H.E. DR. LAZARUS CHAKWERA: A President’s Commitment To Redefining Political Leadership In Africa

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Some African countries have been fed the ‘fruits’ of democracy without change for far too long. Series of elections have only succeeded in producing bitter harvests. This no doubt negates the very essence of democracy, as it often fails to bring the desired change.

President Lazarus Chakwera is on a mission to change the narrative in Malawi.

The president recently set up a new body in the president’s office named the Presidential Delivery Unit (PDU). The unit is a critical step designed to drive change through the government.

This small, handpicked team from across the civil service is already focusing on delivering his administration’s core priorities – and using relationships across government and the political authority of State House on managing their implementation.

By gathering and analyzing a stream of performance data and conducting regular stocktakes with implementing ministries, departments, and agencies, the PDU identifies which priorities are off-track or delayed and why.

By pinpointing issues and bottlenecks, it will subsequently bring resources to support those necessary arms of government to unblock obstacles, using his executive prerogative as head of state and government to drive through change.

Where there is bad governance, elections may bring deliverance, but Africa needs good governance focused on delivery beyond that.

According to the President, “I fully expect this to amount to nothing short of a delivery revolution for Malawi, not least as the PDU is not some ephemeral concept – but a tried and tested method of administrative change-making, which is already in operation in 30 other governments of the world.”

Continuing, the president, while inaugurating the body, maintained, “My priority for our Delivery Unit is to accelerate the development of the agribusiness sector – building upon Malawi’s agricultural economy.”

“As with all methods of rapid development, there will be those whose cosy roles in government administration will feel pressured by the creation of the PDU. This is not to suggest there are not many talented civil servants across ministries and within government agencies, “he said.

Further reaffirming his belief in promoting talent over mediocrity, the president stated, “We must be honest with ourselves and realize that when successive leaders have used public appointments as a means of patronage, then the effectiveness of those with talent is necessarily curtailed. Because of this, when Malawi’s political elites have put forward policy priorities, the implementation of them has been lethargic at best.”

“As we can see from recent elections where ballots were cast in favour of policy priorities, upending previous patterns of voting along geographical and ethnic lines, the voters are already ahead of us politicians. Put simply; they demand action. More than that, they demand results. Should that not be delivered, we will rue the day we did not try. There are other examples of governance across the world where citizens’ economic advancement has been made without democracy,” he asserted.

As shown by the recent African Leadership persons of the Year Polls, Malawians benefit from purpose-driven leadership. Little wonder, President Lazarus Chakwera was voted African of the Year in the 10th African Leadership Magazine Persons of the Year.

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