October 5th, 2020 marked 100 days of office for the incumbent president of the Republic of Malawi, Dr Lazarus Chakwera. Following the presentation of achievements of the president in this period, there have been mixed reaction in the public domain with some people agreeing with him while others disapproves. The president has presented his case and he is fully convinced that he and his team have adequately delivered during the first 100 days. His critics however think some of the accomplishments are not worth mentioning. But why do others have a contrary view to that of the state president? Possibly there is a misunderstanding on what the public was expecting to be done and what has been presented. Let’s roll it back.
The term “first 100 days” was devised by former US president Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933 to refer to a period of time he would carry out reforms or action that would solve problems many Americans were facing. Before Roosevelt assumed office he promised people that through the New Deal he would deal with the problems in his first 100 days of presidency. Since then it has become a trend in US for people to evaluate the performance of a president in his first 100 days of office based on the promises the president made during the campaign or his inauguration speech. The first 100 days of presidency gives people a glimpse of what to expect from the president during his time of office.
Prior to the June 23, 2020 presidential election, President Chakwera and the Tonse Alliance made eye catching promises that are all over people’s mind. To put an ice on the promises the president’s inauguration speech lifted many Malawians hopes that his government would exist to improve the welfare of all Malawians. Probably to effectively evaluate the president one needs to cross-check with what the president and Tonse Alliance promised to effect the much touted transformation. Of course, a president is not permanently bound by that.
President Chakwera has outlined 35 achievements his administration has successfully executed in his first 100 days of presidency. It seems some people have reservations on some of the achievements presented. In general, it might be that the list of accomplishments has not tarried with the public’s expectations. Nevertheless, a number of the achievements can be considered as success. For instance, it would be naïve for someone to pay a blind eye on raising the minimum wage, lifting PAYE taxation threshold, appointing professionals for parastatal boards, reduction of data prices and the president taking questions at parliament. Previous presidents ultimately failed to do these things. But President Chakwera has accomplished them in a short period of time. That is success indeed!
However, looking at the same list of achievements one wonders whether some of the points should have made it on the list. To this point, such stated points seem to have no direct bearing on the life of many people. If certain acts can be done by every Jim and Jack then such things are not worth noting. The mere act of appointing individuals into boards does not in itself qualify to be an achievement. Any one as long he or she is a president can do that. But success in this case for example, as earlier alluded to, arises when the president appoints competent officers to the positions. When someone has failed to do something and another person steps in to implement it differently then that deserves to be recognised.
Geoffrey Mchinanguwo Gondwe
Educationist, Social Analyst, Historian and writer.
Currently teaches English and History