By Duncan Mlanjira, Maravi Express & Lydia Kalonde Maganga, MANA
President Lazarus Chakwera has ordered the Minister of Home & Security Affairs Richard Chimwendo Banda and the Inspector General of Police, George Kainja to bring sanity to the road by not stopping traffic flow whenever his travels.
Stopping traffic is the norm to pave way for the presidential motorcade. When the President is to travel, the police are deployed all along the route he is going to use and even when he is still at his palace, the police stop traffic from flowing.
There are times when travellers have to wait even hours, especially when he travels long distances waiting until the motorcade cruises by.
This is so because the motorcade uses both lanes and when the convoy has long gone, the motorists it leaves behind are left to endure heavy traffic congestion.
Speaking on Friday during the official opening of the Sogecoa Golden Peacock Hotel in Blantyre, Chakwera said closing roads for hours to pave way for the presidential motorcade has potential to frustrate citizens and could contribute to unproductivity.
“I know this is the privilege of the presidency and for my own security but I feel there can be another way of seeing that people are not being stopped from doing their businesses just because they are waiting for my motorcade,” he said.
“he Minister of Homeland Security should to liaise with the Inspector General of Police to devise a way through which motorists are not inconvenienced whenever he travels.
“In Lilongwe, for example, we don’t hold people on the road for more than 15 minutes for my motorcade to get through and that can happen across the country,” the president said.
Chakwera also advised senior government officials against unnecessary spending of tax payers’ money in the name of attending presidential engagements.
He said it was not justifiable for government officials to abandon their offices and follow the president or his deputy Saulos Chilima around whenever he has a function to attend.
“It is only realistic to have a limited number of government officials during my functions and it would only make sense to attend a function that you will be needed or you are directly involved,” he said.
“I believe some of you see it as protocol to be present at my functions; but that is wastage of government money.
“Serve the people you were appointed to serve — Malawians — and not me; that is the duty you are mandated to perform,” he said.
As he spoke he was interrupted several times by women dancers who were present and he had to ask them to keep quiet.
These dancers are usually ferried to the presidential functions by overzealous party leaders in the name of spicing up the events but this is a tradition the country can do without as it also contributes to wastage of resources.