Peoples Transformation Party (Petra) has embarked on the third liberation campaign. In this interview, Petra’s president Kamuzu Chibambo sheds more details of the campaign to News Analyst DEOGRATIAS MMANA.
What is this third liberation campaign all about?
Let me begin by saying Malawi is a sad story; to think that we are now going into the 49th year of Independence and there nothing to show on the ground. Our people are poorer than 40 years ago. The country has become more dependent on other nations, international bodies and there is no hope inside .As a party, we are deeply concerned with this state of affairs. Countries that were at par with us in 1964, such as Singapore, are more advanced and we are looking to them for assistance.
As a party, we have analysed the situation and it comes to our attention that this country has had two liberations: in 1963 /64 when we attained self rule and independence and 1993/94 when we attained multiparty democracy. But look at the country today, we are still dependent on donors. When they withhold their aid, the country is brought to its knees. As we are all aware, when donor aid was withheld in the previous regime, we saw the economic challenges that befell our country.
In addition, we also see that the two liberations have mainly helped economically top government officials and their friends. They are monopolising all government lucrative contracts; general procurement, construction works. Time has come when we must change direction and we must begin that now. We began to share that message on December 29 at Limbuli in Mulanje that time has come when we must fight for third liberation. This is an economic liberation. Our vision is to make this country economically independent and free from exploitation.
How will you achieve this third liberation?
We would like to massively invest in the youth through their quality education. If educated, our youth will be able to participate in any economic activity. Quality education begins with quality teachers who are motivated too. We will also make sure that we invest in health. When people are healthy, they will go to school and participate in economic activities. Our education in this country has been neglected for too long. When you hear of university students sitting on the floor, what kind of graduates are we producing and yet we are busy priding ourselves as a sovereign State; we are busy driving a convoy of 30 vehicles, we can afford a battalion of 30 ministers when our education is in shambles.
Where will you get resources to turn the country into an economic power?
We are going to get money from here. We will prescribe an investment policy that places Malawians as priority. Any investment coming to this country, we will make sure we do not get peanuts like what is happening at Kayerekera. That is an economic sabotage. I cannot imagine that our country went into a raw deal with Kayerekera. There are so many economic activities in Malawi, but the question is: Are they benefiting the poor man? We are disappointed with this government that they are just watching Malawians being ripped off. Another source of funds will be trade. We will ensure that there is balanced trade.
Are you going to implement these things while you are outside government?
That can only be achieved when we are in government. This is what Petra wants to achieve. We want to make sure that the riches of this country are equitably shared to the people. Bring us to power and this is what you are going to get. This is the party you should be following now if you want to benefit from the national cake.
But Petra is perceived as a small party that cannot win elections
That kind of thinking as it takes away all possibilities of growth. It always assumes that people are not thinking; they just go on blindly. I believe the people of Malawi have reached a point of making right decisions. They realise that they have been cheated before. It is a fair verdict to say that these so called big parties have failed Malawi. These systems, political parties, political leaders have robbed Malawians; deceived them.
Is Petra established on the ground?
This message is going to our structures on the ground. We believe this message will resonate with Malawians from Nsanje to Chitipa and as it resonates with them people will find Petra an automatic choice. That is our belief. It is not the structures first, but the message first. People follow the message. Just like in 1993 people said they wanted change. They got the message and ran with it. And so too today, we have started with the message.
What makes you better than President Joyce Banda who is in control now?
Malawians are better judges. They will look at how I have conducted myself before; when there are storms do I chicken out? Am I a consistent person? Am I greedy? Do I have a vision for Malawi? It is wrong for me to say I am better.