The influential Catholic church in Malawi has expressed gratitude for the end to a strike by more than 100,000 government employees but rued the plight of the nation’s poor.
The Church has since urged President Joyce Banda and her government to show serious responsibility in proactively dealing with economic hardships that face the country from time to time.
In a statement issued by Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP), signed by the Commission National Secretary, Chris Chisoni, said the government must not wait for ugly scenes and complete paralysis of its businesses for it to take essential and concrete steps towards effective solutions.
“Malawi is seriously entrenching a two-tier society with over 80% of the population struggling to survive and depending on poor, over-stretched and quality-compromised public service delivery; while the 20% are affording privatized education, health and security services,” CCJP said in a statement.
“This 20% of the population … is creating a section of passive and irresponsive citizenry that has become silent to the plight and cries of the majority poor.”
Commenting on the recent public workers strike demanding more pay due, CCJP said the workers “ought always to propose reasonable and fair salary structural changes that our government can afford to implement; this is taking into consideration the other over-burdening responsibilities that Malawi government has to fulfill towards the common good of all Malawians.”
The Bishops urged Parliamentarians to quickly respond to the salary structural disparities by proposing and legislating on measures that should take away the financial woes from citizens and civil servants.
“This midterm budget review is the opportune time not overlooking the next budget sitting. If it is the parliament of the people for the people and must benefit the people, then, action now for the better lives of the people is a must,” explained the Bishops.
They stated that Faith-based Institutions, NGOs CSOs should mobilize themselves in support of the civil servants and the general citizenry by way of pushing the agenda of government to review the current economic policy framework that is causing misery and destitution.
“Let us not politicize this to seek votes in 2014. Let us collaborate our efforts to push this government top leadership to proactively respond to these challenges. Let us work together as a country facing a huge problem causing death and destitution,” observed the Bishops.
The Catholic Commisison urged media houses in the country to bring forward cases to amplify the cause for the friends demonstrating for better packages resulting from the hard-hitting economic policies.
And to all Malawians, CCJP reminded that “service delivery by government is huge and if paralyzed due to any impasse between government and civil servants, we all lose and this is a recipe for more problems for this country.”
Government spokesperson Moses Kunkuyu Minister of Information Moses Kunkuyu said government will take heed of the advise given by CCJP.
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