Lastly, but not the least, CDEDI would like to reiterate its position that government should ensure that those suspected to have committed various offences have their rights and dignity respected as they are being investigated. Above all, let the Tonse Alliance administration unveil its roadmap which should clearly spell out how the country is going to be bailed out from its current situation. It is also our appeal that the Tonse Alliance government should truthfully and honestly start fulfilling its campaign promises.
CDEDI is a non-partisan, nongovernmental organization that was established in a quest to attain a well-informed and organized citizenry that can ably demand their social and economic rights at the same time hold duty bearers accountable for their actions.
Among many others CDEDI aims at sensitizing the masses on matters of national importance, inculcate the spirit of a peaceful coexistence among people of different ethnic, political and religious affiliations; provide civic education on people’s rights and responsibilities in economic independence and contribution towards national development and lobbying for the electoral law reforms.
CDEDI EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR