By Duncan Mlanjira
Leader of the Opposition Kondwani Nankhumwa’s attack on President Lazarus Chakwera’s address to the nation on Saturday, in which he said the state leader deceived the nation that the DPP government misappropriated and mismanaged a total sum in excess of MK1 trillion has received heavy backlash by the public.
Nankhumwa said from the address, he got the impression that Chakwera may not be well conversant with the financial operations of government.
He said: “President Chakwera must be informed that if an economy, as small as ours, was robbed of that sum of money, his administration would not have found any penny in the government coffers.
“President Chakwera based his allegations on the ‘Report of the Auditor General on the Government of the Republic of Malawi for the Year Ended 30th June, 2019.’
The Report of the Auditor General does not say that the DPP government stole government money. The said report on page 9 is talking about non-compliance by ‘individual MDAs’.”
He outlined the individual MDAs as delays in paying contractors at K13, 220,855,182.32; payment vouchers without supporting documents (poor record keeping) at K8, 660,464,313.21; abandonment of construction works at K1, 263,478,836.39.
He also said the Auditor General showed there was under collection of revenue at K1, 207,032,445.74; stores not accounted for at K762,260,739.61; failure to maintain proper revenue records at K610,879,500.
Others are suspicious long standing pensioners at K590,766,657.28; misallocations of public funds at K454,333,543.56 and revenue spent at source at K425, 727,406.87.
Nankhumwa claims the Auditor General’s report “is clear that there is no mention of DPP stealing money anywhere”.
“What is clear from the President’s address is a desperate attempt to mislead the nation on matters of management of the economy, obviously taking advantage of people’s ignorance on the same.
“Indeed, one wonders how a delay in paying a contractor and under collection of revenue could become theft.
“As Leader of Opposition, I suspect President Chakwera may have made such serious and unsubstantiated allegations to arrest more people, more especially those from the DPP on these baseless allegations.
“He wants to divert people’s attention from the blunders on the appointment of the cabinet where we have seen nepotism of the highest order.
“He wants people to lose focus on the unrealistic promises his party made during the campaign period, such as universal secondary education; the cost of obtaining a Passport to be at MK14,000; creation of one million jobs and cheap fertilizers to all Malawians (MK4,900 per 50kg bag).”
He also said Chakwera wants to divert people’s minds from the campaign promise to remove fees to all institutions of higher learning; duty free week every year; free water connections; free electricity connections and construction of 400 roads in the first 8 months.
“President Chakwera should start working towards fulfilling the promises he made, otherwise, Malawians will not forgive him if he fails to deliver on his promises because he was busy blaming and arresting members of the previous governments.”
Commenting on his Facebook wall, prominent journalist Idriss Ali Nassah said “the best thing about Kondwani Nankhumwa frequently opening his mouth to speak in public is that people are beginning to see that he is a man bereft of big ideas”.
“An aspiring leader must be able to articulate the ideas that motivates and drives him to lead in a particular direction. At this moment, he should be separating himself from the mismanagement of the past six years, and clearly define a brave new path that the DPP should take going forward.
“Yet he seems to think that there is a future in the past. Anyone who is an apologist for the horror of the corruption and looting of the past six years is not to be taken seriously.
“If Nankhumwa is said to be the future of the DPP, then I am afraid the best days of the DPP are firmly behind it.”
In response Atusaye Mwalwanda said “simply put, his utterance has vindicated what some people said that he is an education fraud. That he has been using someone’s MSCE certificate”.
Chizamsoka Manda said: “He is only well mannered. Otherwise, he does not have much to offer to the nation. Currently, he has confined himself to a part of Southern Region.”
Matthews Manda responded to say he wasn’t expecting Nankhumwa to speak like that, adding that he had much hope in him but now “I need to think again”.
Richmond Msowoya added voice, saying statements by some leaders have no dot of logic and objectivity.
“You even wonder how they rose to those ranks,” he said. “It’s time to think of DPP and UDF as dead parties and explore ways of resurrecting them.
“Think of tantrums of Atupele Muluzi — I used to admire him during the agenda for change and little did I know that it’s mere resources that make him relevant than what he really is.”
Dan Ghambi said “the lack of any quality leadership, let alone a bad one, in both the DPP and UDF, is what has brought Malawi on its knees since 1994”.
In his conclusion, Nankhumwa asked President Chakwera and his government that Malawi is facing the most difficult challenges amid the COVID-19 health crisis.
“It is important that our collective efforts and energy are expended on saving our people from this pandemic instead of witch-hunting and persecution against perceived political enemies.”