PAC to resume democracy advocacy in 2012

The Public Affairs Committee (PAC), a grouping of religious leaders in Malawi has  announced it will resume its  democracy advocacy role in the new year.

The organisation through chairperson Rev MacDonald Kadawati says 2011   has been  the  worst  year as  far   as  economic  and  political  governance  is  concerned with  enactment of bad laws, acute  shortage   of  fuel  and  forex .

PAC said in   the  country’s  history Malawians  have  faced  “untold  suffering” under Mutharika administration in the year.

Kadawati: Describes 2011 as the worst year

“ We  also  noted  the  acute  shortage  of  drugs   in  hospitals  forcing  Malawians  to  purchase  their  own  medicine   in  pharmacies  in  the  towns  and  cities  of Malawi,” reads the statement made available to Nyasa Times.

PAC disputed overused cliché by  government officials   that  these developments  are  as  a  result  of   Malawi  being   a  “landlocked” country.

“After all, Malawi has not become landlocked today.  During (Bakili) Muluzi’s  and  Dr  (Kamuzu) Banda’s  regime  Malawi  was  a  landlocked country , but we  never  had   a  crisis  of  this  magnitude ,” said the grouping.

“The today’s   unprecedented   challenges have gone beyond people’s imagination,” the statement  reads.

Demo  

The religious grouping also recalled the nationwide anti-Mutharika protests which led to  the  handing  of   a  20-point  petition  to  the  leadership  demanding  redress to  issues  of  economic  and  political  governance.

PAC said it  remains  saddened  for  the  loss  of  life  of  those  who  were  killed  during  the  period  of  demonstration.

“While  we  could  be  busy  working  day  and  night   to  replace  the  damaged  property but  no  one  can  replace  lives  that  have  been  carelessly  taken  away. In  view of  this, Malawians  should  not  quickly  forget  these  incidents , and  those  who  committed  these  acts  must  be  held  accountable.”

PAC  said organizing   peaceful  demonstrations   is  a  constitutional right  which cannot  be  taken  away  from   Malawians.

 Dialogue

PAC  said it has  been  in  involved  in  the  national  dialogue  through  its  secretariat  and commended the  UN  for   facilitating  but observes  that  the  results  may  not  be  to  people’s  satisfaction.

“The  public  believes  that  the  negotiating  teams  seem  to  have  different  levels  of  mandate. However, we  should  appreciate  that  this  dialogue  emanated  from  the  process  of  planning  the  17  August  demonstration  which  had  its  own  dynamics.

“We  are  aware   that  the  whole  process  of  dialogue  is  always  complex ,  and  dynamics  change  now  and  again. Be  that  as  it  may,  it  is  important  to  be  clear  whether  the  progress   on  dialogue  will  based  on  resolutions  reached  or  implementation  of   such  resolutions.  The  latter  will  determine  whether    dialogue  is  based  on  the  people’s  needs  or  not,” said the statement.

PAC sais   as   long  as  people  continue  to  suffer  from  the  same  challenges  that  ignited  dialogue, the  process  itself  loses  value  and  it  becomes  detached  from  the general  public and calls for a “ multi-faceted “ approach .

Advocacy

PAC says every  Malawian  knows  that  where the country has   reached,  politically  and  economically , things  have  fallen  apart.

“There are promises that things will improve.  We welcome such promises. However,  the  position  of  PAC  is  that  the  problems  in  Malawi  are   not  only  fuel  and forex  as  other  people  would  like  us  to  believe.

“Even  if  fuel  is  available  today, it  does  not  mean  that  the retrogressive  nature  of  our  economy  and   political  governance  is solved.”

It said the  20 – Point  petition  of  2011  highlights  several  challenges  Malawi  faces  and called on leaders  to  take  responsibility  “because  Malawians  are  suffering  at  the  moment .”

PAC  informed  that  it  will  resume  its  public  policy  influence  and  advocacy  role  in  2012  “so  that  Malawians  can  voice  out  the  way  forward   in  collective  fashion.”

“We had to give way to dialogue   in addressing    Malawi’s challenges. Now , time  has  come  to  revert  to  advocacy  for  the  realization  of  policy  influence   and  political  reforms  as  we     approach  2014 ,” said the statement

The faith leaders said they hoped  Malawians  will   enter  the  new  year  with  strong  resolutions   as  they  seek  sustainable  solutions  to    the country’s  problems.

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