President Lazarus Chakwera Defines His Reign: Destined for Success
On his inauguration July 6, Malawi’s Independence Day, President Lazarus Chakwera has pledged to give his best as servant-leader for Malawians and to set a good example of submitting himself to the constitutional processes, provisions, and institutions that are designed to ensure excellence.
President Chakwera has since pledged to make full declaration of his assets each year, go to Parliament to be questioned by the People about his handling of state affairs and that he shall propose legislation to reduce powers of the presidency and empower institutions to operate independently, including Parliament and the Anti-Corruption Bureau.
“I will meet with the Leader of Opposition personally every three months to listen to alternative ways of running government affairs; and I will operationalize the Access to Information Act in order to end the era of government secrecy and usher in the dawn of government accountability.
“As I seek to be at my best through these measures, you can also count on me to challenge all of you to be at your best. I will challenge the leadership of the judiciary to do more to root out the culture of corruption and selective justice that has shipwrecked too many of our lowest courts,” he said in a speech commentators have described as inspirational, powerful and directional.
President Chakwera has promised to challenge parliamentarians to act professionally, put away childish ways, and repeal and replace bad laws that remain in the country’s statutes.
He further said he would be challenging civil society organization to maintain a culture of robust protest, “not just against governance institutions, but against any entity that is on the wrong side of justice.
“I will challenge our development partners to respect our vision and plans for our own country and to partner with us in ways that respect our dignity and sovereignty, not ways that undermine it.
“I will challenge all of you as citizens to work hard, work hard, work hard, work hard, and work hard. The time of giving free handouts and rewarding noise makers and handclappers who are too lazy to work is past. We have a country to build and not a moment to waste. So, let’s all get to work,” he said.
Chakwera said he is aware that he could be the last member of his generation to hold office of president of Malawi hence it has fallen on him to pass on the mantle “to a rising generation of Malawians born free.
“It is no secret that we have had one administration after another shifting its post to the next election, promising prosperity but delivering poverty; promising nationalism but delivering division; promising political tolerance but delivering human rights abuses; promising good governance but delivering corruption; promising institutional autonomy but delivering state capture.
“And now, after 26 years of false starts and stale finishes, it is no secret that my generation has not only left our homeland unbuilt, but also in ruins. It is because of these ruins that our first task in building a new Malawi is clearing the rubble.
“Before we can begin to rebuild, we must clear the rubble of corruption, for it has left our taxes in ruins; we must clear the rubble of laziness, for it has left our infrastructure in ruins; we must clear the rubble of passivism, for it has left our rights in ruins; we must clear the rubble of donor dependency, for it has left our dignity in ruins; we must clear the rubble of regionalism, for it has left our nationhood in ruins; we must clear the rubble of negativity, for it has left our resolve in ruins; we must clear the rubble of impunity, for it has left our governance institutions in ruins; and we must clear the rubble of unprofessionalism and incompetence, for it has left our services in ruins,” he said.
President Chakwera has minced no words, however, saying in Malawi’s quest to heal its fractured governance system over the next five years, citizens must have the courage to face and endure the pain of systemic surgery and to inflict necessary pains on fractured attitudes.
“We are each in some way part of Malawi’s problems and must each in some way be part of her solution. We cannot absolve ourselves of responsibility for the maladministration we have allowed to happen on our watch for close to three decades any more than we can renege on our responsibility to make amends.
“If this collective sense of responsibility over our national sins and national solutions seems unnecessary to you, then I put it to you that it is not only a necessary path, but the only path. I put it to you that there can be no new Malawi if the only people deemed guilty of ruining this country are those who lost the recent election.
“I put it to you that there can be no new Malawi if the only people deemed responsible for fixing this country are those who won the recent election. I put it to you that there can be no new Malawi if the only people to build it are Chakwera and Chilima. No! So long as I am President, I will insist that no new Malawi must be built except that which is built by Malawians,” he said.
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