Africa-Press – Malawi. Member of Parliament (MP) for Mzimba North Constituency Yeremia Chihana has come flat-out begging that President Lazarus Chakwera should consider incorporating him into his cabinet, saying he has enough “qualifications” and “experience” to fix and ensure that Malawi starts making headway progress in his very first 100 days—about three months—in office.
Among others, Chihana, who is the only Alliance for Democracy (AFORD) parliamentarian, said in the first 100 days fuel prices and electricity would go down. He also said that within that job the creation of jobs would begin, a move towards achieving Tonse Alliance’s goal of creating one million jobs.
The controversial legislator, who said despite being a Tonse Alliance member sits at the opposition benches for his “freedom,” said during a Times Exclusive interview on TTV hosted by Wonderful Msiska, which Nyasa Times monitored, that “job creation is a talent.” He emphasized that for the Tonse Alliance leadership to achieve its job creation it needed to re-think its strategies and re-look its system.
“Mind you, my father Chakufwa was a trade unionist; so, when you are creating jobs, you must be asking yourself questions like: Are these jobs going to be permanent or seasonal? Am I going to use skilled or unskilled labour? These are going to help you with ideas of which jobs you are going to create. For example, why should we be paying foreign drivers to ferry our fuel from Dare Salam to Malawi? Why should ESCOM be importing poles when we can bring back Chikangawa and have our young people working there?” Chihana reasoned.
He bragged that he had enough experience after working with President Kamuzu Banda, President Bakili Muluzi and “a little” with President Bingu wa Mutharika.
“With the knowledge I have and as a highly qualified economist I know it is possible to live the dreams of Dr Banda. For example, paper manufacturing and timber production is still very possible in Chikangawa, and this I will be able to influence to happen in my very first 100 days. The Salima-Tunduma Railway line is also very possible to implement. All these enterprises will be creating hundreds of jobs. I need any position in the cabinet to help in creating 1 million jobs,” he said.
He lashed at the Secretary to the President and Cabinet (SPC) Zangazanga Chikhosi saying he was overly responsible for the Tonse Alliance’s sloppy performance and insisted that he must be fired. Chihana described Chikhosi as “clueless” and someone who “was sitting on the job and failing to run Capital Hill.”
Chihana said: “You see, even after vice president Saulos Chilima submitted a report of what reforms ought to be done in the public service, the President is yet to give us feedback because that report still has to go through the SPC. It is when the SPC is done with it that it goes to the President. In other words, it is like Chikhosi is redoing what the vice president has already done and this is delaying progress.”
According to him, as boss of all government parastatals, Chihana said Chikhosi was supposed to be at the forefront to ensure change for the better in such parastatals as Egenco and NOCMA.
“During ESCOM, we were buying electricity at between K15 to K20 per kilowatt but now with the coming in of Egenco we are now buying electricity at between K35 to K45 per kilowatt. As boss there, he must have been to understand these things and be able to suggest viable solutions to the Board.
“Likewise, at NOCMA, with the ex-tank way of fuel purchasing, we were buying fuel at as low as K165 per litre because we were purchasing directly from refineries such as BP but with the DDU fuel has risen to over K600 because we are dealing with intermediaries. Again, he should be able to know these things and advise NOCMA accordingly,” he said, adding that once in Cabinet he will be able to directly influence the President to act on such manners.
According to Chihana, the one who is key in shaping government’s systems and how they operate is the Secretary to the President and Cabinet (SPC) but said Zangazanga Chikhosi was “incompetent and must be fired.” He bragged that he had a lot of ideas and insights to turn tables around but said could not because he lacked the requisite influence.
“People know that each time I speak in parliament it is always the truth. I talked about massive corruption by some cabinet ministers and the Speaker ordered me out of the house. But I have been vindicated after reports of how the K6.5 and K17.5 billion funds have been abused. When I am in Parliament, I know what I am doing. Think of the motion I moved on the Privatisation Commission report,” said Chihana, a certified valuation manager.
In the last sitting of Parliament, Parliament adopted a motion which will see the Minister of Finance submitting to the House a comprehensive report on status of privatisation and compliance with the terms of privatisation for each of the private companies to date.
Chihana, who moved the motion, said since the government embarked on sale of a lot of State-owned companies to private individuals, Parliament has never been appraised of the matter.