June 11, 2012
The DPP MPs have every right to open their mouths anyhow in Parliament if they think that is the best way to represent their constituents.
But I will take issue with them when they want to be super clever and more intelligent than the rest of us today as regards the pathetic state of the economy. They know fully well that they caused the mess in the first place when they were running our affairs under the late Bingu wa Mutharika.
Responding to the budget on Monday, DPP spokesperson on finance Frazer Nihorya had the guile of saying the budget statement reflected a wholesome acceptance of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) ideas. He said the budget lacked â€œseriousnessâ€ to address the plight of Malawians.
He asked the House: â€œIs this budget pro-poor or not? This carefree approach exposes Malawians to high economic risk. The 21 percent offered to civil servants is a mockery considering 49 percent devaluation and sky rocketing inflation rate at 18.4 percent.â€
I wish somebody in Parliament reminded Nihorya that Malawians have their memories intact as well as enough intelligence to know that this reaction is not really in their interest but it is merely sour grapes because DPP is no longer in power after the death of Mutharika.
I wish somebody rose on point of order in Parliament on Monday to remind Nihorya that Malawians are not fools not to know who caused this quandary the country is in currently to wholesale accept what IMF is prescribing to cure the deep ills of the economy.
Indeed, I wish somebody had the guts to rise and tell Nihorya that, if anything, Malawians place the origins of all their problems today at the door step of DPP and its policies which lacked basic vision and had no interest of people at heart.
PP, on the other hand, is just mopping up the mess.
To take Nihorya on his own turf, did Joyce Banda and her government have any choice on IMFâ€™s prescriptions? If the MP thinks there was a choice, why does he not name it so that it is implemented.
Or more importantly why did Nihorya not advise the late Mutharika about his magic panacea to stop the downward spiral of things when Malawians spent more time on queues instead of working because of shortages that the DPP government made a habit of causing?
The reality is that Joyce Banda and her government have no room to manoeuvre with IMF or anybody else for that matter and the cause is DPPâ€™s bad policies.
When there is literally no food in the home, does the father or mother have room to argue about the kind of help somebody is trying to offer when the kids have gone on an empty stomach for days?
It is very true that the budget Finance Minister Dr. Ken Lipenga tabled last Friday has in store for an average Malawian more pain than joy. The budget provided lukewarm tax relief to Malawians and the safety net initiatives it has to cushion the poor from the effects of devaluing the Malawi kwacha will not make a huge difference.
It is also a fact that the 21 percent average salary rise of civil servants will just be absorbed by Pay As You Earn tax and other attendant deductions to make any meaningful impact, especially in the face of 49 percent devaluation of the kwacha.
It is equally true that the principles around which this budget was formulated have the signature and presence of the ubiquitous IMF about them but the reality is there was no choice and the Nihoryas of this world should not cheat us with outdated empty tough-talking against the body.
That kind of nonsensical, nationalistic and cowboy macho did not help when Mutharika was alive and will not help us today. In fact, it is the main cause of the problems we are going through today.
It brought misery of great magnitude to many Malawians except a few such as Nihorya who was in Cabinet.
The mess the DPP left must be mopped. The mopping itself is painful as it involves huge sacrifices for Malawians. DPP should not make it more painful by saying things for the sake of saying them. They should not be clever today when they caused it all.
On the other hand, DPP MPs should get a life and accept that the whiff of tantalising aroma of power and privilege from the government gravy train has left them at the station.