Honourable Folks, ever since Oswald Lutepo came out and implicated former president Joyce Banda in the Cashgate, the reaction has generally been dismissive. JB herself was quick to see in Lutepo a mercenary being used by her political enemies in government to use Cashgate to nail her. She has been there and possibly knew from…

Honourable Folks, the MRA revenue performance report for October (as published both in The Nation and The Daily Times of November 18 2014) shows government collected tax revenue that was nine percent less than the projected K45 billion. October revenue collection performance is the worst since the beginning of the new fiscal year in July. Cumulatively, the negative variance…

Honourable Folks, not all of us can have the opportunity to see how the 2015/15 National Budget has rolled out, especially on whether the projected revenue targets are being met and controls on overexpenditure enforced. But IMF’s inconclusive sixth periodic review of its Extended Credit Facility (ECF) programme with the government is a telltale sign—even…

Honourable Folks, the greatness of history is that it offers lessons in various human endeavours. I guess that’s why there is the saying: the surest way to the future is via the past. So what do we, Malawians, learn from the recent Burkina Faso crisis? For the first time in sub-Saharan Africa, people power expressed…

Honourable Folks, the kwacha which held its own during the tobacco season, is now headed to the ocean floor. This spells doom to an economy which imports much more than it exports. The local industry will spend more on imported raw material and spares for machinery and all this will have to be passed on…

Honourable Folks, Karonga Central MP Frank Mwenifumbo was in the news this week (The Daily Times of Tuesday, October 14, p2), giving his views on the issue of federalism. He was quoted as saying he was in support of the federal system, arguing that there wouldn’t have been Cashgate if power had been devolved. To…

Honourable Folks, when Cashgate was exposed following the shooting of former budget director Paul Mphwiyo on September 13, 2013, government appeared to have appreciated that the damage to its image was enormous and regaining the trust of the taxpayer, donors and investors would require a business-as-unusual approach. Donors immediately froze budgetary support—which constituted 40 percent…

Honourable Folks, there’s something about decentralisation that needs urgent attention. Who conducts the environmental impact assessment of the developmental projects spearheaded by our newly-elected councillors at the grassroots? Or you think it’s only when a project is of Kayelekera or Nsanje World Inland Port magnitude that such an assessment becomes an issue? Wait until you…

Honourable Folks, my colleagues in media tell me the APM administration has shown unprecedented interest in enacting an enabling law for Section 37 of the Constitution. The section states: “Subject to any Act of Parliament, every person shall have the right of access to all information held by the State or any of its organs…

Honourable Folks, during the campaign period APM sounded like he was ready to inject into politics the professionalism of medical doctors—who are required to treat foes and allies alike—as a strategy for ridding democratic Malawi of divisive politics that has crippled progress for the past 20 years. He consistently championed to usher in a new…

Honourable Folks, I don’t know about you, but I see the 2014/15 national budget as a walk on the tight rope. There are quite a few pressure points that can trigger dizziness, make Malawi lose concentration and head for a catastrophic fall. The K742 billion budget is branded “zero aid”, reminiscent of the disastrous 2011…

Honourable Folks, at the stroke of a fat finger of power, big shops such as Shoprite, Game and Metro stashed into the trash can the plastic bags they were giving us, their customers, for free. Someone in the corridors of power must be feeling extremely good to see corporate Malawi walking with its tail between…

Honourable Folks, the other day I was in the company of an ambassador for one of the major donors to Malawi. The envoy dutifully described as inaccurate the claim that the aid freeze that followed the Cashgate scandal amounted to 40 percent of the national budget. The ambassador argued that what the scandal did was…

Honourable Folks, APM has been praised for a lean 20-member Cabinet. He’s also been praised for public sector reforms. He’s been bashed— and I dare say rightly so—for surrounding himself with almost as many advisers as the ministers, creating an inner circle of a hodgepodge of respectable professionals and opportunists to boot who, during Bingu’s…

Honourable Folks, here’s the crunch for the APM administration: It’s scoring highly on policy but is unlikely to deliver on its campaign promises because there’s no money in the kitty, will Malawians stick by it? In what appears to be warning shots of hard times ahead of the budget, Finance and Economic Planning Minister Goodall…

Honourable Folks, as Minister of Finance as well as Economic Planning and Development, Goodall Gondwe, the star economist of Bingu wa Mutharika’s first term (2004-2009), has the leeway to juggle his funding priorities around government economic blueprint with his own GG watermark. But this concentration of power in Gondwe’s hands may be as much a…

Honourable Folks, when APM extended an olive branch to his predecessor, Joyce Banda, at his inauguration, saying he wouldn’t engage in witch-hunting, I exclaimed: “hurray, @ 50 Malawi wakes up to serious politics.” Now, as euphoria gradually sets in the west, I’m beginning to think maybe I started jiving before APM actually started playing his…

Honourable Folks, now that elections are over, winners have been sworn in, APM has appointed his 20-member Cabinet and married, we can now focus on “the economy, stupid”. How does government grow the economy by 7.5 percent? This isn’t just a DPP campaign pledge for which the APM administration shall be held to account. It…

Honourable Folks, painful as it is that a legal technicality prevented the Malawi Electoral Commission from sorting out irregularities before announcing the winner in the 2014 presidential election, it’s heartening that Malawians have moved on. One would hope that never again should there be a repeat of the kind of mess that rocked this year’s…

Honourable Folks, in case you doubt the credentials of Nicholas Dausi, the new head of the National Intelligence Service (NIS), don’t look for answers in the special training he underwent during the Kamuzu Banda regime. That’s a long time ago when dictators reigned over Malawi and the rest of Africa. In those days you were…