JB says ‘time for excuses is gone’: Malawi must embrace democracy

Malawi President Joyce Banda has said the nation should not embrace democracy and good governance because of external pressure but on for its own volition.

The President, speaking  on Thursday to a group of Malawi economists meeting in Mangochi and monitored on state broadcaster MBC,  said her  government recognizes that democracy must be embraced as a public good in itself not as a pre-condition for aid.

“A democratic tradition, respect for human rights, and a good governance disposition allow our people to express themselves and determine their destiny as fully empowered citizens,” she noted.

President Banda said in Malawi the majority of citizens are crippled by poverty, inequality and unemployment.

President Mrs.Joyce Banda speaking when she opened the conference
President Mrs.Joyce Banda speaking when she opened the conference

“We therefore need to strive to creatively and simultaneously achieve both good governance and economic prosperity as a necessity,” she said.

Adding: “ We cannot use our historical problems to justify incompetence, corruption, lack of economic vision, poor execution, and clumsy negotiation capacity. The time for excuses is gone. As a nation, we must wake up and take charge of our destiny. And this we must do now.”

Banda, who faces election next year and  has won acclaim in the West for austerity measures and gestures to bolster the economy of the impoverished country,  said  her administration continued to implement reforms aimed at enhancing accountability, transparency and efficiency in public service delivery.

“I have also introduced Ministerial Delivery Meetings to have first hand information on the progress and challenges the public service is facing. It was evident in the meetings that the ministries have not been talking to each other and this either retarded progress in programs, decision making processes and duplication of efforts. The Doing Business Reform Program has revealed that most of our ministries and departments were not complementing each other efficiently,” she disclosed.

Banda said government is also working to ensure that there is coordination between ministries and departments.

“Even more importantly is the need for all civil servants to own the national economic agenda and deliver it in the most efficient and effective way.”

Banda said all the aspirations of Malawians as stipulated in the vision 2020, Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS), and also the Economic Recovery Plan (ERP) can only be achieved if  the government strengthen the workforce and institutions, both in the public and the private sectors.

“I think it is also time for us as nation to review the Vision 2020 and all these development plans and develop a National Master Plan that can be implemented by any Government that comes into power without necessarily changing the development pillars. We need to brand our national development agenda so that we can fairly compete in the global economy,” she said.

Banda said her Government is willing to take on board bold recommendations that will come out of the Economic Association of Malawi conference.

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