Government has said the participation of President Professor Peter Arthur Mutharika in the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) enabled Malawi to demonstrate to the global community the success stories the country has recorded in combating AIDS, women and youth empowerment among other efforts.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr Emmanuel Fabiano alongside Director of Communications for State Residences, Dr Bright Molande and other top government officials said this when they addressed members of the press on Thursday afternoon on the outcomes of the President’s participation at UNGA.
According to a statement read during the briefing, Malawi’s representation at UNGA was vital and a successful one as it accorded the country a platform to showcase the strides it has made in ending child marriages, protection of the girl child, combating cancer and leading in mobilizing resources for global education.
“Malawi’s participation at UNGA and other high-level meetings was highly successful. The delegation was able to consult and solicit support in our efforts aimed at the successful implementation of the sustainable development goals,” Presidential Press Officer Mgeme Kalilani read the statement.
The statement said both the President and the First Lady Dr Gertrude Mutharika met with important global political and economic players with a passion to support Malawi’s development agenda.
“This was one of the most successful times of Malawi’s participation in global affairs that affect the lives of the people here at home,” the statement stated.
However the Foreign Affairs Minister took the opportunity to dismiss assertions from some quarters that by not being physically present during the briefing, the President was deliberately trying to avoid addressing some other matters of national interest.
“We held a similar briefing in September before the UNGA and the President was not here either and this is a follow up meeting to that. This medium is not meant to be used to respond to some other matters other than that about UNGA.
“The President is well informed of all the pressing issues that have recently happened and at an appropriate time and place he will provide an update and responses like he does always,” said Dr Fabiano explained.
He said there is no statutory procedure in place which demands for a President to report to the nation a particular way when he comes back from assignments abroad.
“What we are doing here is the best in our efforts in being accountable to the people of Malawi. This report we are giving now is the highest call in the demand of being accountable. And this did not require the President to be here in person or to be done at a particular time,” the Minister said.
He said Malawians should be patient to see the fruits of the President’s interactions in New York as some of the agreements reached during the trip may take a while to take off the ground.
“The President engages with people at the very, very highest position of decision making and it would be unrealistic to expect the results of such engagements in three weeks. What needs to be done is to follow up on the primary agreements that were struck,” the Minister said.
On his part Dr Molande said it was worth noting of some of the personal sacrifices the President made in ensuring that the trip is less costly for Malawi citing the President’s non-use of a private jet and the choice to be sleeping on the eastern side of New York city where hotel rates are lower.
“Our President did the opposite of what other heads of state from other countries did. It requires great humility for a state President to do that. He made a lot conscious decisions to make sure our economy continues to improve as we cut on expenditure,” he said.
During the trip President Professor Mutharika was expected to attend to 39 official engagements but due to his tight schedule he only managed to personally attend 16 meetings while delegating the rest to two ministers and three ambassadors.
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