Malawi’s Ruling Tonse Alliance “lost direction”, Catholic Officials Say, Urge Leadership

President Lazarus Chakwera (Malawi Congress Party) and Dr Saulos Chilima (UTM) who formed the Tonse Alliance in 2020 alongside seven other opposition parties. Credit: Malawi's Electoral Commission/Facebook.

The ruling Tonse Alliance-led government of Malawi is no longer carrying the hopes of the citizens of the Southern African nation, Catholic Church officials in the country have said, calling for “decisive leadership”.

In a statement issued by the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM), the Catholic Church officials say that the one-year-old administration “has lost direction” and that the hopes of many, including the youth, are fading.

“The outcome of the Fresh Presidential election brought a renewed hope to the majority of Malawians as they expected an improvement in the style of governance characterized by a focus on the common good," CCJP officials say in reference to the court-sanctioned 23 June 2020 Presidential election.

In the statement issued Sunday, August 8 and signed by the National CCJP Coordinator, Boniface Chibwana, the Catholic Church officials say that recent happenings in Malawi “point otherwise as it is clear that the Tonse Government has lost direction to realize the political promise with which the new regime gained public trust and confidence. The hope of many Malawians - especially the youth - is fading.”

In President Lazarus Chakwera-led administration, they add, there "seems to be no policy direction and as a result, many people are losing trust in the Tonse Alliance Government." 


CCJP officials explain, “The Tonse Government is losing touch with the collective agenda to elevate the socio-economic welfare of Malawians and to improve the quality of governance, which many people embraced.”

"There are incessant wrangles among the Tonse Government political partners, all of them fueled by greed, nepotism and partisan interests spread across the Alliance," the Catholic Church officials add.

They continue highlighting the challenges bedeviling Malawi’s ruling Tonse Alliance saying, “Intra-party contestations and conflicts are manifested in differing politically motivated policy positions and hate speech among the respective political supporters or followers.”

“Deplorably, this is affecting the running of public affairs amid continued socio-economic hardships facing the majority of the people amid COVID-19 pandemic,” officials of the Commissions of ECM members further say, and add, “Poor handling of public interest issues is also accentuated by unclear government direction on supporting small scale businesses and the informal economic sector.” 

“It is deplorable and disturbing that tendencies of nepotism in public appointments continue to thrive despite detestation from many quarters within the society,” the Catholic Church leaders say in their two-page statement titled, “Tonse government, fading hope amid governance lapses: where is the political promise?”

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They further decry the practice of discrimination saying, “This iniquity only worsens social inequalities while debilitating against merit and the equalization of opportunities for inclusive development.”

“Corruption in government procurement processes continues to worsen with rent-seeking behavior flourishing as the politically connected are reported to be benefiting from such corrupt acts,” CCJP officials lament.

While they welcome and laud the new leadership at the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), the Catholic Church leaders observe that “continued politicization of public procurement and political interference in public service provision bodies will render the ACB ineffective.”

Against this backdrop of challenges, the Catholic Church leaders in Malawi invite the ruling Tonse Alliance government to “show decisive leadership and come up with public policies that will favor the poor of the poorest in this country.”

The Tonse Alliance government “should begin delivering on its promises to avoid losing people's trust and confidence,” they emphasize, and caution, “Mere speeches and podium declarations will take this country nowhere.”


The Catholic Church officials also urge the leadership of the Southern African nation to stop “nepotistic public appointment tendencies and cronyism.”

They recommend that ACB “effectively investigate all alleged corrupt acts connected to patrons and political associates of the new regime without any political interference.”

“Public institutions should be allowed to effectively operate with no politicization,” CCJP Officials say, and further urge partners in the Tonse Alliance government to “rise above sheer partisan motives and start delivering in pursuit of the common good.”

“Unnecessary wrangles within the Alliance should be stopped. It is an insult to Malawians for Alliance partners to be arguing about who actually won the fresh Presidential election while most Malawians are sinking deeper and deeper into abject poverty and worsening level of unemployment,” officials of the ECM Commission say. 

They also call on the Tonse Alliance Government to “practically demonstrate its concrete plans to support small scale businesses and the informal economic sector as poor socioeconomic conditions haunt many people.”

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Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.