Government has ruled out President Dr Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera cutting short his foreign trip following the unprecedented plunge of the Malawi Kwacha against the dollar.
This follows the demand by rights activists, the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) who want Chakwera back from his trip to Saudi Arabia and Egypt to attend to the economic crisis.
But minister of Information Moses Kunkuyu says President Dr. Chakwera will only return to Malawi after finishing his business abroad.
“His Excellency’s trip abroad has some solutions to the current situation, therefore he will only return after finishing his business,” he said.
President Dr Chakwera left the country last Wednesday for Saudi Arabia where he attended the first Saudi-Africa summit and on Sunday he flew to Cairo, Egypt for a presidential summit on a trade fair.
But rights activists at HRDC say Chakwera should immediately come home from abroad to deal with the current economic crisis.
President Dr Chakwera left the country on Wednesday the day the Reserve Bank of Malawi devaluated the Kwacha by 44 per cent, triggering the 50 per cent rise in the cost of goods and services and pushing more Malawians in poverty further.
In a statement issued on Friday, HRDC says President Chakwera should immediately cut short his trips in Saudi Arabia and Egypt and return to address Malawians with actionable strategies to shield them from effects of the devaluation.
The HRDC says Malawi is in a crisis and is suffering from incompetent leadership that has failed to manage the economy and to empathize with the suffering masses.
“This callous handling of the situation only serves as damning evidence of President Chakwera’s incompetence to navigate the complexities of our economy and the affairs of our nation. In our cultural tapestry, a chief would never abandon the village during a funeral,” reads the HRDC statement in part.
The coalition says the Tonse Government ,for years, has been telling Malawians to endure the pain with promises of better days that never come except for the President who keeps ‘enjoying’ international trips.
“He knew, even before embarking on his flight to Saudi Arabia, that the impending devaluation would unleash an unprecedented onslaught on the welfare of the very people he vowed to defend and protect,” says the statement
But former leader of UDF Atupele Muluzi says the blame game on the current economic situation cannot help matters.
“Our great nation need not be in this unfortunate current situation. This has been created by multi factors from the past, beyond the control of even the wisest of our leaders.
“We should not get into the blame game, nor fall into chaos & confusion,” he writes on his Facebook page.
Instead, he says, with clear vision and firm resolution, the country should focus on fundamental lasting changes, based on introducing and implementing a series of solid programs of effective domestic wealth generation.