Analysts say Mutharika speech inspires hope in Malawians

Malawi analysts have hailed President Peter Mutharika State opening of parliament’s speech, saying it was progressive and well-focused.

Malawi Economic Justice Network (MEJN) boss Dalisto Kubalasa said the speech was rich because it highlighted a number of commitments which would help better the lives of ordinary Malawians.

“We are optimistic. We are seeing that quest, raising the expectations that we should be hoping for a better Malawi,” said Kubalasa.

Billy Banda: Motivating speech
Billy Banda: Motivating speech

He said what President Mutharika stand on civil society and on access to information was “an interesting aspect” in the address.

President Mutharika recognised that the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Non- Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and the media play an “important role” in the economic and social development of the country.

He said in recognition of their role, his government will “endeavour to motivate the CSOs and NGOs to meaningfully complement Government’s work.”

Mutharika announced that government will review the NGO law “to facilitate, and not stifle, their contribution in the development of the country.”

The President also said government would “expedite the process to enact the Access to Information Bill into law.”

He also said the DPP administration will ensure that Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) and the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) are “professional” and report to Parliament annually as required by law.

Mutharika said leadership will “continue to create a conducive environment for freedom of speech and freedom of the press”.

Chairperson of the Malawi’s media watchdog MISA- Malawi Anthony Kasunda also welcomed Mutharika’s promise to bring the Access to Information bill before parliament- a draft bill of which has been under consideration for the past eight years;.

Kasunda said it was “a positive development.”

Many media practitioners also welcomed the President speech on the bill but called for more media reforms such as an improvement of the conditions under which presidential; media conferences are held.

Previously, journalists have been intimidated and heckled for asking “the wrong questions” at presidential media conferences.

Also commenting on the President’s speech, Justice Link Executive Director Justin Dzonzi said pronouncements were “ambitious” and all that remained was for the Government to implement them.

Malawi Watch boss Billy Banda told Nyasa Times that Mutharika’s vision for the country was “motivating.”

Banda described the speech as inspiring because it touched on “various major issues.”

Human Rights activist Billy Mayaya said he was also “impressed” with the contents of the President’s speech.

Malawi Health Equity Network (MHEN) Executive Director, Martha Kwataine said the speech was “quite comprehensive”.

“The President talked issues of incentives for all civil servants working in rural areas. At first it was only teachers who were given hard ship allowances, but now I hope that nurses and doctors would also benefit,” said Kwataine.

In his speech, Mutharika called for “unity of purpose.”

“I strongly believe that, together, we can turn around the plight of the people of Malawi. We can make Malawi a nation of endless opportunities and a better place for everyone. It will not happen overnight, but, with dedication and hard work, we can transform our country from poverty to prosperity,” he said.

He persuaded Malawians from all sectors of the society and members of all political parties to join him in transforming the economy for “a better Malawi.”

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