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Chilima’s silence worries HRDC, reprimands Tonse on promises

The Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) says it is concerned with total silence of the State Vice-President Saulos Chilima, who is also UTM President over his involvement of status of affairs in the country.

In a statement dated February 10 2021, whose signatories are HRDC’s Chairperson Gift Trapence, Luke Tembo, the national coordinator and other HRDC leaders, the HRDC has also accused the Tonse government of abandoning the implementation of its campaign promises, eight months down the line. Adding that President Lazarus Chakwera is not angry enough to live up the campaign promises.

“HRDC and Malawians are shocked to see that these promises seem to have been abandoned altogether except the affordable fertilizer pledge.

“Malawians are now openly expressing their disillusionment and loss of hope as they feel duped, especially by the total silence from the Alliance leaders, including Vice President Dr. Saulos Chilima, who is also UTM President,” reads the statement in part.

HRDC said the silence of the Tonse leaders such as the Vice-President gives Malawians a guessing answer whether the Alliance is still intact or it was disbanded.

HRDC has since demanded that the Tonse leaders must address Malawians jointly on the status of the promises implementation.

The statement adds: “This silence is making HRDC and Malawians wonder whether the Tonse Alliance is still intact or it is now only MCP that is governing.”

Meanwhile, the human rights body has also accused the Tonse government of abandoning of the implementation of its manifesto. Saying of all the promises, the Alliance has only implemented the fertilizer subsidy and that it has given a blind eye on others such as the creation of the 1 million jobs, free water and electricity connections, duty free week, among others.

“It should be recalled that the current government, led by the Malawi Congress Party (MCP), campaigned and won the June 23, 2020 Fresh Presidential Elections on the Tonse Alliance philosophy. The alliance campaigned and won based on a merged blueprint that consolidated some of the promises from the manifestos of all the alliance partners. However, eight months down the line, HRDC and Malawians are saddened that little effort is being made to implement most of the merged,” HRDC lamented.

The HRDC further said it has information that high profile government authorities are allegedly threatening the Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) and the National Oil Company of Malawi (NOCMA) officials to award a contract to their preferred suppliers (two)
whose cost will be more than $50 million more.

It has since demanded the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ABC) to quickly move in and stop of what it calls the unprocedural award to these two companies.

It has also demanded that the Secretary to the Office of the President and Cabinet should stop being the board chairman for NOCMA, EGENCO, and Power Market Limited (PML) to avoid conflict of interest.

Government is yet to comment on the HRDC’s concerns. But Gospel Kazako, the government information minister was quoted by the local Nation Newspaper that the implementation of the Tonse’s manifesto needs patience, saying they still have time to do so.

MRB Reporter

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