Professor John Chisi--President of Umodzi Party (UP) which is a member of the ruling Tonse Alliance government--has taken a swipe at President Lazarus Chakwera led administration for "being off-track" with the way it is countering the Coronavirus pandemic in the country.
He said it was "mournful" that despite Malawi's myriad of experts in numerous fields, Chakwera has no clear plan to effectively manage Covid-19 in the country.
Folly of copy and paste
According to Chisi--who is a scientific researcher, practicing medical doctor and professor of medicine at the University of Malawi's College of Medicine specialized in the field of experimental pathology (Haematology)--Malawi needed to "customize its approach towards the handling of the virus."
An interview with Rainbow TV monitored by Nyasa Times Chisi said that for instance, President Chakwera and team "needed to understand the dynamics of this country."
Chisi gave an example of late Tanzanian President John Pombe Magufuli who he said understood the dynamics of his country and had a customized approach in handling the pandemic, and did not rush to shut down schools as Malawi did because he knew young people were not going to die of Covid-19.
Said Chisi: "First of all, they [Chakwera and team] had to first understand the demographics of Malawi. What is the distribution of our population? You will realise that our population unlike that of most of Europe is a youthful population, and youths do not die of Covid-19, they are simply vectors."
"And yet we copied and pasted what was being done in the UK here and went ahead to shut down our schools. Now, tell me, after schools were shut, did we not see the same pupils loitering in markets and getting unwanted pregnancies? How many have died of Covid-19?" he questioned.
Chisi tipped Chakwera administration "to consult and engage experts on such issues" to save the country from being hit hard should the third wave of the Coronavirus come.
Umodzi Party, which was the first of the eight other parties to join the UTM-MCP alliance last year, said it was time MCP started consolidating the various party manifestos as they had agreed.
Chisi said "without Chakwera roping in strategic ideas of other Tonse partners including Umodzi Party, the development of Malawi remains an illusion."
He said: "When we were joining the alliance, you must understand that we had our own manifesto. And upon joining the alliance we were assured that the manifestos would be consolidated because we had made it clear as Umodzi [Party] that we had it in our blueprint how we would make the 1 million jobs possible."
But, eight months later, Chisi said, nothing seems to be happening.
Time to industrialise
"Umodzi Party has always had a solution for unemployment in this country, and that is why we thought we would be of great assistance to the Alliance. The solution to unemployment is to industrialise this country because it is the industries that can provide jobs," said Chisi.
He said much as MCP had done well in its initial year as far as the agriculture sector is concerned, the sector was not an ideal solution to turn the country into a robust economy.
"Now we need to industrialise this country and create jobs. And that is what we are ready to offer as Umodzi Party," he said.
Commenting on miscellaneous issues, Chisi said it was sad that government "was not serious in the manner it was handling teachers on the issue of Covid-19 allowances."
Teachers in the country and the government have failed to reach a compromise with the former giving an ultimatum of up to seven days for the latter to pay them their allowances or stage an unspecified action should they not be paid.
Professor Chisi said the impasse was impacting negatively on the education system in the country which will take a long time to heal.
"The problem is that government is taking teachers for granted. It needs to reason with teachers and come to a compromise. After all, if you asked me, teachers are the most rational and understanding persons," he said.