President Peter Mutharika’s New Year message is a rather sober one, but it’s not downbeat as his aim is to demonstrate to Malawians that his policies are putting the country on the right track, and to that end he makes some strong points on igniting economic growth and to make performance-related changes.
Mutharika described 2016 as a success in which government worked hard to manage the drug crisis and theft that haunted public hospitals in the previous years.
“We have managed the hunger situation much better than we did in 2015 and 2014. I want to thank the various humanitarian organizations for supporting us to ensure that the most vulnerable Malawians get food. Nobody, and I repeat, Nobody is going to die of hunger. As I speak, we have enough stocks to take the country into the next season,” said Mutharika.
He also hailed the Police for improving national security and taking down crime rate and lauded all persons and agencies that worked with police to protect people with albinism.
Mutharika dismissed what he called “negative perception” that there is leadership failure, saying those propagating such assertions are driven by a “negative mindset.”
“Every day, they want you to believe that we are failures. They want to undermine our determination to succeed by making us believe that we are failures. But I say to you, never think like a failure.
“They want you to believe that nothing is happening, simply to undermine everything that is happening. And I say to you; never allow anyone to make you undermine your country. In the year 2017, let us rise above and say no to negative mindset! The ability to achieve greater goals is founded on a more positive mindset,” the Malawi leader said.
Encouraging optimism about Malawi ’s trajectory to economic revival, Mutharika said: “ Let us come into the New Year with a positive economic mindset. For every problem, there is a solution. For every challenge, there is an opportunity. “
“Most countries have built great economies out of ruins. The fact that you are faced with challenges is not a reason to be hopeless. After all, hope comes where there are challenges. And courage comes where there is fear,” said Mutharika,
He said economists at the International Monetary Fund have projected that in 2017, the global economy will grow at the rate of 3.4% and the Malawian economy will exceed that and hit 5% growth.
“IMF also projects that inflation will make a drastic fall in Malawi,” he said
Mutharika’s remarks on economic forecast by IMF were a rebuttal to the pessimism fostered by the opposition and a call on Malawians to hold their nerve.
“Let us continue working hard. Malawi is a land of opportunities and we should all be proud of that,” he stated.
Continued President Mutharika in his message: “As individuals, we must believe in our capacity. We must have the right investment mindset.”
He pointed out that coupled with the various public sector reforms and zero tolerance to corruption, Malawi has become one of the most attractive places to invest.
“ While Foreign Direct Investment is on the rise, I want to encourage my fellow Malawians to take advantage of the improved investment environment and invest. In our individual lives, families and businesses, no matter how little, we all have something we can build on and invest.
“Most of us have assets that we can turn into capital. I know a boy who walked from his village to the city and sold his old radio to start a humble business. Out of that radio, he became a vendor and today he is big in businesses.
“Most of us can do better than we think. With self-confidence and determination, you can make 2017 a year of personal achievement.”
President Mutharika also commented on concerns on widespread corruption in government, saying he is equally concerned.
“ I know that some people are making every effort to make it look like my government is the most corrupt on earth in order to blackmail us from pursuing them. But I also know there are some of you who get concerned with corruption and theft of public funds because you love your Government and your country,” said Mutharika.
He argued that there are both “patriotic and political motives” in the debate on corruption.
Malawi Congress Party (MCP) leader Lazarus Chakwera , who is also leader of Opposition in Parliament, in his new year message, fauled the Mutharika administration of fuelling corruption.
But the President said fighting corruption is long drawn war.
“ Every war is fought in battles, and so far, we have won all court cases on cashgate. More battles are in, or on the way to the courts of law. The war against corruption is on, and we will win it. When we come after you, never say I am persecuting anyone,” said Mutharika.
Mutharika said he is looking forward to the new year with” better implementation and performance.”
He said: “ I want to see swift action and better results. I want to see more discipline in the public sector. I want a clean public service. I want efficiency. I want effectiveness.”
Mutharika said he will not hesitate to make performance-related changes, “ if I am not convinced you are doing your best.”
He said: “Let us all go into the New Year to live a purpose-driven life, to be performance-driven and to be result-oriented. “
President Mutharika used his new year message to trumpet the three pillars which include patriotism, integrity and hard work to support the public service reforms and national development.
Mutharika pledged to commit to continue providing “effective leadership” and that he will make the “necessary changes” to make 2017 a year of progress.
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