Malawi: Chakwera Pledges His Government’s Commitment to Complete ‘Stalled, Abandoned’ Development Projects

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Malawi President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera has reiterated his administration’s commitment to completing infrastructure development projects that his government initiated and those that were abandoned by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)-led regime.

Among the notable projects the DPP government abandoned on nepotistic reasons are the Mombera University and Mzuzu International Airport in the Northern Region and M1 Road Rehabilitation Project.

The abandonment of the projects in the Northern Region followed a declaration by DPP Administrative Secretary, Francis Mphepo, that former President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika would ‘withdraw development projects from the north because its people are ungrateful’.

Mphepo made the declaration at a meeting of DPP Member of Parliament (MPs) from the Southern Region at Blantyre Civic Centre where he dressed down people from the north.

“These people ‘ndiosayamika’ (they are ungrateful). You have braved the rains to be here because you love your President and the party but not those people from the north, they are ungrateful. Government can withdraw all the development projects that it has lined up for the north. In fact the President will withdraw these development projects from the north if they continue to be ungrateful,” he said.

But in his New Year’s message to Malawians, President Chakwera assured Malawians that despite his administration facing a mountain of social and economic hindrances, his government remains committed to completing all the projects that were abandoned or stalled due to various reasons.

“Although we have delivered so much, we know that now is not the time to be complacent, nor is it a time to be distracted. As I see it, 2024 is the year for PUSHING. Because now that we have put the institutional framework in order, 2024 is the year for pushing for the completion of current projects and the start of new ones. Now that we have investors and donors coming back, 2024 is the year for pushing ourselves to produce, produce, and produce,” said Chakwera in his message to Malawians.

He added, “Now that we have indications that El Nino weather is coming our way, 2024 is the year for pushing for the use of our farms to grow legumes that will thrive in and survive in those conditions instead of crops that will not.

“Now that we have austerity measures in place to maximize and leverage our limited resources on the most productive activities, 2024 is the year for pushing every wasteful part of government out of our way, because whether that means pushing out people that are simply wasting time in government offices or wasting government money intended for serving Malawians, we must do so without apology. And I am confident that as I do so, I will have your support.”

Earlier, President Chakwera took Malawians down the lane of the challenges his government had faced in the year just gone by, citing the cholera outbreak, a drought, and the worst cyclone in the country’s history.

He said it was through uniting of the resources that Malawi that overcame managed to overcome the cited challenges, including rescuing and serving the most vulnerable and by refusing to point fingers at each other for disasters that were not the doing of any Malawian.

He reminded Malawians that in the year just gone by, Malawians successfully battled against a serious anomaly in the country’s governance setup, when the Office of the President and Cabinet, the Anti-Corruption Bureau, the Directorate of Public Prosecution, the Malawi Police Service, the Malawi Law Society, which all exist to work together in serving the interests of Malawians, were engaged in a feud of egos that was taking our nation’s development nowhere.

“We overcame this challenge by bringing the feuding parties together and reminding them of their oaths and insisting that their public offices must only be used to advance the interests of Malawians, and never be surrendered to the undue influence of people who seek to politicize and weaponize public institutions that are meant to function without any political influence,” said the President.

President Chakwera also disclosed that in the second and third quarters, the country overcame the challenge of renegotiating the mountain of unsustainable debt that we inherited from the DPP administration, a mountain of debt that was draining our forex, restricting the country’s ability to invest in critical improvements in public service delivery, and enriching domestic lenders who were cashing in huge profits at the expense of taxpayers whose incomes were losing purchasing power by the day.

He said Malawi overcame this challenge by renegotiating Malawi’s debt with Afreximbank during his visit to Ghana, renegotiating Malawi’s debt with China during my meeting with the Vice-President of China in Changsha and my meeting with the President of China in Johannesburg.

“Additionally, we overcame the challenge of limited resources caused by our debt repayments by raising over half a billion dollars at the Malawi Partners Conference that I hosted in New York, resources that will go a long way in funding our efforts to reconstruct the communities and infrastructure destroyed by Freddy.

“It was also during this period that we overcame the challenge of electricity blackouts, for we fully restored the Kapichira Power Station that had been damaged by Tropical Storms Ana and Gombe last year, and now for the first time in recent memory, we are producing more power than there is demand,” he said.

In this final quarter of 2023, President Chakwera said Malawi faced major challenges, the first being the challenge of hunger, threatening the lives of millions of Malawians who lost their food crops in the drought and cyclone that came in the first quarter.