United Nations resident cordinator in Malawi, Mia Seppo has said the country’s development path is not sustainable and has called for a collective and compassionate leadership across all sectors of the society at a time of social economic challenges.
Seppo was speaking during the opening of the two day Public Affairs Committee (PAC) 5th All Inclusive Stakeholder Conference at Mount Soche Hotel, Blantyre where a cross-section of Malawians is discussing the future of the country with is facing economic crisis..
The UN envoy said by listening to reflections of Malawians from all walks of life, there is a clear concern and consensus that the country is facing daunting economic and food security challenges.
She said the PAC conference which is being held under the theme “demand a better Malawi” the message calling for change is strong and that the consensus that change is needed is the common ground on which the conference should be anchored and it should also galvanize every Malawian to put the country first in their discussions.
” Your willingness to gather in this manner, from across all sectors to constructively discuss difficult issues is a very an admirable part of Malawian culture and to bring substantive change is no single individual’s challenge, it is every individual Malawian’s challenge; and it must be married with action,” she said.
Said Seppo: “I believe the lion that needs to be tamed is mistrust. The voices calling for change in Malawi see the politicization of everything eating away much needed patriotism and affecting the quality of the public discourse.
“With the challenges the country faces, the best brains and ideas of all Malawians need to contribute to government decisions and policies, all Malawians need to feel part of the map to the future.”
Seppo then said the conference provides spaces, where all Malawians, irrespective of party, religious or ethnic affiliation can meet and air out their views, trust that their views will be listened to and debated with respect and not coloured by either conspiracy theories, or superstition.
Quoting former South Africa president Nelson Mandela , Seppo said:”A Nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but it’s lowest ones.”
Seppo has since called participants at the conference to hold the discussions with love and compassion with the sole aim of turning the suffering of a large segment of the Malawi population into hope for a better future.
“So what is the picture we are worried about? With more erratic weather patterns, the rate of deforestation, the pressure on service delivery from a rapidly growing population, a decade of year after year of short term humanitarian responses;
“High stunting rates, the pressure to create jobs in an undiversified economy, and the high levels of violence against women, girls and boys, the development trajectory of Malawi is not sustainable. It is a trajectory of a vicious cycle,” she pointed out.
Government is being represented by Goodall Gondwe, Jappie Mhango, Hetherwick Ntaba, Bright Msaka, Yacinta Chikaonda, Samuel Tembenu and Henry Mussa and the former Speaker of the National Assembly Chimunthu Banda is the moderator (Director of ceremonies) of the conference.
The indaba by the influential inter-faith civil society grouping is discussing the political, economic and food shortages that have virtually making Malawi fast going into a failed state.
The conference has unruffled quite a few feathers with government claiming that it has been organised to topple the government of President Peter Mutharika.
But PAC spokesman, Catholic priest Peter Mulomole, said Malawians have a democratic right to hold a lawful assembly anywhere in the country.
On instigating regime change, Mulomole described the allegation as paranoia.
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