By Duncan Mlanjira
The Tonse philosophy which was being promised on the premise that it will create 1 million jobs does not just mean that the government will create programs to employ people but rather the philosophy will challenge people to stop seeing themselves as job seekers and start seeing themselves as job creators.
This was said by the country’s new President Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera on Monday in his inauguration speech at Kamuzu Barracks in Lilongwe, high also marked as Independence Day celebration.
He added that when the Tonse philosophy promises to increase people’s earnings, it does not just mean that it will increase the minimum wage and remove income taxes for those at the bottom of Malawi’s pay scale, but also it will challenge the citizenry to make themselves competitive in the workplace.
“When we promise to build new homes with a solid roof, electricity, and tap water, we do not just mean that we will bring investors to make this happen, but also that we will challenge you to work towards owning that home.
“When we promise to give 1 million youth and women capital to start their own businesses, we do not just mean that we will link them to markets and banks to leverage their gains, but also that we will challenge them to pay back the loan so that another person has access to the same opportunity.
“The Tonse philosophy is not a campaign gimmick, but a governing philosophy that says: we either build together or crumble together.
“I know that this Tonse philosophy is the key to our success going forward because it has been the key to our success thus far.”
He took cognizance that to reach this far, the Tonse philosophy received a wave of indispensable contributions made by fellow Malawians who each rose to the occasion in different capacities to lend their hand to the cause of justice.
“Without the patriotic efforts and sacrifices of these Malawians, none of us would be here. If it were not for the courage of over 100 Malawians who toiled through the night to gather evidence of electoral fraud so that our court petition against the 2019 election was built on facts, none of us would be here.
“If it were not for the courage of over 20 witnesses who submitted testimony to the court in the face of death threats, none of us would be here.
“If it were not for the courage of over a dozen lawyers who stood up to the abuse of office and misuse of the law by a politically compromised Attorney General, none of us would be here.
“If it were not for the courage of the five judges of the Constitutional Court to do right by law despite attempts to bribe them in the interest of subverting justice, none of us would be here.
“If it were not for the courage of the Human Rights Defenders Coalition galvanizing citizens across the country to sustain protests for ten months straight despite the constant threat of arrest and cloud of teargas under which they marched, none of us would be here.
“If it were not for the courage of the Supreme Court to uphold and buttress the just ruling of the lower court in correcting both a constitutional anomaly regarding how a mandate to govern is secured and a constitutional crisis fashioned by one of their own, none of us would be here.
“If it were not for the courage of media houses to broadcast the election court case in the face of government threats to close their stations, none of us would be here.
“If it were not for the courage of dozens of legislators and warding off ridicule and payoffs to reform our electoral laws, none of us would be here.
“If it were not for hundreds of businesspersons and workers donating their own resources and money to give wings to our campaign so that we could reach voters in far flung places, none of us would be here.
“If it were not for the courage of thousands of volunteers going door to door, village to village, city to city, to reach voters that Dr. Chilima and I could not, none of us would be here.
“If it were not for the courage of the new leadership of the Electoral Commission to deliver a credible election with limited resources and limited time, none of us would be here.
“If it were not for the courage of soldiers and police officers in uniform defying political orders to fulfil their oath to defend the constitution and protect citizens, none of us would be here.
“If it were not for Dr. Chilima and the other party presidents of the Tonse Alliance forfeiting their political aspirations to forge an unbeatable partnership at the polls, none of us would be here.
“If it were not for thousands of knees scraping floors across this country in night long prayers that gave heaven no rest until God’s kingdom came, none of us would be here.”
He continued that building a new Malawi will have to be a team effort every step of the way and when differences arise the citizenry will have to listen to each other and accommodate each other, “for we have no other compatriots in all the world than each other.
“And when you see another citizen who is not doing their part in the work that is in front of us, accept it as your duty to the country to rebuke them and help them reengage in the process of nation-building.”
He promised to give this country his best as people’s servant and vowed to set a good example of submitting himself to the constitutional processes, provisions, and institutions that are designed to ensure that the President and Vice President are always at their best.
“This means that as required by law, I will make a full declaration of my assets each year; I will go to Parliament to be questioned by the People about my handling of state affairs.
“I will propose legislation to reduce the powers of the presidency and empower institutions to operate independently, including Parliament and the Anti-Corruption Bureau.
“I will meet with the Leader of Opposition personally every three months to listen to alternative ways of running government affairs; and I will operationalize the Access to Information Act in order to end the era of government secrecy and usher in the dawn of government accountability.
“As I seek to be at my best through these measures, you can also count on me to challenge all of you to be at your best. I will challenge the leadership of the judiciary to do more to root out the culture of corruption and selective justice that has shipwrecked too many of our lowest courts.
“I will challenge those who sit in Parliament to act professionally, put away childish ways, and repeal and replace the bad laws that remain on our books.
“I will challenge civil society organization to maintain a culture of robust protest, not just against governance institutions, but against any entity that is on the wrong side of justice.
“I will challenge our development partners to respect our vision and plans for our own country and to partner with us in ways that respect our dignity and sovereignty, not ways that undermine it.
“I will challenge all of you as citizens to work hard, work hard, work hard, work hard, and work hard. The time of giving free handouts and rewarding noise makers and handclappers who are too lazy to work is past.
“We have a country to build and not a moment to waste. So, let’s all get to work,” said the sixth President of the Republic of Malawi.