At this time, when many opportunists would like to take advantage of the so-called ‘Cashgate scandal’ to score cheap political points, Malawians must stand resolute against going off-track in the fight against theft and corruption in the public service.
It is also time that must offer, all of us, together, the possibility to recommit ourselves to work for a better future for all our people.
In the past 18 months, the nation has seen many gains on many fronts as we continued to work for the consolidation of a united, just and democratic society, marked by economic prosperity and the eradication of poverty.
Gradually, step by step, our country proceeds from its painful past. We, its citizens, regardless of whether we are very close to the coal face of change or not, easily see the positive and steady adjustment that informs all aspects of our national life, compared to this same time last year. The past is well known to all of us.
It is a past of an economically and socially divided country, of masters and servants, of politically inspired conflict and mistrust.
It is a past of endemic and widespread poverty and gross imbalances in levels of development and the distribution of wealth, income and opportunity. It is a past of an economy that was immersed in a crisis that was destined to worsen.
It is a past of the denial of freedom to the majority, gross violation of human rights and repression, of entrenched prejudice and gender imbalances, a past of high levels of crime, violence and corruption.
It is a past of a Malawi isolated by our neighbours and friends, a pariah among the nations, so to speak. It is away from this painful past that our country has been progressing and must progress.
Our first lingering responsibility, in this regard, must always be the need for us to recognize the reality that as a people we do indeed share this common legacy. We have to continually make the determination that this was a legacy that we did not desire and we are, therefore, committed to eradicate.
It is gratifying, that apart from a few Ntatas of this world, there is constant determination and indomitable spirit not to give a chance to defeat but to confront our challenges, with the zeal of patriots, for the good of our country.
Ordinary, but truly, heroic Malawians are not daunted by the difficulties they know we confront.
They are not discouraged or overwhelmed by the litany of negative messages about our country to which all of us are exposed daily.
They see no benefit, for themselves or our country, in highlighting the deficiencies of our society and minimizing the achievements we have scored collectively.
Indeed, the difficulties that our country faces serve as an imperative to these fellow Malawians to persist along their chosen path of working even harder to build a new society.
It is thanks to their common efforts that we can be bold enough to say that we have continued to move forward away from our painful past. To build on these constructive efforts, we must dedicate ourselves to building unity in action for change.
Let us proceed with renewed confidence in our collective strength to ensure that our democracy will continue to serve all our citizens.
We must be determined to accelerate our progress towards the realization of the goal of a better life for all Malawians.
Everybody, whether in government, in opposition, civil society, business and patriotic individuals deserves appreciation for the work they do to ensure that our country becomes the success we all want it to be.
This important work has impacted on all elements of our national life, including the strengthening of our democracy, the continuing recovery of our economy, the further opening of the doors of opportunity for all, the improvement of the safety and security of all our citizens, and increasing our capacity to meet our international responsibilities to our Continent and the rest of the world.
Government and its social partners continued to work towards eliminating poverty, reducing gender inequality and guaranteeing safe motherhood and child development in our society.
However, the critical challenge of reducing poverty and inequality still persists. Accordingly, during the coming days, government seems poised to redouble its efforts vigorously to increase the tempo of economic growth and job creation, to raise the floor of prosperity that must go with our democracy.
Clearly, Government seems intent to work to ensure that it works to improve the effectiveness of all interventions directed at accelerating the advance towards the achievement of a better life for all our people.
More work must be directed at reducing a sustained deficit in the balance of trade, which reflects that we are importing more than we are exporting.
As the Government of Malawi continues to pursue the goal of a higher rate of economic growth, driven by increased investments and improvements in productivity, we must sustain our focus on the challenge of raising the skill levels among our working people.
Similarly, we must use the foundations we have laid further to accelerate the access, especially of the poor, to adequate housing, accessible and affordable health care, free basic services, education, water and sanitation, electricity and so on.
At the same time, within the context of a properly targeted anti-poverty strategy, we must continue to attend to the task of ensuring that our system of social safety nets reaches the people most in need, to provide the necessary cushion to protect as many people as possible from falling into abject poverty.
We are called upon to consolidate our hard-won freedom so that we realize our vision of attaining a better life for all.
This constitutes a call to the whole nation to unite in action to speed up the process of change in our country to realize our common dream to ensure that all Malawians enjoy a better life.
We still have too many people who are poor. There are too many people without jobs. There are too many people without houses. There are still too many children who study in dilapidated schools, if not under trees.
Effectively to respond to all these challenges, we must act together with all hands on deck to speed up change!
The brutalities of the past—detentions without trial, disappearances of our people, deaths in detentions, hangings of those opposed to the powers that were, imprisonment, exile, massacres, assassinations, forced removals, banishments, and many more oppressive laws that made our lives unbearable—are testimonies that our freedom was never free.
Although today we walk tall, speak and act freely, we all still carry scars that remind us that our freedom that is at times taken for granted, never came on a silver platter.
Our nights cannot but be nights of nightmares while millions of our people live in conditions of degrading poverty.
Sleep cannot come easily when children get permanently disabled, both physically and mentally, because of lack of food.
No night can be restful when millions have no jobs, and some are forced to beg, rob and murder to ensure that they and their own do not perish from hunger.
Our minds will continue the restless inquiry to find out how it is possible to have a surfeit of productive wealth in one part of our common globe and intolerable poverty levels elsewhere on that common globe.
There can be no moment of relaxation while the number of those affected by HIV-AIDS continues to expand at an alarming pace.
Our days will remain forever haunted when frightening numbers of the women and children of our country fall victim to rape and other crimes of violence.
Nor can there be peace of mind when the citizens of our country feel they have neither safety nor security because of the terrible deeds of criminals and their gangs.
Our days and our nights will remain forever blemished as long as our people are torn apart and fractured into contending factions by reason of the tribal and gender inequalities, which continue to characterize our society.
Neither can peace attend our souls as long as corruption continues to rob the poor of what is theirs and to corrode the value system, which sets humanity apart from the rest of the animal world.
The full meaning of liberation will not be realized until the people are freed both from oppression and from the dehumanizing legacy of deprivation we inherited from our past.
What we did in 1964 to gain Independence was to begin the long journey towards the realization of this goal. When the millions of our people went to the polls in 1993 to usher in Democracy, they mandated their Government to pursue this outcome.
Mr. Ntata; Mr. Foster Fundi, let’s not betray ourselves; let’s not let ourselves down. This is our country, together. You are in Europe; in America, temporarily.
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