Dont Run Away From Responsibility Mr President -Nankhumwa



Fellow Malawians ,


On 29th August, 2020, President Lazarus Chakwera posted on social media, and said: “As I was doing my run today, it dawned on me that in English, the job of a President is described as “running a country”, while in Chichewa, it is described as ” kuyendetsa dziko”. The first portrays the speed associated with running, while the second conveys the slowness associated with walking. But I believe we can fly this country “.

On 18th October, 2021, during the official launch ceremony of the Presidential Delivery Unit (PDU), President Chakwera described himself as driver of a minibus and his Vice, Right Honourable Saulos Chilima, as a mechanic, whereas ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) as conductors of the minibus. He said the people of Malawi were waiting for him, Chilima and the MDAs to deliver the goods they promised them.

However, the statement made by President Chakwera on Monday, 12th June, 2023, when he officially opened the National Conference on Separation of Powers at Bingu International Conference Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe, specifically regarding his duties and responsibilities, is a sharp contradiction to what he said in 2020 and 2021 as captured above.


I was deeply disturbed to hear the State President accusing Malawians of distorting his job description. President Chakwera unashamedly said his job is not to run the government. That running government or ‘kuyendetsa boma’ has the connotation of a driver behind the steering wheel of a car controlling the speed, direction, movement, and destination of the machine.

This time, President Chakwera said the metaphor of a driver is most inaccurate, because it conveys the idea of absolute control, which is an idea from the one-party state and a stranger to the constitutional democracy we put in its place. He said the reality is that the President’s functions as described in the Constitution is something closer to a traffic officer, who controls the flow of traffic but has no control over the machines on the road or the individuals who control them.


Fellow Malawians ,

The President is the Chief Executive Officer of Malawi. He is the Head of State and Head of Government of Malawi, and Commander-in-Chief of the Malawi Defence Forces. He is the First Citizen responsible for running the affairs of this country. He is the driver.

The President’s line of reasoning is therefore deeply flawed, to say the least. It is also my considered opinion that President Chakwera has no clue about what it means to be a leader of 20 million Malawians.


I believe that as Head of State, President Chakwera must instill hope and confidence in Malawians that he is in control of the country’s social and economic systems. Malawians expect their President to have a clear governance vision; to know which direction, exactly, he would want to take the nation. Their President must have a plan and a clear roadmap for uplifting the nation from the doldrums of poverty.

Fellow Malawians ,

It is most frightening that our President understands his job as that of not steering the nation forward, but standing by as it steers itself forward. In short, we have no one at the steering wheel. The nation is heading towards a precipice.

Fellow Malawians ,

It is no wonder that inflation is going through the roof, forex is at its lowest in ten (10) years, and Malawians will probably experience one of the worst hunger situations in recent memory.

No wonder a contract of hundreds of billions of Kwacha for fertilizer has been awarded to a pharmaceutical company in Romania. No wonder we have a shortage of drugs in hospitals, and schools lack teachers and desks and school blocks. No wonder Reserve Bank of Malawi is posting losses while Commercial Banks are posting profits. President Chakwera does not consider it his responsibility to ensure these situations are corrected. He has absconded from duty. He is running away from his responsibility.

It is an insult to Malawians who gave President Chakwera the job to govern them, to now be lectured that they got the President’s job description wrong; that only he knows better than all of us Malawians. No, Mr. President, Malawians elected you to govern. To be far much more than a traffic policeman. It involves vision; it involves strategic planning; it involves heavy-lifting. Above all else, it involves leadership.

Mr. President. Malawians want you to run the government, not to change your job description in the middle of the journey. They don’t want you to be a turncoat.


I wish to repeat what I recently said. If the ship that the Biblical Jonah boarded from Nineveh to Tarshish had a sleeping captain, it could have sunk because the captain could not have known the cause of their troubles. But bravo to the captain of that ship, he was awake and alert to recognize the problem in time and fixed it by throwing Jonah into the lake to save the ship and the people.

Our circumstances as a country are very unfortunate because the captain of our ship is loudly sleeping on duty to the point of not knowing his job description.

Honourable Dr. Kondwani Nankhumwa, MP



13th June, 2023

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