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Malawi: Chakwera Dismisses Persecution Claim

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President Lazarus Chakwera during His Excellency’s Questions (HEQs) in Parliament on Thursday rejected assertions by former ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) officials, notably Leader of the Opposition in Parliament Kondwani Nankhumwa that the new Tonse Alliance administration was persecuting its rank and file.

Nankhumwa has accused Chakwera of “arbitrarily arresting” former DPP “supporters” and that ” the President needs to exercise caution in clearing the rubble.”.

However, Chakwera rapped Nankhumwa, saying “reality has not yet sunk in for the leader of opposition for his rhetoric is litered with fantasies.”

The President said: “I must hasten ti add that he must also take off his partisan lenses when assessing the arrests effected by the police against suspected law-breakers, for as far as I know, no official of the DPP has been arrested, unless we are speaking of arrested development.

“But if those public servants who have been arrested are DPP members, let the Leader of Opposition tell us plainly.”

President Chakwera continued: ” In any event, neither I nor the Vice-President [ Dr Saulos Klaus Chilima] have any involvement in the decisions made by law enforcement agencies about whom to arrest, for they are now enjoying the independence from political interference they were denied by the DPP administration.

Chakwera also lashed at Nankhumwa for what he said deceiving Malawians that the DPP set a pace of development, saying in reality “DPP significantly slowed the pace of our development.”

Said Chakwera: ” After all, Malawi is neither the Singapore nor the Europe that the DPP promised. One of the reasons that Malawians fired his party from the government is because it significantly slowed the pace of our development.”

The Malawi leader also rubbished Nankhumwa’s accusation that his State of the Nation Address (Sona) did not articulate the issues if risk allowances for teachers, saying it should be left to the Tonse Alliance government to deal with.

“It is, therefore, amusing that even though he was a Cabinet minister a few months ago and supported the budget presented by his party, he did not, that time, have insight to include the risk allowances for teachers that he is now advocating for.

“His clarity of vision is only useful for looking back at his own failures and has no help in looking forward,” said Chakwera.

He also attacked DPP for its past atrocities, saying they sent police officers “to bomb and teargas MCP offices, including the MCP Headquarters while the American Ambassador was paying me a courtesy call.”

On why he had failed to address the issues of climate change in his maiden Sona, Chakwera said he will soon deliver a comprehensive address on the matter following consultations with experts, including the eminent Professor Sosten Chiotha; hence avoided pre-empting the issues in Sona.

He also skipped questions in economic projects, saying Minister of Finance Felix Mlusu will cover some of the requested information when he delivers the Tonse Alliance’s maiden national budget this Friday morning.

The fiscal plan is expected to cover a litany if promises that the Tonse Alliance made ahead of the June 23 Fresh Presidential Elections as well as Chakwera’s first Sona.

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