Malawi Anglican Church backs JB: ‘Malawians should stop whingeing’

The Anglican Church in Malawi, despite the prevalent discontent among many citizens over President Joyce Banda’s style of administration, has deposited its weight behind her policies and governance.

The Anglican Diocese of Southern Malawi, in a statement  issued at the end of its Seventh Synod Meeting held from April 13 to 14, asked Malawians to stop complaining and practicing cheap politics.

“We believe that as Malawians instead of complaining and throwing cheap political shots at each other we need to find solutions to this situation. It is not the president alone, the government alone nor outsiders who can help us out. It is all of us together,” reads the statement, produced by the bishop, priests and the laity in the diocese.

The England-originated church observes that given the existing circumstances President Banda had no choice but to devalue and float the kwacha, among other decisions, that it believes is important to embrace a managed float which is variation on the free float mechanism.

 Head of Anglican’s South Malawi Diocese Bishop James Tengatenga with Pres. Banda Malawi also joined the President in commemorating Dr David Livingstone

Head of Anglican’s South Malawi Diocese Bishop James Tengatenga with Pres. Banda

It observes that many countries use the float system to determine the rates of exchange where under the regime Reserve Banks intervene and help to set the exchange rates by trying to smooth out the fluctuations and volatility of the currencies.

“The Reserve Bank must address the structural adjustments especially regarding base lending rates which commercial banks pass on to customers if the country is to create an environment conducive to economic growth boom.

“Financial and banking reforms must start with the Central Bank. In fact, the whole financial sector needs reforming to re-position it so that it can spearhead and spur national economic growth, job creation and price stability,” says the statement.

It, therefore, observes that failures of development cannot solely be attributed to the inability of the government, institutions and people in-charge of implementing it.

“Instead of finger pointing and the current blame game let us dig into the recesses of our minds and bring out our God given knowledge and skills and find the answers,” advises the church while also adding that it would be prudent for government to heed people’s cry on over expenditure on the budget.

However, the church says it is aware that majority of Malawians are passing through hard times with high inflation, currently registered at 37.5 percent, and its attendant high cost of living.

“The pain and the experience of the devaluation of the Kwacha cannot escape our attention as we are all feeling the pinch. HIV and AIDS continue to decimate our people while gender based violence continues to be prevalent,” it observes.

The church also says it knows that a lot of people think things could be different and that the current decaying economic situation could have been avoided.

“For all our life as the modern country of Malawi, we have never known the real value of our money. In colonial times it was the British Pound and in the immediate post-independence it was still the pound afterglow that gave strength to our currency.

“In later independence years, it was a combination of the cold war economic factors and some of our agriculture that helped the government to peg our currency. Pegging the exchange rate, though it seems good is still artificial and thus not a true reflection of the value of our currency or any currency for that matter,” states the statement.

The church believes the afore-mentioned factors helped cushion the nation from the effects of the artificial value then.

“Unfortunately, for political reasons, rather myopic, we would add, successive governments strangely believed that as a country we could weather it. It is our observation that last year the government got wise to the fact and did what we all know and for the first time since the inception of the modern country of Malawi we now know the true value of our money,” says the Anglican Church adding that Malawians are not oblivious of the effects.

On agriculture, the church advises that short term and unsustainable programmes will not take Malawi anywhere and there is need for long haul.

“Continuity rather than always beginning from scratch and pretending to reinvent the wheel in government strategic growth programmes for partisan credit should be discouraged at all cost. It costs Malawian lives,” states the church.

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