The leader of opposition Kondwani Nankhumwa says President Dr Lazarus Chakwera’s State of Nation Address (SONA) lacked substance and was a blank page.
Nankhumwa made the remarks today in Parliament responding to SONA made by Chakwera Friday, last week under theme “Restoring Warmth to the Heart of Africa.”
“To my understanding, a good SONA must at least address a number of important elements. These include the state of our democracy; the state of our economy and the service delivery. All these above elements were included in the SONA, but as they say, the devil is always in the detail.
As the first SONA for a first-time Head of State, the expectations of Malawians were very high,”
“Malawians expected a comprehensive articulation of a roadmap of how this government would implement its vision and a development blueprint that we have heard so much about over the past couple of months,” he says.
Nankhumwa says Instead, what Malawians got was merely a blank page where substance was relegated to the backseat.
“The President surely did not do any justice to Malawians by pledging to construct official houses for Members of Parliament (MPs) especially considering that MPs are wealthier than many civil servants. Most of civil servants including teachers, nurses, police and army officers, social welfare officers and agriculture extension workers, among others live in dilapidated houses. This is an insult to poor Malawians”
“Indeed, a constituency office equipped with the necessary operational tools would have been appropriate. The zeal, dedication and tenacity with which President Lazarus Chakwera and his team displayed in campaigning for the presidency were impressive. However, they say he who drags a goat to the market also finds himself at the market,” the Leader of Opposition says.
Nankhumwa says it is a naked fact that the June 23 polls left this country with a bitter after-taste and divided the nation along tribal and regional lines and hailed Chakwera for coming up with Ministry of Civic Education and National Unity.
“As opposition, we wish to commend the government for highlighting an agenda of unity through the newly-created Ministry of Civic Education and National Unity,”
“It is also important that such policy projection is matched by actions on the ground to indicate seriousness. Malawians are expecting to see how this peace and unity initiative will heal the wounds of victims of MCP 30-year atrocities,” he says.
Nankhumwa says malawians will be expecting to see how victims of political demonstrations in 2019 will be taken care of, especially in form of compensation for those that lost property and lives of dear ones.
“I have in mind the death of Superintendent Usiman Imedi who was killed in the line of duty at Nsundwe in Lilongwe. Although others may argue that you cannot judge a government that has just been in office for three months, I am saying it is possible to know the character of a government from its actions on its first day in office,”
“Over the last three months that this government has been in place, we have seen policy ambiguities and lack of decision-making. We have seen doublespeak; within the last three months, we have seen arbitrary and politically motivated arrests,” he says.
According to Nankhumwa, within the last three months, regionalism and cronyism have reared their ugly head where husbands, sisters, wives and brothers have been appointed into cabinet.