Sunday, May 26, 2024
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MALAWI’S SIX WASTED YEARS WITH A NOT-FIT-FOR-PURPOSE LEADER

Peter Mutharika
By Lord Denning 
We can point out a couple of infrastructure developments that Bingu wa Mutharika delivered to Malawi within his eight years’ reign as President of this country (2004 to 2012). Notable developments that he delivered include construction of the Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) in Thyolo; the new parliament building in the capital city; the stadium in the capital city; strategic grain reserves in Mzuzu, Lilongwe and Mangochi; the 5-star hotel (BICC) in the capital city; Reserve Bank branch in Mzuzu; Presidential Villas in the capital city which targeted to host high-level dignitaries during the then anticipated 2021 SADC summit which Malawi was to host; Karonga-Chitipa road which was named Bingu Highway; Malowa-Goliati-Chiperoni Road which was also named after him; Ntchisi – Malomo Road; Nkhoma-Kamphata Road; Chimwankhunda Road in Blantyre and two other district roads in Thyolo, and Mulanje.
I will not mention the Nsanje Inland Port for it being a white elephant that simply wasted our money and time.
Bingu became President when Malawi had become food insecure with a large part of the population surviving on yellow imported Maize from Kenya. He introduced fertilizer and seed subsidy program, which significantly improved food security in the country turned the once starving country into a thriving food basket of the region. It was this aspect which particularly activated massive love for Bingu by all and sundry from all corners and middle lengths of the Republic. He then relished the status with dreams of proposed University in Chikwawa, Marine University in Mangochi, Nkhotakota university in Nkhotakota, Mombera University in Mzimba and Karonga University of Agriculture.
Oh boy, Bingu nailed it such that the love he garnered tempted him to become overly complacent. He felt untouchable and started inflicting pain on the citizenry. In one day, he killed over 20 protesters in Mzuzu and a few others in other parts of the country. He literally became defiant of good reason and rule of law. The Constitution and rule of law were at half-mast. He astronomically grew so arrogant and nepostic[sic]. He launched a tribal club named Mulhako wa Alhomwe of which members were planted in Government corridors to create what was styled as a DPP System. The cumulative of this forced a man of God, bishop Zuza of Mzuzu diocese, to call Bingu ‘Chindere Chakufikapo’.
If DPP is to be remembered for any development projects in this country, then it is those mentioned above as delivered by Bingu. His young brother, Peter, who, thanks to the so-called DPP System, crookedly became President in 2014 and got booted out in 2020, WASTED SIX GOOD YEARS of this country. Throughout the SIX YEARS’ period, the only notable infrastructure developments that he delivered include a 95 km Lilongwe Old Airport-Santhe road, another road in Mangochi and the 4.6 km Parliament-Bingu Stadium dual carriage way running from the Stadium to the City Centre via the Area 18 Interchange. That’s all despite billions of money allocated for infrastructure developments that included roads and other infrastructure such as Mombera University.
Those billions were literally diverted to party (DPP) operations and enrichment of its curators who nourished the so-called DPP System. Malawi Government was literally turned into a DPP’s cash-cow. Malawi was fast nosediving into a failed state at the hands of engineers of corruption. ESCOM, for example, reached a point of failing to generate enough power to last a day, hence everyday was cursed with a minimum of 8 hours’ blackout. Hunger started crawling back into people’s homes and the country at large. This was the WASTED SIX YEARS of Malawi.
Does it not surprise you that when Peter Mutharika and his agents embark on a journey of accounting what they have delivered they always shamelessly refer to development projects that Bingu delivered? This is so because Peter Mutharika delivered nothing of note except for the mentioned three roads whose combined distance does not even reach 150 kilometers. Isn’t that a shame? From where I am standing, Peter Mutharika is the template of not only a failed leader, but also a captain of thieves who presided over kleptocracy – a government of bloody crooks and thieves. It’s only a sigh of relief that they are out and out for good. Good riddance!
The incumbent President is only three years old in power. There is a stock of deliverables, the list of which, by far, dwarfs the miserable six years’ work by Mutharika (if at all he was working). In road infrastructure sphere, President Chakwera stands credited for the construction of the six-lane Kenyatta Drive in Lilongwe (currently underway); construction of another six-lane Mzimba Street which is extending from Mchinji Roundabout to Mchesi via Crossroads Roundabout and Kamuzu Central (currently underway); construction of Crossroads to Kanengo Four-Lane Highway (which is nearing completion); Re-construction works of the M05 Road, otherwise known as Lakeshore Road, from Kaphatenga – Benga (currently underway and expected to be completed in November, 2024). This road will not only be widened, but will also be raised so as to deal away with flooding issues during rainy season; further extending the Ntchisi-Malomo road; construction of Mwanza-Neno Road (currently underway); construction of Rumphi-Nyika-Chitipa Road (currently underway); construction of Bypass Road in Mzuzu and access roads within Katoto in Mzuzu CBD; rehabilitation and modernization of road networks in Mangochi CBD (currently underway); rehabilitation of Lilongwe Bridge (which is underway) to host a six-lane road that will run from Crossroads roundabout to Bunda Turnoff; a District Road in Kasungu (completed and delivered); Access Roads within Blantyre City (such as Chipatala to Kamba Market Road; Michiru to Black Box Road; Chiwembe to Newlands Road via Manje; Makhetha to Ndirande via Nkolokoti; Namiwawa to Sunnyside; and another road in Kanjedza and Soche localities); Bypass Road in Blantyre (currently under construction); construction of Ntandire to Airwing Road and Area 49 Shire Ring Road; construction of Mkanda-Kapiri Road etc.
Other infrastructure projects under President Chakwera include construction of Mzuzu City Civic Office Complex; Thyolo District Civic Office Complex; construction of modern Jetty at Likoma Island; construction of Griffin Saenda Sports Complex; construction of Olympic-size Kamuzu Institute Aquatic Sports Complex; Re-construction of Kamuzu Dam 1 which has improved domestic and industrial water supply in Lilongwe; construction of portable water supply facility in Mangochi which has improved clean water supply in the district; construction of Radiotherapy and Brachytherapy Bunkers, National Cancer Center, Lilongwe (currently underway); construction of over 1000 houses for Police Officers, Prisons Officers and Immigration Officers (with several others being constructed to meet a target of 10,000 houses); construction of Mzuzu University Library – which is billed to be by far the largest library in universities in Malawi (currently underway); Construction of Marka-Bangula Railway and rehabilitation of Railway from Blantyre to Mozambique which is facilitating rail transport of cargo including fuel from Mozambique ports; Construction of Dedza One-Stop Border Post and Mchinji One-Stop Border Post (both completed and inaugurated); construction of a total of 250 Community Secondary Schools across the country. Elimination of incessant blackouts through rehabilitation of Nkula and Kapichira power generation stations and construction of solar fields in Salima and Dedza districts (which feed into the main power grid); and Mozambique-Malawi Power Interconnector Project (which is expected to completely eliminate blackouts to zero even with increased population in the next decades) among others.
President Chakwera has further, on recognizing that agriculture is the single most important sector of Malawi’s economy as it currently contributes over 80 per cent of foreign exchange earnings, revolutionized the agriculture sector by implementing and pioneering his manifesto-pledged MEGA FARMS project. Under this agriculture revolution, there has been construction of Mzenga Irrigation Scheme in Nkhata Bay district (sitting on 900-hectares of land); Wowo Irrigation Scheme in Phalombe (currently under construction and nearing completion); Lingoni Irrigation Scheme in Machinga (currently under construction); Mlooka (156 Hectares) and Matoponi Irrigation Schemes in Zomba (currently under construction); Marko and Mafinga Irrigation Schemes in Chitipa district (which have been completed) among others.
What is more key under this revolution is that these mega farms will produce adequate food crops for the country’s food security and will be used as an exit strategy for AIP which has huge loopholes including citizens of neighbouring countries benefiting from this initiative through fraudulent purchases and smuggling. Thus with mega farms, food security at national level is guaranteed. This is one of the Malawi’s Growth and Development Strategy which seeks to expand from the sole dependence on rain-fed farming which increases vulnerability to weather related shocks.
There are also other numerous deliverables such as introduction of civil servants’ medical scheme which was launched this month (December 2023) in fulfilment of his manifesto pledge. Introduction of K100,000 income tax –free band for employees and other strategic reforms related to good governance and promotion of democracy that postures to contradict Bingu’s legacy of autocracy, impunity and arrogance. The calculation is ingenious: to doge the woes of Bingu.
Now, ladies and gentlemen, that is President Chakwera (you can, for good reason, call him Mr. Infrastructure) in just THREE YEARS. Chakwera’s infrastructure strategy has shifted from seeing infrastructure as just an asset to viewing its purpose as providing services to improve quality of life and social inclusion. This shift is a perspective emphasis on the outcome of infrastructure project being quality services for the citizenry.
Chakwera understands that potholes on public roads are not only irritating but also a danger to human lives as well as an element that costs resources to maintain damaged vehicles, so he gat to fix that. Chakwera understands that power blackouts are not only irritating, but also detrimental to social and economic activities at all levels, so he came to fix that. Chakwera understands that rule of law is a fundamental aspect of a functioning democracy, so he came to restore that.
On the other hand, Peter Mutharika cannot even begin to compare for he has not left any legacy related to development projects delivery. His legacy tilts towards squander and looting. He presided over a pathetic and horrible leadership that only managed to rob Malawians. He presided over wasted six full years.
Editor In-Chief
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