Betchani Tchereni accuses Malawians of “blackmail”

…accused of misquoting SKC’s speech to justify his failures

..CDEDI wants him to apologise to Malawians

As former President of the Economic Association of Malawi, Dr. Betchani Tchereni had plenty to say about economic governance, usually agreeing with the flawed economic path the Tonse Alliance administration had embarked on since 2020. However, when given a chance to run the economy as Secretary to the Treasury six months later, nothing has changed. Just like before, things are getting worse every day for the poor man.

Economics Professor Tchereni thinks Malawian voters are the main problem

Someone must be blamed for the failure, not the Treasury or Leaders paid to do the job.

The Treasury Chief’s appointment has not changed the economy, and he seems to be running out of options. Like the rest of the incumbent leaders led by President Lazarus Chakwera, someone is to blame. Economics Professor Tchereni thinks Malawian voters are the main problem.

They threaten politicians with their votes, and so scared are the politicians that apart from feasting on taxes alongside heavily renumerated public positions like that of Secretary to the Treasury, they can’t run the country because voters are a distraction; they threaten them with votes.

For a reputed academician, however, his verbal spit has created a political commotion. He is being accused of misquoting (or mis-referencing) his remarks to include what the late Vice President Saulos Chilima said. Senior UTM officials claim Dr Tcherani has deliberately twisted the late Chilima’s comments to suit his soiled political narrative.

The Centre for Democracy and Development Initiatives (CDEDI), angered by the MUBAS former faculty head’s remarks, is demanding he apologise for accusing Malawians of “blackmailing” politicians who are elected by the same public and are supposed to account to the public.

The main alliance partner in the Tonse Alliance, UTM, is now even incensed with the Treasury Chief, accusing him of twisting the words of the Late Saulos Chilima, their departed President and former vice president.

In an video that has been shared over 100,000 times in the past 48 hours, the Secretary to the Treasury is speaking. He claims he admired the Late Chilima, who said voters threaten politicians with their votes, and as such, the economy can’t improve.

“We can’t raise the fuel price because voters will threaten politicians with their votes. Even when the economy is sinking,” he is seen as telling an audience.

The UTM says the late Dr Chilima spoke of environmental degradation at Soche Hill in Blantyre in 2015 after some people threatened the government warning to evacuate the area—nothing about the economy or raising prices of goods.

“Let him run the economy and lessen the pain Malawians are facing. He devalued the kwacha prices of goods, which are still going up, despite the current song that tobacco is doing well at the Auction. He should not misuse Chilima’s remarks to score cheap political points,” said a senior UTM official.

Prices of goods are going up, the latest being cooking oil and the value of the kwacha, amid tobacco selling season. The United States dollar is now at K2500 and the British Pound at K3000 even in high street banks.

CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa said Tchereni needs to apologise to millions of Malawians who pay taxes and “fuel his car” as his sentiments do not befit his public office.

“You are unfairly accusing Malawians of blackmail, just because they are holding the duty bearers accountable, by demanding what is worth of their votes. To say the least, the clip has sent shock waves. They are an insult to Malawians,” Namiwa told the Secretary to the Treasury, asking him to apologise within seven days.

Namiwa says that the Treasury should blame its heavy appetite for borrowing to finance political projects.

Recent surveys indicate Malawians are worse off than in 2020, and over 4 million citizens are facing food shortages. The Government has yet to intervene but has been increasing spending on travel and allowances for politicians and senior public officials.

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