The President, in his New Year address, despite many calling it empty, admitted that 2022 was not the best Year. For once and rarely as we do, we agree with him, we all don’t want a repeat of 2022.
He then attempted to give us hope. He will have a lean Cabinet, have a Private Sector Council and launch a new path in which we all can begin our two year delayed journey to promised Malawi ‘cannan.’
A botched Commission of Inquiry that can be called the vengeance Commission, a Private Sector Council with potential criminals appointed, a falling national aquatic centre and demonstration at Kamphata all give a glimpse of 2023 in waiting.
But what President Lazarus Chakwera did not learn from as the first week of 2023 ends, is that people have heard him talk, he is a good orator, but nothing comings out of his talk.
Immediately after the speech, the promised report on the arrest of Anti Corruption Bureau Director General Martha Chizuma opened the Chakwera Ensemble Theatre first act of 2023.
First the Presidents press secretary Anthony Kasunda said only findings and recommendations were to be released. When they did, everyone knew the reason President Chakwera wanted then out, they were well choreographed to get rid of Chizuma.
The public reaction was brutal. By fourth day of 2023, the President was still in 2021 hiding reports from the Public. When the report was released, it was clearly doctored and did not answer the basic questions Malawians were asking- who ordered arrest of Chizuma.
As the week ended it was clear, Police lied and the disgraced Commission had hidden all Martha Chizumas evidence. Now the President as usual has an egg all over his face.
Before we finished the week, the second Presidential promise was back in public scrutiny, a collections of freinds and family made it into the Private Sector Council.
Non of the local associations made it to the Council. At least four foreign based individuals and one implicated in a fuel scandal was vetted and announced in a Council the President said “respected” individuals were to be appointed.
One mistake in a first week can be overlooked, two mistakes in first four days of the year smacks incompetence.
The question we had at the end and start of the year remains- who is in charge of the country?
The Commission of Inquiry did not answer a simple question who orderd arrest of Chizuma as the President did not know.
The Office of the President led by Colleen Zamba appointed freinds and family into a serious body, disgracing it with suspected criminals before it even met.
The President has two options on his table, live with it as he is hopeless and has no basis to disagree with his minders.
The second choice for President Chakwera is to start being a President for Malawians.
Send back the report to Commission of Inquiry to answer the core questions, fire those that arrested Chizuma and disband this group of Private Sector Council, we already have Presidential delivery unit, Private Sector Lab, National Planning Commissin and Department of Economic Planning and Development apart from the Ministry of Trade.
The Council should have come from Ministry of Trade not OPC where Ms Zamba seems hell bent to include her cronies in all public bodies.
As it seems to be the nature of President Chakwera and his MCP, the have priorities backwards- putting politicians and freinds ahead of what Malawi needs today.
This, for those in power now should know 2023 marks the beginning of a trying journey towards the 2025 General elections.
The biggest reason President Chakwera and his Malawi Congress Party will struggle to gain ground is that every single act that ends up like bad comedy increases mistrust the citizens have in his administration. He needs to recreate trust which Afrobarometer says is less than 12% in urban voters.
The rural folks, as those at Kamphata showed us this week, are joining the urban ones as fertiliser becomes a scarce and most expensive item.
It has been a bad start to a New Year.