By Iommie Chiwalo
The indecisiveness that is coupled with cluelessness by the current administration has compelled Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI), to feel vindicated that President Lazarus Chakwera has abdicated his constitutional powers, and that it is some unknown people running affairs of government.
CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa has expressed the observation following a clear manifestation demonstrated in Chakwera’s New Year message on 1 January 2023 and not on the eve of the New Year, which Malawians were used to.
“That, in all critical fairness, had no serious take-home message, apart from the usual Cabinet
reshuffle rhetoric and announcement of intention to appoint a Presidential Private Sector Council, which we strongly believe will be duplication of another entity,” he said.
Namiwa says is sad that at this critical hour of a pandemic that is claiming numerous lives, Chakwera only casually touched on cholera in what looked like a ‘forced message’.
Sadly his cabinet Minister responsible for Health, Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda issues a statement that, because of cholera, all primary and secondary schools in Lilongwe and Blantyre will not open on January 3, 2023 as expected.
“Why did the President not make that announcement in his speech? If that would
not have been the most important part of the message, what was? His Happy New Year to you all? It’s chaos,” more questions than answers.
According to Namiwa, nothing qualifies this as total chaos than hearing that bus-loads of students were forced to return to either Blantyre or Lilongwe after hearing the announcement.
“The suspension of opening of schools in just the two cities, which came late as though the country has no Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 and cholera, is not only laughable but also a sign that there is a disconnection between what the task force and the President know about the cholera situation in the country. Otherwise, the figures have been speaking loud and clear that the situation was bad on the ground,” he said.
Some commentators have also concurred with CDEDI saying the decision to suspend opening of schools only in the two cities, where cholera figures are actually lower than those of some districts where schools will re-open tomorrow, begs more questions than answers.
For instance the questions arise on how government intends to reconcile the school calendar whereby while some students will be learning and others not learning, at the end of this term both will be required to sit the same exams.
“That said, CDEDI hereby gives a vote of no confidence to the Presidential Task Force on cholera, because it has failed the President and all Malawians big time,” says Namiwa.
Adding that the way this matter has been handled, mirrors well Tonse Alliance administration’s casualness in handling matters of national importance.
CDEDI has since condemned the approach in its totality and call for change of doing things, saying otherwise Malawi as a nation, is doomed.
He has therefore called upon government to sympathize with parents and guardians who have been inconvenienced financially by its indecisiveness and lack of co-ordination on the suspension of opening of schools due to the cholera outbreak.