By Chikumbutso Mtumodzi, Dowa
There is a saying that what a man sees while seated a boy cannot see even after climbing a tree. A few weeks ago the public discourse was flush with debate about whether President Lazarus Chakwera must attend the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) or not owing to some economic challenges this country is going through.
The unfortunate thing was that every Jim and Jack suddenly became economist, and wiser to lecturer on the disadvantages of going to ‘unga’ as though it is some place where people go to be eaten by wild animals Obviously without an aorta of knowledge about what it was.
Now as events have been unfolding, what has happened at UNGA is testimony that naysayers did not know what they were talking about. Or their pronouncements have been just part of a myopic propaganda machinery that has been clanking and sounding like a noisy gong lately.
President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera’s accomplishments at UNGA has been like a middle finger firmly raised on the faces of those who said the trip was a waste of time and resources for Malawi. There have been eggs all over the faces of the UNGA detractors.
The UNGA conference is where leaders from all over the world meet and deliberate on various issues that impact the world and their respective countries for the betterment of their citizens.
In fact Malawi’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN), Dr. Agnes Chimbiri-Molande actually urged President Lazarus Chakwera to attend the conference as world leaders were geared to discuss the progress of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) towards 2030 agenda.
She said it was important for President chakwera to join world leaders and engage them on significant matters on finding solutions to alleviate the challenges affecting Malawi in particular and the globe in general towards achieving the SDGs.
As Chairperson of the highly indebted countries in the world, it was also only proper that Dr. Chakwera attend the global conference to argue the case for poor countries.
Dr. Chakwera delivered one of the best speeches at the conference, whilst arguing the case for poor countries. The speech attracted critical international acclaim for substance as well as delivery.
He went on to demand the cancellation of debts that poor countries owe rich countries and other multilateral institution in order to allow poor countries re-orient their efforts, and invest in priority areas that would boost economic development.
In the days prior to the delivery of his speech at the conference, President Lazarus Chakwera was a busy bee, attending various side meetings and seminars in order to promote investments and other things such as gender equality; the green environment and other Malawi’s best interests.
On top of receiving an award for his efforts in promoting gender equality and women empowerment, Dr chakwera also secured over 40 billion Malawi kwacha to be channeled towards the cash transfer system,which aims at cushioning millions of ultra poor Malawians from the adverse effects of poverty.
During these meetings, President Chakwera advocated for Malawian interests, including issues related to climate change, healthcare, and education. His representation on these matters showcased Malawi’s commitment to contributing to global solutions.
He also had the opportunity to advocate for global peace and security during the UNGA sessions. His contributions to discussions on conflict resolution and peacekeeping initiatives underscored Malawi’s commitment to stability in the SADC region and beyond.
Apart from meeting investors and different stakeholders that have strategic interest in Malawi, UNGA provided a platform for President Chakwera to strengthen bilateral relations with other countries in the understanding that improved relations can lead to increased trade, investment, and support for Malawi’s development initiatives.
Someone (I can’t remember his name) said only the wearer knows where the shoe pinches. Dr Chakwera knows the challenges that his people are facing, and expecting him to sit idle is unsustainable and tantamount to wishing a bad omen for Malawi.
Let us give it to him, Dr Chakwera is on a blazing winning trail of accomplishments. In fact the deals and agreements that have been secured at UNGA are coming at the back of service level agreement that government made with IMF toawards securing close to $174.00 million in a new 48-month financing arrangement under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF).
The Malawi President has a job description and one of the things he ought to do is engage locally and internationally to secure uplifted livelihoods for his people. In that regard let us face it, President Lazarus Chakwera’s accomplishments have been outstanding.
President Lazarus Chakwera’s attendance of UNGA has brought many bankable benefits that would pretty soon trickle down to the common Malawian in terms of social and economic benefits in the short, medium to long term.
Any country needs enhanced diplomatic engagement, international recognition including access to global resources, strengthened bilateral relations as well as peace and security, and a reaffirmation of its commitment to multilateral cooperation.
President Chakwera’s participation in the UNGA has once again positioned Malawian and not a pariah but a global player in the cardinal quest to addressing the world’s most pressing issues.
The author is writing in his personal capacity