In the recent fourteen days, there have been two occurrences in the Chakwera-led administration that deserve our commendation. To put the situation in perspective, it’s crucial to note that the economy is in severe conditions, which has been compounded by the recent 25 percent devaluation of the local currency.
To restore normalcy, the Malawi leader, Lazarus Chakwera, has announced a number of austerity measures that must be followed by all government players. One of them has been to limit international trips, with the President stating that his ministers, including himself, must take no more than three trips before the end of the year.
Said President Chakwera:
“Public officers, including myself, who need to travel abroad for their work out of absolute necessity will only be allowed to take no more than three trips during the remainder of the year, unless in cases of unforeseen extreme emergency.”
Collen Zamba, the recently appointed Secretary to the President and Cabinet, complemented the President’s measures stating that no government official should leave his desk to conduct meetings or conferences in lakefront resorts or anywhere else. All of these efforts are being taken to assist operate within the budget, save resources, and direct them to where they are most needed at this time.
So, in order to walk the talk, the President has canceled trips to Austria and Rwanda that he had planned to attend, instead appointing his Ministers to represent him. In our view, this is refreshing in that we have a President who is not only comprehending the difficult circumstances that his constituents are experiencing and express his empathy but he is also striving to change the status quo.
As if the above is not enough, the President called a meeting of all principal secretaries yesterday at Kamuzu Palace to solicit views on how the civil service, which some see as wasteful, can be efficient and serve for Malawians’ common benefit.
Said the President to the controlling officers:
“As Principal Secretaries, you are the Controlling Officers of our Government Ministries, Departments, and Agencies. You are the ones who control the Civil Service, and the fact that the Civil Service is broken and in urgent need of fixing means that the task of fixing it rests on you”.
“The first goal of these measures is to create synergy among you and increase the level of collaboration between you and my office because ultimately, we must work for Malawians as one team. The second goal is to ensure that we are on the same page regarding what exactly is broken in the Civil Service and what we must do as a matter of urgency to fix it. The third and final goal is to ensure that there is no single MDA that is motivated by anything else other than excellent service to Malawi and its people.”
To further show that the President is leading from the front, he recently directed the Ministry of Agriculture to put the mega-farms vow he made to Malawians into action within six months. The President said that it was distressing to learn that almost two years into his office, the promise was yet to be delivered.
“After two years of my Administration, the ministry has yet to produce a single mega farm anywhere in the country, and this is a failure I no longer have the patience to abide. For this reason, I am giving the Ministry of Agriculture six months to produce results that the eyes of Malawians can see. We cannot go into 2023 with this business-as-usual approach. Not on my watch,” said the President.
All of the President’s gestures, in our opinion, speak to the fact that he is now on top of the game—he recognizes that time is running out and that he must lead from the front to ensure that the promises he made to Malawians are kept ahead of the next election in 2025.