Malawians were better off with Mutharika, DPP


The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) observes with concern that Malawians are worse off since Tonse Alliance took over government in 2020. DPP agrees with recent research findings under Afrobarometer, a pan-African think tank on governance, that Malawians have lost hope and people are living amidst economic gloom. The March 2023 Afrobarometer Report findings have been released in collaboration with University of Malawi and University of Nairobi.

The research findings are consistent with increasing mismanagement of state affairs under President Lazarus Chakwera. This public statement corroborates the research findings and highlights several sad developments that Malawians are experiencing under MCP and Tonse alliance administration.

DPP observes that Malawi is in a state of decline and collapse. Malawians must demand a better government. Chakwera must go, and Tonse Alliance must pack up so that Malawi is safe again.

2. Background

Afrobarometer findings reveal that 9 out of 10 Malawians (89%) say the country is heading in the wrong direction. A majority of the people offers negative assessments of economic conditions. 85% describe the country’s economic situation as “fairly bad” or “very bad,”. Afrobarometer also indicates that 74% of Malawians say their personal living conditions have worsened, and 63% expect the living conditions to get worse and not to improve in the next 12 months.

Research findings also reveal that more than 8 in 10 citizens (85%) say the government is performing “fairly badly” or “very badly” on management of the economy and other key economic tasks. Malawians are unhappy with the way Chakwera and Tonse alliance are managing the economy. Citizens want an alternative government that can address the economic challenges.

People also express concern as majority (63%) of citizens say they stay without a cash income and frequently go without enough food.

A big majority of Malawians (75%) say they have become poorer during the past year. This is represented by almost 4 in 10 Malawians (37%) who experienced high levels of lived poverty during the past year, while another 38% experienced moderate lived poverty.

3. Relevance of Afrobarometer finding: DPP specific areas of concern

DPP agrees with Afrobarometer and observes the following specific areas to rescue Malawians from Chakwera’s clueless leadership.

3.1 Chakwera’s failure to manage cost of living

The Chakwera administration has failed to manage the cost of living which is rising every day. People’s incomes have dwindled. For the few people that have jobs, Salaries continue to lose buying power and majority can no longer afford to meet the basic needs such as food, housing rentals, transport fares, and payment of school fees for children.

3.2 Sharp increase in maize prices and other food items

MCP and Tonse alliance have mismanaged the food security sector where maize prices are unaffordable too high at over K40,000 per bag of 50 Kgs. Over 4.4 million people are affected by a serious hunger crisis. The Chakwera administration is killing people with hunger. In contrast, the price of maize was only K8,000 per bag in 2020 when DPP left office. The DPP government made sure that maize was available at affordable prices.

3.3 Worsening economic situation

Chakwera has killed the economy. Inflation is 33.8% while food inflation is over 40%. Prices of all goods and services have increased astronomically. People are scrambling for essential commodities such as sugar, which is selling at over K3,000 and even higher by some traders. In contrast, DPP administration left inflation rate at a single digit of 8% in 2020. Chakwera administration has also increased interest rates in the bank. Reserve Bank of Malawi has hiked the policy rate to 26%. DPP left the policy rate at 13% in 2020. Currently, cement is selling at K25,000 per bag.

3.4 Rising public debt

Domestic debt and external debt have passed K13.1 trillion. Chakwera administration is running government on borrowed funds. Tonse alliance continues to borrow for consumption to finance Chakwera’s appetite for travel. Such high borrowing means that private sector and businesses are crowded out and cannot access cheap loans. DPP left public debt at K4 trillion in 2020. This means that in 4 years alone, Chakwera administration has borrowed over K10 trillion. This huge debt burden is killing the Malawi economy.

3.5 People losing jobs

Sadly, the promise to create 1 million jobs has become a big lie. Malawians are losing jobs as businesses are closing. ADMARC was closed and they are struggling to reorganise it. Power Market Limited was closed. Peoples Superettes have closed. The list is long! Malawi is losing 1 million jobs instead of creating jobs. Government cannot even pay youths on internship on time, a programme that DPP administration initiated but Chakwera is mismanaging it. Instead Tonse administration is sending youths to Israel at a time the country is at war.

3.6 Insufficient forex reserves

The Chakwera administration is also pathetically clueless on how to manage monetary policy. The 44% devaluation of Kwacha has been disastrous with multiple negative ripple effects on the economy and welfare of the people. This was a careless devaluation which has pushed millions of Malawians into deeper poverty. Kwacha is at K1700 to 1 US$, and it is selling at over K2000 on the parallel market.

DPP managed the economy well and left the Kwacha at K700 in 2020. Forex reserves have dwindled to dangerously low levels of sometimes less than 1 month of import cover. MCP and Tonse have mismanaged the economy to the extent that the US$282 million realised from last season’s tobacco sales could only last 34 days! Hospitals are running out of essential medicines because Chakwera cannot see the need to manage forex well.
In comparison, DPP government managed forex well such that in 2020, Malawi was sitting on highest levels of forex with 6 months import cover.

3.7 Breakdown in security

DPP government strengthened security for people and for businesses. However, since 2020, Chakwera paid lip service to the security sector. As a result, people are being hacked. Women are being raped. Motorists are being robbed. Businesses are suffering from burglaries. Malawi’s security situation has broken down.

3.8 Deepening corruption and abuse of public funds

Afrobarometer findings have consistently revealed the worsening corruption for the past 4 years. Chakwera administration is presiding over a criminal enterprise of corrupt syndicates that are orchestrated by State House. Chakwera is so hypocritical that he can shield his senior government officials such as the Chief of Staff who has been implicated in the Zuneth Sattar corruption scandal. Similarly, key advisors of Chakwera and senior OPC officers have
allegedly been strongly mentioned in serious cases of abuse of funds, but to date they are walking scot-free.

The former Minister of Agriculture was implicated in the payment for fertilizer procurement to a bogus foreign company ‘the butchery’. The former Minister walked to freedom apparently because he is strongly connected to MCP politburo and to the Chakwera family. Meanwhile, the cluelessness of Chakwera administration has deepened. This is evidenced by government agreements made with dubious entities such as Eastbridge and Bridgin Foundation. Clearly, Chakwera is running government in the most amateurish and childish way.

4. Conclusion

The Democratic Progressive Party finds the Afrobarometer survey report relevant. The research findings offer insights for deep reflection about the future of Malawi especially as 2025 elections approach. Through the Afrobarometer research, people have spoken, and citizens continue to show their dissatisfaction with the Chakwera administration.

DPP would like to assure Malawians that freedom is coming tomorrow. DPP has the solutions and software to reboot, restore, and redeem Malawians from the suffering and economic hardships.

DPP! We Stand for Development, Justice, and Security!

Thank You, and God Bless Malawi.

Shadric Namalomba MP

(Presidential and Party Spokesperson)

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