Malawi presidential debate: What they are saying!

For the first time in the history of our democracy, a Presidential debate was organised and broad cast live on some radios and television stations. 8 Presidential Candidates participated that included Atupele Muluzi, Abusa Sigh, Kamuzu Chibambo, Friday Jumbe, Mark Katsonga, James Nyondo, Professor Chisi and Dr Lazarus Chakwera. President Joyce Banda and Professor Peter Mutharika were among those that did not make it to the debate citing tight schedules. The debate centred on key issues of education, health, governance, agriculture and food and food security.

If the aspirants were to draw resolutions on a roadmap for Malawi to move forward, then some 10 key ones would be:Pres.-Debate

1. Implement universal Agricultural Subsidy Programme. Turn agriculture into agribusiness. Such consensus has been missing for the past 20 years.

2. The education system must be revamped and meaningful investment be made to improve access and quality.

3. Corruption is the major explanation of challenges facing the health sector leading to over reliance on development partners. A real fight against this vice must be rolled out now!

4. Executive Powers, particularly those of the President, must be trimmed and spread across the other arms of government like Parliament and the Judiciary. These arms must not be treated as government departments. Governance institutions like ACB and Office of the Auditor General must be independent from political hands.

5. Poor Governance and corrupt leadership are the major factors contributing to the development misery in Malawi. Malawi need a fresh thinking and a new start to move forward.

6. Political leaders must not corrupt government systems and benefit more from it at the expense of the ordinary people.

7. Malawi citizens must be involved in planning, implementing and monitoring and that transparency and accountability must be the language of leaders.

8. A new and inclusive approach to leadership must be adopted where every citizen irrespective of their political inclination participates in governing the country. No one should be punished because they support a particular political party.

9. Change is necessary and change of players is necessary.

10. The elected president must be on top of this agenda of transformation and sacrifice political ambitions for the sake of Malawians. He/She must face citizens while in office to continue with the dialogue. Dialogue with citizens is an ingredient of democracy.

Listening to them all, one could easily get the sense that they all mean well and wish Malawi a success. It was great to see them debating with sober minds, focusing on issues and a better future for every citizen. Like members of the same family, they seem agree with great passion that it must be business UNUSUAL after May 20.

Thumbs up to the aspirants for turning up for the debate and chose to discuss issues with voters. They ALL WON the debate as they have helped voters to make informed decisions on May 20. They are all passionate about a better future for everyone although they may just differ in determination and resolve.

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