The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has challenged President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera to publicly distance himself from the retrogressive and highly insensitive remarks his Malawi Congress Party (MCP) Vice President for the North, Mr. Harry Mkandawire, made over the weekend at a political rally held in Karonga.
CDEDI said it has learnt with shock about Mr. Mkandawire’s remarks captured in an audio which has now gone viral on social media, repeating the very same mistakes made by the previous government which is in sharp contrast to what the Tonse Alliance promised Malawians.
Mkandawire made highly insensitive and derogatory remarks about the Vice President Dr. Saulosi Chilima. Mr. Mkandawire is heard in an audio clip lambasting the Vice President, arguing that Dr. Chilima’s powers are not equal to those of the President, and that he should not be acting as if he is the President of this country.
Mr. Mkandawire further says government should prioritize the MCP supporters when disbursing the funds for the Malawi Enterprise Development Fund (MEDF), arguing that they are the ones who belong to the ruling party.
Ironically, Mkandawire’s remarks are coming barely a day after President Chakwera smartly avoided to commit to Malawians in his inaugural State of the Nation Address (SoNA), a roadmap on how he would work with the National Assembly to ensure that he empowers the office of the Vice President, as per the promise made by the Tonse Alliance partners.
It is against this background that CDEDI and indeed all patriotic Malawians are looking forward to hearing from President Chakwera on the steps he is going to take in empowering the Veep’s office.
Given the lukewarm approach he has taken to honour his promise, it is not surprising therefore, to hear some MCP party loyalists discrediting the Vice President, barely three months after the two were ushered into the high office.
Just to refresh the voters’ memories, President Chakwera in his capacity as the Tonse Alliance torch bearer accused his predecessor Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika for underutilizing Dr. Chilima and disrespecting the constitutional office, that of the Vice Presidency. Instead of walking the talk, President Chakwera has all of a sudden developed cold feet on his promise, and has been overtaken by his party zealots who are now fighting the office of the Vice President.
Of late, we have also witnessed verbal attacks between supporters of the MCP and the UTM on social media, a development which can be construed as an indicator that all is not well among the Tonse Alliance partners, specifically the UTM and the MCP. We have also recently witnessed a scramble for Members of Parliament (MPs) between the MCP and the UTM who are enticing independent MPs and those from other political parties such as the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to join either the UTM or the MCP, a situation which is very worrisome, because the UTM and the MCP are already in bed in the Tonse Alliance administration.
One would wonder, therefore, as to what this scramble of MPs is all about! One thing we can be sure of, is that something big is cooking between the MCP and the UTM, and it smells bad for the peace-loving Malawians! This ticking bomb has finally been confirmed by Mr. Mkandawire’s unfortunate remarks.
As CDEDI, we do not only find Mr. Mkandawire’s thinking as retrogressive, but also very careless considering that not long-ago government sent on forced leave the MEDF senior management team for purportedly politicizing the loan disbursement process.
This begs the question as to how different is this action compared to the new ‘police directive’ by the MCP Vice President for the north? Mr. Mkandawire and indeed his boss they warned that Dr. Chakwera ought to be cautioned against taking Malawians for granted. They should also be reminded that Malawians voted for the Tonse Alliance, a coalition of nine political parties, and not MCP alone.
It is therefore not wise for any of the leaders for the nine political parties to take to the political podium to claim victory in the June 23 Fresh Presidential Elections (FPE) as a ruling party.