By Duncan Mlanjira
Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has asked President Lazarus Chakwera to publicly censure and distance himself from the retrogressive and highly insensitive remarks his Malawi Congress Party (MCP) vice-president for the North, Harry Mkandawire made over the weekend at a political rally held in Karonga.
CDEDI says it is in receipt of and shocked of Mkandawire’s remarks captured in an audio which has now gone viral on social media, in which he is “lambasting” Saulos Chilima arguing that the Vice-President’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.
CDEDI opines that Mkandawire is “repeating the very same mistakes made by the previous government which is in sharp contrast to what the Tonse Alliance promised Malawians”.
CDEDI says Mkandawire further went on to say the 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,” says the statement signed by Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa.
“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.”
CDEDI reminds President Chakwera that in his capacity as the Tonse Alliance torch bearer, he accused his predecessor Peter Mutharika for underutilizing 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 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 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 and 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?”
CDEDI further says Mkandawire and indeed Chakwera ought to be cautioned against taking Malawians for granted and reminds them 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 as a ruling party.
“This far, CDEDI is advising President Chakwera that he should remember that the Tonse Alliance partners promised a new Malawi for all, and that there is no way they would break their campaign promises willy nilly at the watch of all Malawians.
“CDEDI is therefore asking President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera to discipline Mr. Mkandawire as proof that he is not party to this scheme to frustrate the Vice-Presidency.
CDEDI is a non-partisan, nongovernmental organization that was established in a quest to attain a well-informed and organized citizenry that can ably demand their social and economic rights at the same time hold duty bearers accountable for their actions.
Among many others, CDEDI aims at sensitizing the masses on matters of national importance, inculcate the spirit of a peaceful coexistence among people of different ethnic, political and religious affiliations; provide civic education on people’s rights and responsibilities in economic independence and contribution towards national development and lobbying for the electoral law reforms.