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.
“ 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.
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.
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 .
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.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :