In this endeavor, a comparative analysis of President Lazarus Chakwera and former president Prof. Peter Mutharika's styles of leadership is presented. This is followed by the course of action that must be undertaken by the current regime.
Similarities between Chakwera and APM
President Chakwera and his predecessor, Prof. Peter Mutharika are just like siblings from the same family in as far as leadership is concerned. Their managerial and leadership styles leave a lot to be desired. They are both slow and indecisive in making decisions.
Malawians still recall that it took President Chakwera the whole solid year to institute a cabinet reshuffle which he promised to do so within three months.
Similarly, Chakwera and Mutharika took time to fire Kezzie Msukwa and George Chaponda respectively when their cabinet ministers were suspected of being involved in corrupt practices.
It is an open secret now that many people take advantage of their poor managerial skills to loot government coffers.
Currently, two former cabinet ministers and state house officials are answering charges of corruption during this Chakwera's administration. This is just a tip of an iceberg as many Tonse Alliance government officials are amassing unexplained wealth over a short period of time. I would appreciate if the ACB can invoke the Corruption Act so that they explain the mystery behind their wealth accumulation.
Similar corrupt stories were the order of the day during Peter Mutharika's administration. A mere body guard to APM was able to smuggle cement using the President's tpin without his knowledge or president's endorsement. It is mind boggling.
Differences between Chakwera and APM
Despite the aforementioned similarities between these two presidents, two differences are conspicuous. First, president Chakwera has better oratory skills. Second, Peter Mutharika was more action-oriented.
If you ask President Chakwera what he has done practically on the ground within two years of his administration, you will simply get a philosophical answer.
Within the same first two years, amid natural floods and the pull out of donor budgetary support, Peter Mutharika's administration exuded low inflation rates, stable local currency, fuel and forex availability.
In contrast, during Chakwera's administration, Malawians are hit hard by the economic hardships. The cost of living is drastically soaring largely due to poor economic and monetary policies.
Don't buy the rhetoric scapegoat that Malawi is experiencing such economic hardships due to effects of COVID 19 pandemic, Lower Shire floods and Russia-Ukraine war. No!!
Even during these adverse scenarios, it is the duty of the government to prudently allocate scarce resources to the unlimited needs and wants of the citizenry. This is the basic economic management knowledge.
A call for an action is a must now
However, despite all these problems, a call for an action by President Chakwera during an opening ceremony of Agricultural productivity conference on 9th June 2022, was a very promising one.
We therefore call upon the Chakwera government to act expeditiously in the following areas:
1. The National Assembly must act laws that will make the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) fully independent now. The Director of ACB must report to the Parliament not to the president. The time of action is now.
2. The National Assembly must change our constitution and laws to reduce the powers of the President in tandem with Chakwera's campaign promises. Now is the time of action.
3. The Tonse Alliance government must show us the road map on how the campaign promises will be fulfilled by allocating a time frame to each promise. Short term, medium term and long term plans must be articulated to fulfill such promises. Tonse Alliance government must act now.
4. The business as usual approach in all public sectors is derailing progress. President Chakwera must release the public reforms report now. Malawians are entitled to access that report which belongs to Malawi. In fact, the report was created using tax payers money. As citizens, we will need to scrutinise the report and implement specific
strategies now. Time to act has come.
5. Nepotism, tribalism and favoritism are rampant now. These evils must be stamped out now. We expect our leaders to lead by example. Therefore, all relatives of president Chakwera, his Vice President, and all government officials who were recruited on nepotism, tribalism, cronyism and regionalism must be recalled back now. From now onwards, recruitment and appointments must be done on merit. Now is the time of action.
6. Chakwera government must make sure that National Assembly passes outstanding and appropriate laws on abortion, Marijuana legalisation, homosexuality, prostitution legalisation and witchcraft decriminalisation. Act now.
7. Expedite all court cases now. It is not enough to arrest suspects and release them on bail. Speedy logical conclusion of such cases is a must now. All corruption suspects must be expeditiously tried, and if found guilty, they must both face jail and surrender back the money and property to the government. This must be done now.
8. The poor quality of public service delivery must be addressed with urgency vis a vis scarcity of essential drugs in public hospitals, preventable deaths in our health facilities and on our pot holed roads, influx of illegal immigrants usually aided by our fellow Malawians and government officials, dwindling education standards at all levels of our education system, early pregnancies and child marriages, high illiteracy levels, and abject poverty. Act now
9. Chakwera government must reduce the number of ministries to 20. Other ministries such as National unity and Civic education must be incorporated in other core ministries. This would cut down expenditure. Preaching about austere economic measures becomes a lip service if the number of unnecessary advisors to the president is not reduced as well. Time for action has come.
10. As a commitment to reduce expenditure and recover from harsh economic hardships, the President, the vice president, cabinet ministers, and Members of Parliament should offer
15 percent of their salaries to the government. All other fringe benefits must be reduced to the minimum. This is the time for action not lip service.
Action speaks louder than words.