Four United Kingdom (UK) members of Parliament under the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association are visiting Malawi from Monday to Thursday and have predicted more tough times for impoverished citizens after the hike of fuel prices at a time the majority of Malawians is struggling to make ends meet.
The members of the delegation are Oliver Colvile MP, Kate Osamor MP, Liam McArthur MSP and Angela Crawley MP.
Colvile said the “highly insensible” price increase of fuel in times of economic turmoil will create more poverty, because when the price of petrol rises in Malawi, the price of everything else goes up too.
“I just hope government and the MPs will find the best means of ensuring that the poor do not suffer due to this [rise in fuel prices],” he said.
The UK MPs will run a programme for young Members of the National Assembly, looking at good parliamentary practice and procedures so that their Malawian counterparts are better equipped to conduct oversight, legislative and financial scrutiny.
MP, Kate Osamor, urged local MPs to put aside politics and endeavor to provide tangible solutions to people’s problems.
In underscoring the importance of this visit, British High Commissioner to Malawi, Simon Mustard said: “Parliament has a vital role to play in any democracy. It should offer scrutiny of policy and policy makers and provide a forum for all issues of national interest to be discussed. For Malawi, which has a predominantly youthful population, Parliament also needs to respond to and engage with young people.”
The programme will also tackle issue-based campaigning, especially by youth groups, and the MPs are also expected to hold discussions with representatives from civil society and media.
Speaker of the National Assembly Richard Msowoya has welcomed the trainings, saying they are timely as Malawi is considering influencing young people to take up positions of leadership, including those in the Legislature.