President Lazarus Chakwera’s mistakes and weaknesses are many and well known.
In my view, most Malawians are disappointed with his failure to fulfil campaign promises and not looking at what he has been saying and doing as the President.
So, here are the ten important things the pastor, who joined politics in 2013, has done since June 2020 when he was elected to the presidency.
Visiting the country’s cities and towns, one notices that certain main roads are under construction or rehabilitation. The works are promising to uplift the faces of these urban areas.
In addition to the rail line improvements, the construction works are at a scale promising pride to the nation.
2. Rule of law
Listening to Chakwera, you get the conviction that here’s a leader. From his personal life, character and emphasis, he wishes Malawi well on the rule of law. He has reiterated his wish for all State operations to follow the law, even in the fight against corruption.
3. Working together
In two years, Chakwera has visited and met all former presidents: Joyce Banda, Peter Mutharika and Bakili Muluzi.
Recently, he delegated Muluzi and Banda to attend funerals of former presidents in Zambia and Kenya, respectively.
While Malawians wondered if the Tonse Alliance would survive this far, working with his Vice Saulos Chilima has proved wrong the suspicions of disintegration.
Possibly, one of Chakwera’s greatest achievements is the appointment of deserving persons to top positions in the public service.
These include women ambassadors to Belgium and the United Nations, which were traditionally monopolised by men. Recently, he appointed Colleen Zamba as Secretary to the Office of the President and Cabinet.
5. Listening to citizens
Chakwera’s administration prides itself as one that listens to the citizens as some appointments and decisions have been made or unmade following a public outcry and suggestions.
Interestingly, some traditional and opinion leaders have directly addressed him during public meetings as did Paramount Chief Kyungu of Karonga and Chief Mwaulambya of Chitipa recently. This shows both frustration and hope, if he listens.
6. International relations Criticised as a globe-trotter, the President has made over 20 international trips for the good of Malawi. It is incumbent upon any new leader to visit his neighbours. Chakwera’s visits to Zambia, Tanzania and Mozambique demonstrated that he is committed to regional peace stability and diplomacy.
The international trips are good for resource mobilisation for the fragile economy. The benefits may not be immediate, but long-term.
There’s a reconciliatory tone in Chakwera’s presidency. This include the re-glorification of Orton Chirwa’s family once ostracised by the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) which Chirwa co-founded.
Chakwera also visited and apologised to leaders of Moto Village in Mangochi, which was gutted when founding president Kamuzu Banda fell out with Henry Chipembere during the Cabinet Crisis of 1964.
He has also ordered the Ministry of Tourism to put the late Bingu wa Mutharika’s mausoleum in Thyolo is under government care.
He regularly updates the nation on his engagements and commitments via Facebook page, constant press briefings and in Parliament, giving fresh summaries of the direction government is taking.
9. Call to Efficiency
The President has efficiently consented to Bills passed by Parliament, including the activation of the once long-forgotten Access to Information Act.
The formation of the Presidential Delivery Unit has shown the various bottlenecks to development progress can be cleared.
10. Working president
From day one, the mask, the all-important shield against Covid-19, has not kept him from working. Sometimes one wonders where he gets the energy to do all the work reported.
Of course, I am looking forward to hearing that he has gone on annual leave.