"It's shameful that the UDF party wants to take us back to the dark days,"

Mr Gwanda Chakuamba (2003)

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Of 'packets of matches' and economic growth.

2007 Malawi UDFparty's hope Bakili Muluzi goofs and fails on interpretation of Malawi economy and discussion of real issues

Former president Bakili Muluzi says President Bingu wa Mutharika has failed the country and its economy to the extent that there is no government in control.
But government has scoffed at the claims, labeling Muluzi’s interpretation as myopic.
Muluzi told a rally he addressed at Traditional Authority Chowe in Mangochi that if people continued with Mutharika, the country would become impoverished beyond recognition.
“Malawi under Mutharika has seen inflation rising uncontrollably. When I left government, the Kwacha was trading at K1.09 to a dollar but now it is at K140. The average increase in prices within two years is 93.66 percent, yet our economic growth remains stunted. They, government, should not claim that the country is achieving any meaningful growth. If we had a government, this would not have happened. If we continue with him, this country will be heavily impoverished.
“You used to buy a packet of matches at K3, now it selling at K5. A tablet of Maluwa soap has gone up from K12 in 2004 to K16 and a kilogramme of sugar from K80 to K110, an increase of 37 percent. A packet of salt was at K12 but now it is at K34, representing an increase of 110 percent. Now he [Bingu] claims he has improved the economy when he is actually milking your pockets,” said Muluzi.
But Deputy Minister of Finance Ted Kalebe yesterday said Muluzi’s outbursts were made out of lack of knowledge on economic issues.
“You cannot conclude on economic issues based on one or a few items. In the two years this government has been in power it has hit an economic growth of 8.5 percent, and this is very commendable.
“This government’s economic principles have had donors returning to help us and we also have had debt relief. Changes in prices for the better cannot be drastic. So, Muluzi is wrong,” said Kalebe.
Since he took over power in 2004, Mutharika has recieved showers of praise from both local and international commentators for his sound economic principles.
Mutharika’s good economic governance has seen confidence returning to the economy with most donors, who pulled out their support, coming back.
Just last year, the country reached the completion point under the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (Hipc) which saw the country’s debt stock being significantly slashed by over 90 percent from the scaring US$3 billion (about K420 billion) .
Muluzi also regretted having hand-picked and campaigned for Bingu during the 2004 presidential elections.
“We [UDF] cannot work for him for free. Political issues are crucial. We worked hard for him. I could conduct 18 to 19 meetings a day. Today he says we are useless?” Questioned Muluzi.
He advised his followers to refrain from swearing.
“Please don’t swear like people in DPP do. Leave that business to [Hetherwick] Ntaba, [Alefa] Wenzulo, [Patricia] Kaliati, Bingu himself and Henry Mussa...Let them swear. I don’t want you to swear. But is it swearing if you say Bingu must go? Not at all,” said Muluzi.

Main story by The Nation

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