May I preface with reactions of Chakwera critics on social media against the president’s visits to three countries. Many of his critics on social media have labeled his visits to Kenya, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the United Kingdom (UK) as mere waste of taxpayers.
Are they right or wrong? The response to this crucial question can be generated from analysis of the merits and demerits of such visits after critically appreciating the purposes of the same. If you peruse most social media writeups against the president’s visits, you may quickly realize that their dissatisfaction emanates from two fronts; firstly, most critics are expressing disgust without prior backing information, they can’t justify their conduct.
Simply put, they don’t explore enough to establish the reasons behind implementation of a particular activity. Some critics are just too lazy to first establish the purpose of such visits before weighing in with their analytical position on the matter. Lack of knowledge is simply at play. Secondly, there are some critics who are fully aware of the benefits of these visits but, as usual, they would behave partisan, attacking the state president on almost everything, good or bad. Chakwera’s visits are justifiable as you are to appreciate in this writeup. For today, let me start with the benefits of the HE’s visit to Kenya, next will be UAE and UK respectively.
Kenya remains among Malawi’s key allies in East Africa, hence the need for active bilateral cooperation. In 1999, Malawi and Kenya signed an agreement on economic and technical cooperation. In 2002, the two countries established a Joint Permanent Commission of Cooperation (JPCC). JPCC has been inactive since then. When leaders of the two countries held bilateral talks, it was ideated that the dormant JPCC be revived, bearing in mind the numerous opportunities between the two countries. The second session of Malawi-Kenya JPCC was last held in 2002, the state president, Dr. Lazarus Chakwera is in Kenya for the third session. Several bilateral agreements have been signed at the end of the third Session of Malawi-Kenya JPCC today. The Principal Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Luckie Sikwese, reported that the Third Session of the JPCC was aimed at reviewing relations between the two countries and charting the way forward as regards maximization of the mutual benefits in the future.
This is what Sikwese said and I quote, “The JPCC which is a precursor to the visit by the State President, Dr. Lazarus Chakwera, is aimed at reviving and strengthening bilateral relations by way of ensuring that there are sound Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) through the JPCC framework. Our meeting today is the realization that in Africa Free Trade Area, Kenya is also a member of COMESA, we need to do a little more than we have done before.”
Chakwera critics must also know that trade has been on the increase between Malawi and Kenya since the establishment of COMESA, which both countries are members. Among the Kenya’s main exports to Malawi include: kitchen and table wares, detergents, edible oils, cosmetics, toiletries, irrigation pumps, tires and textiles. On the other hand, Malawi’s main exports include: maize, tobacco, and precious stones. With the revival of the JPCC there will be a boost in trade between the two countries as more products will be included on the menu of imports by both partners. It is therefore unfair to the nation for one to be unjustifiably against such beneficial visit. Agreements of such nature require physical presence of representatives of both partner countries. Chakwera’s visit to Kenya remains justifiable.