Chairperson of the Social and Community Affairs Committee of Parliament, Savel Kafwafwa, on Monday made an impassioned appeal to fellow legislators to rally behind President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera’s transformation agenda.
Kafwafwa, who is member of Parliament (MP) for Dedza North, said the State of the Nation Address (SONA) President Chakwera delivered in the National Assembly last Friday demonstrates the seriousness and commitment of his administration to lift Malawians out of poverty.
The lawmaker therefore stressed the need for the lawmakers and all Malawians to support the Head of State in his mission to transform the nation.
“After going through the SONA, Madam Speaker, two clear issues have emerged, one is that the SONA is giving Malawians hope, hope for a brighter future despite of the challenges that we are going through as a nation. [Therefore], my appeal to all of you is that we must get serious in the way we conduct our businesses, whether at personal level or at national level, the State President is inviting us to get more serious,” he said.
Kafwafwa highlighted that the SONA touched on the very critical points of survival for Malawians as well as inspiring citizens to hope for a better future in spite of the social and economic challenges engulfing the whole world.
He said it was even more soothing that President Chakwera, through his SONA, assured Malawians that families facing an acute food shortage will get relief food, a 50kg bag of maize, without considering tribal or regional boundaries.
“It is that hope that we have a leader who listens and follows the ideology of servant leadership and comes to parliament to answer our questions,” he said.
However, Kafwafwa warned that the journey to healing the economy will not be easy, stressing that the previous administrations did a lot of damage to the economy.
He took fellow MPs through a memory lane, detailing how the previous administrations, under United Democratic Front (UDF) and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), ransacked the economy by privatizing companies and parastatal organizations to party loyalists and cronies.
Below is an abridged version of his statement made in parliament:
We were not serious when we killed railway lines - the expensive Malawi - Canada railway line was abandoned to give business to the trucks cause some politicians had interest in such businesses, it pains me cause my late brother was the head driver there it’s sad that a railway line that was made from virgin iron to last a hundred years was lost within two decades. We were not serious when we abandoned the Mega Farms by Press Farming, were not serious when we abandoned the Dudu and Bwemba livestock farms, we were not serious when we killed Dzalanyama Cattle ranch, the original mega farms established by the wisdom of Dr Kamuzu Banda, we killed those projects just because the ones running no longer part of the ruling politicians, not knowing that we were killing the same enterprises that fed the nation. We were not serious when we abandoned the irrigated rice schemes in Karonga, Salima and Nkhotakota thinking that zakunja ndi zabwino not knowing that our Kilombero is if the best then it should be among the best in the world. We were not serious when we started importing Fanta from somewhere not knowing that our local Fanta was voted as the best in the world in 2010. We were not serious when we killed Air Malawi, when we lost the direct flights to London such that now we all converge at Addis Ababa, just because we were not serious. We were not serious when we stopped making sun batteries and Nzeru Radios in Chirimba Industrial area, it looks like along the way we really lost nzeru - nzeru radios I mean. We were not serious when we killed Pew limited and abandoned assembling the buses by our own graduates from the Polytechnic and started importing second hand ones. We were not serious when we killed Press Bakeries because that's when we killed wheat farming in Mwanza and in Ntchisi. We were not serious when we dismantled the farmers clubs used to borrow fertilizers, we ate all the money from ADMARC, mismanaged Press Cooperation, Dismantled MDC. We were not serious when we killed the cotton ginnery factory, such that today the gunnery corner in Blantyre is just a name, no more cotton ginning is taking place there, because we not serious we didn't know that were equally killing the cotton farming in Malawi in preference of imported brands. It may sound like were not serious when the kwacha was heavily was devalued in 1994 as the drought of 1992-1993 had hit the economy hard combined with the political strife the economy was overstretched such that in 1994 the kwacha was devalued by 400% from 4 kwacha to a dollar to k16 no wonder in the wisdom of the Former MCP District Chair for Mchinji Hon Foloma Mwale said 'matipate ndi nkhondo' its surely an economic war, it’s a political war. In the first 10 years of multiparty democracy it is when the serious chronic economic infection infected our country because we killed production in preference of importation and we called that kutakata pa town, the kwacha was left on a free floating and no wonder it was devalued at the rate of 1,000% per year and not 44% Madam Speaker and in just 10 years the kwacha was devalued not by 90% but by a whopping 5,000%, this is where our real economic infection started because we were not serious Now Madam Speaker the story is different, we are getting serious Wheat farming is back, because now we are tied of chewing forex in the name of bread because every time you chew a piece of bread sikono, you have to know that you are chewing forex Mega farms are back, such that one farmer by the name of Prophet Shepherd Bushiri is able to harvest a million bags of maize Irrigation schemes are coming back Madam Speaker Malawi shall never be the same Railway transport is coming back, Transportation on rail, from 1% to 13% towards 20% in just 3 years, this is serious, the idea of killing railway is likened to a certain coffin maker who hated the ARVs, this was being cruel Electric vehicles, 50,000 electric vehicles are coming - Gwanda Chakumba Highway is coming, Sidik Mia high way is coming LIHACO and Malawi ... Now profit making company, Malawi Airlines establishing first profit Road development is coming back, M1 Rehabilitation is back Road with 6 lanes in Lilongwe is at a great progress A Tarmac kwa a Manje ku Blantyre, zimagalimoto za Kwa Manje will now enjoy the comfort of a paved road by Chakwera It is because the born frees cannot withstand farming using the stone age tools such as holes and axes as narrated by Engineer Simbi Phiri, we are fixing this country we are going for mechanised farming After closing Air Malawi and now for the first time Malawi Airlines is making profit and bought a new plane, in those days those profits likadakhala phwando la akakowa We are getting serious the BICC and Presidential Hotel and suites is making profit because politicians are not sleeping there for free and the new management is getting serious with business because Chakwera is the leader Madam speaker Iron sharpens iron, great leaders attract great minds and inspire and motivate a nation, we have a Leader who was divinely ordained to rescue Malawi from this deadly economic infection We are getting serious the direct donor support is back after almost a decade of mistrust, donor confidence is back, this is really serious We are getting serious Madam Speaker that despite being challenged by the COVID pandemic and cyclones and cholera, war in Ukraine affecting the supply and price of fertilizers, 22% in food shortage, but still the Malawi Stock exchange was the best performer in Africa in 2023, those who want to make us feel hopeless won’t tell you that We are getting serious when Israel is willing to get 100,000 workers from Malawi for a labourer Madam Speaker to be receiving not less k3 million kwacha a month and make over 100 million kwacha in just a 3 year contract, this is getting serious Madam Speaker, awowo sangakuuzeni, because sakufuna mukaone ku Canaan. Sakufuna mukaoloke Nyanja ya Galileya We are getting serious when we have stopped borrowing for consumption, we are bringing in AGCOM for production We are getting serious with mining by establishing our own mineral lab and mining company, because we are tired of hearing about getting mineral samples, out of this country for 7 years until we hear that the whole mine was only full of samples, we are tired We are getting serious when this government is bringing back the Government own investment company MDC We are serious this time, Chakweras government has brought closer ties with many friendly countries and organisations supporting us – IIMF is here, World Bank is here, USAID is here, EU is here, IFAD, Japanese, Saudi Arabia, the Morrocans, the Chinese, the Israelites, Britain and our Nebas Tanzania, Zambia etc We are where Dr Kamuzu Banda stopped, bringing back mechanised farming. Railway transport and bringing mineral wealth We are getting serious with ethanol production to increase 5 ford and employ 800 people We are getting with new trading opportunities Carbon trading - 100 million dollars, incentivise communities that are conserving nature Cancer centre - neurosurgery centre near completion, this is wonderful With hope we know that the construction of Nkhoma Mayani Salima Road is near, we hope and we believe and just like many others our hope and seriousness keeps us going and it is well We have an economic Dr in the office, Malawian economy will be healed I support the SONA and I beg to move that this house should also support this SONA and that we can debate soberly, I beg to move