President Peter Mutharika has told global leaders meeting in New York, US that he was elected Malawi’s fifth Head of State in May elections widely criticised as chaotic but he said they were “credible.”
In his maiden address to the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday as Malawi leader, Mutharika told the gathering that the southern African nation on May 20 2014 held its first ever tripartite elections, which enabled Malawians to choose their political leadership, through a democratic and peaceful process.
“ The elections ushered me into office, as the fifth President of the Republic of Malawi,” he said.
Mutharika, however, said despite the “few challenges”, generally the polls were “free, fair, transparent and credible.”
“ In this vein, let me seize this opportunity, to thank all electoral stakeholders, both local and international, for their dedication to ensuring successful elections in my country,” he said, adding: “ Malawi has come out of the election much stronger than before.”
However, the nation is currently facing growing divisions amidst calls for federal system of government and others advocating for the North Malawi independence so that the region can be a standalone state like South Sudan.
In his address to the UN Assembly, US President Barack Obama noted that Malawi had “ peaceful transitions of power .”
But Obama pointed out in his speech that the path to democracy does not end with the casting of a ballot.
He told the Assembly that Nelson Mandela once said: “to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”
According to Obama, true democracy demands that citizens cannot be thrown in jail because of what they believe, and businesses can be opened without paying a bribe. It depends on the freedom of citizens to speak their minds and assemble without fear; on the rule of law and due process that guarantees the rights of all people.
“In other words, true democracy – real freedom – is hard work. Those in power have to resist the temptation to crack down on dissent.
“In hard economic times, countries may be tempted to rally the people around perceived enemies, at home and abroad, rather than focusing on the painstaking work of reform.”
In his address, the Malawi leader told the UN Assembly that much as the country has made some strides in the diverse sectors of national development 50 years after independence, there is still more to be done, in order to uplift the living standards of the many Malawians, who continue to remain below the poverty line.
“They too dream of a better future that is only possible if we work with unity of purpose,” he said.
Mutharika said “in a quest to take development to their micro level,” his government has embarked on a journey, to transform Malawi, for the delivery of satisfactory services to Malawians especially the poor and the marginalized.
The Malawi leader also stressed the importance of this year’s session as it will oversee the development and adoption of the Post-2015 Development Agenda which is to set the path of global sustainable development for decades to come.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :