Opposition political parties in Parliament have branded President Peter Mutharika’s address as lacking in solutions to the country’s woes.
Leader of Opposition Lazarus Chakwera said the speech had only talked about the challenges but did not put convincing remedies on the table.
“One of the things you have to bear in mind is that the President has acknowledged that we are still in a very bad shape as a nation. The narrative has really not changed in the last two years.
“And so, when he gives what he sees as a solution, to me it’s not enough because it is not giving Malawians real hope, that things will be done any different from what have been done before,” Chakwera said.
He added: “Acknowledging that there is a problem for tobacco farmers is one thing. But what is the prescription? All I see is a description of the ailments of this country but there is little prescription,” Chakwera said.
People’s Party (PP) acting president Uladi Mussa said the speech does not offer hope to Malawians.
“There is nothing new in the President’s address. The road projects mentioned have been mentioned in the past few years; we have seen there is nothing on the protection of albinos. Nothing was mentioned on gay marriages. We thought the President would make much emphasis on irrigation to deal with the hunger. It is a repetition of what has already been said,” Mussa said.
Consumers Association of Malawi Executive Director, John Kapito, said in the speech, Mutharika was supposed to give details of how his government is going to make maize available to Malawians.
Meanwhile, some of Malawi’s development partners have said 2016/17 financial year will be tough.
British High Commissioner, Michael Nevin, said reforms government is implementing have to also go to the agriculture sector so that the current food shortages are dealt with.
“The emphasis on fiscal discipline is important. We really need to get the macro-economic environment in a place which is supporting wealth, supporting the private sector. Obviously, we have a difficult year coming up in terms of the food situation. Therefore reforms in agriculture will be critical,” he said.
As Mutharika delivered the speech, newly-appointed Leader of the House George Chaponda was caught on camera sleeping