As Malawi finds itself on the verge of economic collapse, outgoing British High Commissioner Michael Nevin has said it is time to build a better nation, a better future for the children but said “change has to come “ and it has to be “radical.”
Nevin was speaking at the British High Commission Residence in Lilongwe during a reception party to celebrate Her Majesty the Queen’s 90th Birthday.
The British diplomat, who departs Malawi in August at the end of his diplomatic tour of duty, said bluntly that “there are signs of building stress on Malawi’s stability.”
He cited increasing mob justice, more militant land disputes, declining water levels, struggling services, year-on-year and increasing need for food aid. Nevin also noted “existential threat” of population growth.
Nevin pointed out potential risk to the rule of law and stability.
He welcomed the formulation of the National Development Planning Commission but advised that it should be independent, reporting to parliament and ensure that each successive government keeps to a popularly-owned roadmap.
Nevin said Malawians should be brave enough to attack cartels, insider trading and collusion, saying such cashgate characteristics is bleeding the nation money.
The British envoy said it is “high time” change has to come to Malawi.
He said change has to be “radical” that takes many “out of their comfort zone and making difficult choices.”
Nevin said Malawians need to “up” their game and do things differently.
In his speech, Nevin said the UK remains committed to helping Malawi, saying they are spending about MK80bn this year in bilateral support alone, with perhaps over half that again in UK contributions through multilateral and international organisations, and through the special relationship Malawi has with Scotland.
“Our aim is to help provide Malawians with the building blocks of health and education that can enable them to live productive lives, particularly girls as the most disadvantaged,” he said.
In pursuit of Malawi’s prosperity, Nevin said UK support private sector development and agri-business.
“To cement the foundations of development, we help strengthen governance institutions and support those working for and defending democratic values and accountability. When Malawi is in crisis – floods or maize shortage – the UK is a friend indeed,” said Nevin, quoting William Shakespeare -“Though thou waters warp, thy sting is not so sharp as friend remember’d not”.
Commenting on the Queen’s birthday, Nevin said Her Majesty has devoted her entire life to the service of others, representing the United Kingdom, and carrying out all her duties with “extraordinary grace and humility.”
He said Her Majesty has been steadfast, a rock of strength for the UK and for the Commonwealth.
At the event, they also celebrated the life of Shakespeare, 400 years since he “shuffled off this mortal coil”.
And they launched a new girls’ empowerment music track headlined by Tay Grin.
There was a short performance of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet by Mzuzu University students and launch of “Romio and Julieti” – the translated Chichewa version of the play by Stanley Onjezani Kenani.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :