Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Challenge With the State Presidency

Nothing prepares the victorious presidential candidate for the pressure that builds after the euphoria of electoral victory dies down. Numerous examples in Malawi’s 20 year democratic span bear witness of that.

May be the best way to gauge the abruptness of this change is to look at the tramp cards of former governing political parties on their way to Sanjika Palace in Blantyre and The New State House in Lilongwe.

The United Democratic Front (UDF), for a start, took the nation by storm when it promised the blue moon of Free Primary Education (FPE) in public primary schools.

But no sooner had the euphoria of victory in the June 1994 presidential election descended into reality than former president Bakili Muluzi realised that improving access to the national cake of education entailed more than firing the guards-of-fees who were manning the gates of public primary schools.

As it were, the gates to primary schools were, really, opened to the masses, culminating in the new wave of learners overwhelming the system when enrollment levels rose by over 50 percent, from 1.9 million pupils in 1993/4 academic year to about 3.2 million pupils in 1994/5 academic year.

It did not come as a surprise, therefore, when the ‘Policy and Investment Framework for Education in Malawi’ report later revealed that “The primary education system is beset with serious problems in areas of access, equity, quality and internal efficiency”.

Its damning conclusion was that the government would not be able to meet all the costs required to construct 38,000 classrooms to meet the needs of an expanded primary education.

And, yet, FPE is the horse Muluzi rode on on his way to The State House! Muluzi’s other trump card, Respect for Human Rights, worked so well for a while, too. Only to be thrown to the dogs at the twilight of his administration as The Young Democrats became vicious dogs set loose on opponents of the Open Term bid that later became Muluzi’s Third Term bid to no avail.
Dreams can easily wear off in politics!

Up pops Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) president, the late Bingu wa Mutharika. Although Mutharika stood on the UDF presidential ticket in the 2004 general elections, only to do what former Speaker of Parliament Sam Mpasu describes as “getting into government in order to form a political party; instead of forming a political party in order to get into the government” when he dumped it on February 5, 2004, he came up with his own tramp card: Revolutionising Muluzi’s Starter-Pack programme into the Farm Input Subsidy Programme (Fisp).

Mutharika, who had been touted as an economist of sorts by Muluzi, also promised grow the Malawi economy- something he did to perfection during his first five-year term when Malawi’s economy was reported to be slower only to the oil-rich Qatar in the world.

But his fortunes plummeted during his second term, a stint characterised by thawed relations with development partners, and an economy that was oscillating between the graveyard and the death bed. Under such circumstances, there is no better choice. Depleted foreign exchange reserves also meant fuel became as scarce as hope. Just in the nick of time, Malawi’s economy became an endangered species.

So, a man who rode on the horse of economic growth on his way to The State House found that the dream could no longer hold. As they say, the rest is history.

Then came Malawi’s most immediate former president, Joyce Banda. While Bingu’s horse had two names: Economic Growth and Food Security- nicknamed Fisp- and Muluzi’s horse also had two names, namely, FPE and Respect for Human Rights, Banda came with none.

No. Not none. She rode on the Horse of Death, becoming Malawi forth post-independence president after the death of Bingu on April 5, 2012. Not to be outdone, she introduced her horse; a horse of two names, too: Mudzi Transformation Trust and One Cow per Family initiative.

But, like those before her, she got carried away with excitement and succumbed to the ballot paper now turned political bullet on May 20 this year. She had become so big-headed that attending presidential aspirants’ debates was deemed a time-wasting for her.

And, yet, the houses she constructed and the cows she distributed to society’s less privileged members were her own Achilles heel as the rest of the nation watched in awe. It epitomised systematic failure at its best and, with it, Banda failed the Tripartite Elections Ballot Box test.

As consumer rights activist John Kapito observed in February this year, “President Joyce Banda has lost tough with herself, and people on the ground”.

Which brings us to the question: What is wrong with Malawi’s presidents? Is something wrong with their trump cards, or is there something wrong with their personality?

Lessons from history

However, while the nation eagerly looks forward to how Mutharika’s reign will pan out, there are lessons she can be drawn from history and the country’s past leaders.

One of the most valuable pieces of advice is that given by Greek biographer and philosopher Plutarch who, through his book ‘Parallel Lives’ suggests that the best way to gauge one’s success in life is to equate one’s leadership style to that of past leaders, especially those from other countries.

For instance, Plutarch paired Roman heroes with Greek statesmen and, often, he paired leaders who run parallel in both merits and the odds they faced in a bid to gauge how human beings react to different leadership challenges. In this case, Mutharika may pair himself with former president Muluzi, analyse where Muluzi failed, and see how he could have done better.
He can do so with Malawi’s other leaders, too, all the time remembering that he is his own person, with his own nature, either wild or tamed.

However, his greatest enemy should be recycled politicians. In the past, these politicians have hindered presidents such as Muluzi, Mutharika and Banda from sensing the signs of a malfunctioning economy, tumbling education system, a society ripped apart by HIV and Aids, and a host of other ills- most of which too long term to be solved within a five-year, or 10-year political span.

Otherwise, the recycled politicians will lie in waiting for him, their open arms turning into a mantrap as Mutharika’s political fortunes decline. When they run their full cycle with the new leader, they will drift either northward, southward, eastward or westward, wherever they see the promising eggs of political opportunities.

Take, for instance, the self-proclaimed Chenji Golo Uladi Mussa. He has been part of the UDF administration, DPP administration, and now PP administration. But, make no mistake about it, his constituents in Salima love him.

The good thing about Uladi is that he is an honest politician who has the audacity to call himself Chenji Golo (shift the goal posts). But the others, the more dangerous ones, lurk in the background, ready to pounce on the unsuspecting Mutharika.
Sometimes, the president knows what is going on, but sheer arrogance prompts them to welcome the roving politicians.

Then, there are businesspersons who care more about their businesses’ interests than the president’s reputation. But, while the political opportunist feels childlike excitement of crossing a political divide when they hop from one ruling-now-turned-opposition party to a new ruling party, the businesspersons fall with the fallen leader.

These are some of the little infidelities that threaten to riddle Mutharika’s administration. As time flies, Mutharika will find that people like Kapito- who has already asked the new president to consider abandoning Fisp for the many implementation challenges it faces- will be pulling in one direction, while others will be pulling in another direction, calling for the abolishment of quota system, or management of the Kwacha, among other things.

At the same time, Mutharika should realise that the President’s universe is a network of outer and internal constraints, and that only a sense of relaxed plenitude and the ancient force of belief that helped him excel in his teaching job in countries far and wide will help him escape the hurt of political stones thrown his way.

Let us just hope that Malawi’s politicians are not a root of the same tree because, as the
Chinese say, “The falling leaf returns to the roots of the tree"; meaning that, the beginning is always better than the end, and that it is good to die the time one is born.

This time around, let this saying prove inapplicable in Malawi for the first time since 1994!

After a Stint at State House

...Theatricals of presidents when their political power blacks out

There must be something terribly wrong with Malawian politicians for them to persistently take turns in acting outside the confines of the book of conventional politics.

Save for Malawi’s founding president, Ngwazi Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda- who conceded defeat to United Democratic Front (UDF)’s presidential candidate, Bakili Muluzi, even before the Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) made the official announcement in June 1994- his successors have found it difficult to come to grips with reality, even when their opaque political curtain closes.
A good case in point is that of Muluzi and the most-immediate past president, Joyce Banda. We are not sure if former president, the late Bingu wa Mutharika- who died mid-way through his second five-year term in office on April 5, 2012- would have departed from the ‘unconventional’ script of Malawi politics had he lived beyond his constitutional terms of office.

Otherwise, the trend has been that, once elevated to the highest position in the land, the Head of State and Government ‘climbs out’ of themselves by shedding off the natural human being in them and becoming automated beings remote-controlled by the National Intelligence Bureau (NIB).

In their quest to get acquainted with their new elevated status, they associate themselves with the Who is Whos of this world, and lose touch with voters as they smash into the sky through globe-trotting.

Unsurprisingly, it always comes as a shock to them when, instead of climbing higher through the ballot paper and smashing more skies, they tumble to the ground.

Of course, that does not mean we have had a run of the worst leaders in the world. The truth is that we have had a conundrum of leaders who have been wonderful in their own ways. Some of them, like Muluzi, have been individuals of splendid wit. Some of them, like Joyce Banda, have been individuals of polished taste, courting them the comradeship of the international community. Even Bingu had his own hard sense of humour, too.

Just that, somehow, they all seemed to have a strange disdain for history’s lessons, and ended up repeating the mistakes committed by their predecessors.

Why, for example, did Muluzi depart from his splendid wit and wet sense of humour to become the go-getter who saw no sense in sticking to tenets of the Republican Constitution and fight, the high way, for an Open Term of Office and Third Term? How did he lose the courtship of development partners who came in droves to his dinner table after showing the Malawi Congress Party the Exit Door in 1994?

Why, it may be asked, did Bingu lose the plot to become the donor-chasing president Malawians ended up loathing? How did he lose control of the buttons that controlled the national economy and made it vibrant? Is it that simple to lose knowledge of economics obtained across the seas?

Why, we still wonder, did Joyce Banda abandon her courtesy and unconstitutionally nullify the May tripartite elections when her power spilled out of control? How did she become the hot-headed, over-confident leader we saw between 2013 and 2014? After starting so well by, among other things, stabilizing fuel supplies and mending relations with the United Kingdom, why did the ship run out of control?

Tried, tested hands
The truth is that these are not questions without answers.

The first answer is that, somehow, the leaders surround themselves with characters that are, for unexplained reasons, made to think in the likeness of the leader. And their thinking is mostly lopsided. If not people who think like them, the leaders surround themselves with people they like.

The result is that, this flattering world of politicians and yes bwanas join the conspiracy to shield and protect the country’s leadership from the truth. In almost all such cases, the aim of creating this impenetrable gate of protection is not to serve the public interest but, rather, their interest, often built upon the theory of political and business survival.

So it hits one as nothing strange that, in the end, a cordon of appeasers and boot-lickers vie with each other to keep the common knowledge of what is, really, the truth on the ground and in the public domain, from permeating the inner sanctum.

It is as if the political bootlickers are secretly conscious of the intrinsic inferiority of the national and political leadership and want to take advantage of that. That is why they make sure that the leader’s cooked-up popularity is continually propped up, and his chances of winning the popular vote exaggerated by those who benefit from the status quo. The aim is to create a situation where the leader will feel a sure-enough place in their polarised political sphere.

Finally, when the leader is booted out of power by the supposed simpletons, the voters, the discarded leader discovers that they were living in an artificial world. When they seek their advisors, they find that they have joined the new party in power. They also discover, to their disdain, that it is almost impossible to find any record that resembles the real situation on the ground and citizens’ real opinion of the leaders during their span in office.

Raw deal, the leader cries wolf at last. Yet the yes bwanas are not wholly to blame. The leaders themselves are to blame for their expertise in ‘discovering’ people who were so willing to get consecrated to one great purpose: Guarding the leader from the vicissitudes of the truth and ordinary life.

So, when the yes bwanas specialise in telling their boss what they (bosses) really want to hear, they are just fulfilling the tenets of their job. Who wouldn’t? These are political wannabes with the patience of a cat. They allow the leader to crank towards the truth, but seldom do they allow the leader to get to the real truth. The leaders themselves also forget that, when you are a leader, you don’t need to fear disappointing anyone.

Do you, for example, expect Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) spokesperson Nicholas Dausi (he hasn’t announced his resignation from the position of DPP spokesperson, by the way) to tell President Peter Mutharika the real truth in his capacity as Spy-in-Chief at NIB?

But, every so often, these are the important things national leaders forget when they allow themselves to ‘get out of themselves’ by stopping being the human beings we voted for due to their new-found ability of making things happen at the stroke of a pen.

It is like a foolish individual who, propped up by his own oversized pillow, believes that they have a gigantic stature beyond nature. But, if the truth be told, it is just the pillow exaggerating things.

But, may be the leaders are not to blame for exaggerating their importance. New York City (US)-born psychologist, William James, aptly observed in his essay, ‘On a Certain Blindness in Human Beings’ thus: “Now the blindness in human beings is the blindness with which we all are afflicted in regard to the feelings of creatures and people different from ourselves.

“…Each is bound to feel intensely the importance of his own duties and the significance of the situations that call these forth. But this feeling is in each of us a vital secret, for sympathy with which we vainly look to others...Hence the stupidity and injustice of our opinions, so far as they deal with the significance of alien lives. Hence the falsity of our judgements, so far as they presume to decide in an absolute way on the value of other persons’ conditions or ideals”.

A number of civil society leaders locally have warned against the tendency to treat our leaders as half-gods. For instance, Civic and Political Platform chairperson, Moses Mkandawire, told The Sunday Times in April that “our tendency to worship leaders is to blame for their arrogance. We must abandon the practice of yes bwana, yes bwana (Ture boss, true boss!)”.

Of course, former English Parliamentarian Thomas Babington Macaulay, in his analysis of political philosopher, Italian historian Niccolo Machiavelli’s thinking in the essay ‘Machiavelli’ observes that,” Every age and every nation has certain characteristic vices, which prevail almost universally, which scarcely any person scruples to avow, and which even rigid moralists but faintly censure.”

But Macaulay further observed that, “Succeeding generations change the fashion of their morals, with the fashion of their hats and their coaches; take some other kind of wickedness under their patronage, and wonder at the depravity of their ancestors. Nor is this all. Posterity, that high court of appeal which is never tired of eulogizing its own justice and discernment, acts on such occasions like a Roman dictator after a general mutiny.”

What this means is that we must change our fashion if we discover that some things have not worked in every generation. It, therefore, comes as a surprise that Malawian leaders don’t seem to learn from past mistakes and change. Instead, while immersed in their numerous fits of excitement, rages, and fits, they take the lonely journey into political oblivion.

Only to discover that, the yes bwanas’ humours were only giddy, but never long lasting!

The Downside of Executive Powers epitomised by President Peter Mutharika

The ascent to the highest position in the land has traditionally been perceived as the discovery of easy privileges, like growing wings and flying away from a hungry lion in a mid-night dream.

But, as President Peter Mutharika’s dithering in appointing members of his 20-member cabinet can attest, the powers of a sitting president are huge, but lack a sense of purpose when accompanied by long periods of indecision. In other words, it is apparent that, while the decision to appoint a 20-member cabinet originated from campaign promises that seemed easy to implement at the time, he has been reminded, once again, that talk is cheap and that a lot goes into the President’s head before reality types itself into a presidential decree.

So, against all hopes that the President’s first 100 days in office would remain unsullied by the excessive demands of stakeholders, he found analysts pressing him to announce members of his cabinet on one hand, while the likes of Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera were imploring him to desist from making appointments in bits and pieces.

Others, not to be outdone, joined the fray with their assortment of impossible demands. MCP Member of Parliament for Dedza North West, Alekeni Menyani, rekindled a debate that has been going on with muted voices: Malawi should experiment with the federal government system.

Harry Mkandawire, the outspoken People’s Party legislator, then raised another issue: Nepotism in cabinet appointments. He faulted the President for filling his cabinet plate with faces from one region.

But it was not an all-men affair as women, feeling hard done by in some respects, came calling for pragmatic action. NGO Gender Coordination Network’s national coordinator, Emma Kaliya felt that women were not well-represented in cabinet, with only three- Gender Minister Patricia Kaliati, Health and Population Minister Jean Kalilani, and Youth Minister Grace Chiuma- making it into the 20-member cabinet. Kaliya, like many gender activists, feel that gone is the time when women were believed to be masters at living what those in the West call ‘the easy lot of feminine existence’. This easy lot of feminine existence propagates the idea that women should remain women-like by being kept away from the ‘dangers’ of politics and public life.

In all fairness, Kaliya had a point. The life of a modern woman no longer resembles the tableau of simple domestic bliss we wrongly assume they inhabit. Women have played a critical role in Malawi politics since time immemorial, and even supported nationalists who were fighting for more freedoms. A good case in point is Ida, John Chilembwe’s wife. She supported Chilembwe even when she knew that the feeder-road that her husband took ended only in the highway of death.

To cut a long story short, women should be given a more prominent role in politics and cabinet because, even when they are denied the opportunity to take part in the development of their country, it is a fact that women never will escape the impact of political decisions and government policies on their lives.

But Kaliya was not the only woman who contributed to national discourse in the week gone by. Veteran writer, constitutional lawyer and human rights activist Vera Chirwa added her voice to calls for collaborative efforts in advancing the national agenda. She asked the President to engage those who contested for the presidency.

That was not all she had on her plate, though. She also called for the deregistration of the political bandwagon of briefcase parties, suggesting that, “We might do well with two or at least four parties, and the rest be disbanded”.
But the question is: Do the male leaders listen?

Experience has shown that, in most cases, suggestions from respected women such as Kaliya and Chirwa are not taken into consideration. In fact, we have all signs that their sentiments merely emerge as a tool for activism in the political jungles, rarely succeeding as a weapon against the absurdities of political justice. Take, for instance, the issue of the 50:50 campaign. While the campaign sounded good to the ear, it only became one of those fluffy concoctions of adorably sweet sensibilities because Malawians elected fewer female members of Parliament than in 2009.

Needless to say the campaign ended up as a disaster of double proportions, hammered shapeless by the chauvinistic ballot.
All these developments, occurring in the President’s first 30 days in office after being sworn in on May 30, discard the notion that the ascendancy to power by an aspiring presidential candidate translates into getting things tickled over one’s back, or like growing wings and flying away from a hungry lion in a mid-night dream. It is more serious than that.

From the look of things, this reality seems to have hit the President. What with political parties, human rights activists and other interest groups calling for the President’s attention to this or that, piling more work in the President’s in-tray?

Old versus new
In the end, Mutharika seems to have resolved that it is better to be a man of tradition by not entirely discarding what his predecessors introduced than being a new player in a game whose boundaries are properly defined. That is why recycled faces- meaning, those who served in his brother, the late Bingu,’s cabinet and other administrations- have made it into his cabinet. Finance and Economic Planning and Development Minister Goodall Edward Gondwe served in Bingu’s cabinet; and, so, did Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare Minister Patricia Anne Kaliati, Foreign Affairs and International Corporation Minister George Thapatula Chaponda, Labour Minister Henry Amon Robin Mussa, Health Minister Jean Alfazema Nachika Kalilani, and Minister of Information, Tourism and Civic Education Kondwani Nankhumwa (who deputized Peter as Foreign Affairs and International Corporation Minister during Bingu’s tenure), Natural Resources, Energy and Mining Minister Atupele Muluzi (who served in former president Joyce Banda’s cabinet as Economic Planning and Development Minister), among others.

Unfortunately, by practicing ‘Project Continuation’ type of politics, Mutharika has baffled the nation with his characteristic and perfectly aimed irony, throwing new faces (Francis Kasaila, , Samuel Tembenu, Bright Msaka, Allan Chiyembekeza, Emmanuel Fabiano, Vincent Ghambi, Joseph Mwanamvekha, Jappie Mhango, Grace Chiuma, Paul Chibingu) into the mix while propagating the congenital practice of maintaining the proverbial old broom in the house.

This could, yet again, prove to be the most visible indicator of our presidents’ comic sense.

That pre-election pledges are better made than done is also clear when we consider the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)’s campaign gimmick of subsidizing iron sheets and cement. Just the other day, Vice-President Chilima ‘clarified’ that only the ‘poorer’ will benefit from the same.

Surprisingly, some Malawians were surprised by the turn of events. But who doesn’t know that politicians are jokers who play around with people’s lives. When we accept gibberish from politicians, we simply accept a joker’s invitation to go out for dinner. Chances are that the joker will stick you with the bill and it will be too late for you to refuse to become their victim.

Moral of the story: When we willingly accept to become pawns in a political game, we accept that someone else has begun a game they expect to win at our expense!

Living for ourselves
And there is nothing wrong when politicians do this. They have learned life’s big lesson that, sometimes, it is good to put our interests first. We only invite trouble when we always put the interest of others first, according to renowned author Regina Barreca.

“The trouble,” said Barreca, “(is that) most of us have been brought up to be so concerned with putting the welfare of others before our own that we can’t let ourselves triumph with a great comeback.”

But this does not give the President an excuse either. There were delays in appointing his full cabinet. And, in this respect, we can say his first task (of appointing members of the 20 member cabinet), laboured over when the DPP was preparing its manifesto which was launched full of the high hopes to occupy the highest position in the land, foundered on the first 30-day voyage due to indecision.

That is not to fault Mutharika, however. A hastily written cabinet list, sent away to the spokesperson for the Office of the President and Cabinet Arthur Chipenda for announcement with no thought beyond the plaudits of The-President-is-so-fast it might have brought, would not have sailed with a fair wind straight into public favour.

Instead of coming home heavily laden with an unexpected cargo of positive feedback, it would have been scrutinised and faulted by self-appointed experts, and the wreck might have continued to float long afterward on the liquid papers of history. It would have been the smoke used by opponents to hide their own follies and light their political fires on their way to State House one day.

After all, it takes very little political fire to make a great deal of smoke nowadays!
All these realities must be hitting the President now. And he might already have discovered that the state presidency is not the fortune of tax-free privileges he gratefully received when he was sworn in and inaugurated after the May 20 Tripartite Elections. It is not even half so large as comfy as the world reported it to be.

Remembering the Unsung Hero, Aubrey Kalitera: Victim of Malawi's Second Nature

His stature did not match the nature of a man born as an elevated genius. In fact, his house - purposely situated far away from the glamorous life of Blantyre Central Business District in Manyowe - did not project the scene of an elevated genius when compared to the grandeur of great personalities in other countries.

And yet Aubrey Kalitera, he whose brain churned out more than 20 books - some of which are part of the country’s school curricula - was a great man.

We can as well say Kalitera is the answer writer Judith Sargent Murray (1751-1820) sought - but failed to get - during her life-time, when she queried: “Is it upon mature consideration we adopt the idea that nature is thus partial in her distributions? Is it a fact that she (nature) has yielded to one-half of the human species so unquestionable a mental superiority?

The answer, gauging by the creativity levels in Kalitera’s ‘Why?’ series or his film To Ndirande Mountain with Love, is an irrevocable ‘Yes’.

Of course, as Murray observed, “The province of imagination hath long since been surrendered up to us, and we have been crowned undoubted sovereigns of the regions of fancy”. But the truth is that Kalitera was a man out of the ordinary.

Born on February 8, 1948 in Maselema Village in the area of Traditional Authority Mlumbe, Zomba, Kalitera was unfortunately afflicted by the curse of being an artist in Malawi - rich minds, empty pockets.

Like many creative writers and artists before him, Kalitera bore the blunt of Malawians’ blatant disdain for anything that has a semblance of literature. As renowned author and historian Desmond Dudwa Phiri likes to say, Malawians are blind to any letters typed in a book.

Phiri’s unflattering observation, to the effect that “If you want to hide something from a Malawian, put it in a book”, has been ‘approved’ by the nation through its unwillingness to promote local writers and artists by buying their works.

Take, for instance, Kalitera himself. The only time government supported his works was when it - through the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology - included his book ‘N’chiyani Mwana Wanga’ on the list of recommended Chichewa Literature books for Malawi School Certificate of Education candidates.

Otherwise, the multi-talented author suffered under the barbarous ‘phobia’ towards any artistic work Malawian. This strange behaviour has the inevitable effect of persuading authors and artists that, somehow, they are not good enough.
But that is not the problem.

The problem is that, after making authors and artists buy the idea that they are not good enough, Malawians - including government officials and private sector players - will use the authors and artists accordingly, paying them peanuts for work that costs a leg until they are turned into nobodies.

As proof of it, Malawians spend the whole night at the forsaken artist’s place when they finally give up.

You should have been there to see this happen! On Tuesday, soon after his untimely death on Monday, his Manyowe home was not as deserted as buyers of ‘Why Father Why?’ ‘Why Daughter Why?’ ‘Why Son Why?’ on the market. If the cash did flow as effortlessly as the sad faces of people that thronged to his home, he would have appreciated the warm-heartedness of Malawians.

You should have been there to see this happen. On Wednesday, as people escorted him to his final lasting place at Henry Henderson Institute in Blantyre, it was as if the nation had supported his creative works all along.

Those who know him say Kalitera had a genteel personality, replete with an abundance of roving wit - attributes he inherited from the communal spirit of T/A Mlumbe’s subjects. Growing up among the ever-smiling people of Zomba, so his admirers say, he bred himself into a likeable personality. It was a bent that could not be straightened even by such influences as town-mongering, civilisation, globalisation and whatever makes this generation a careless lot.

“He was one of the best writers in the country, a man who did not hesitate to share his knowledge with others. In fact, he was one of the Malawi Writers Union (Mawu)’s reliable trainers,” said Mawu president, Sambalikagwa Mvona, on Tuesday.

What a shame that his books are not commonplace on local book shelves. Who introduced this custom of ignoring our own geniuses? Whatever the case, Murray was right when she suggested that custom, if allowed to take a hold on our lives, becomes our second nature. Thus, the custom of ignoring the works of geniuses such as Kalitera has become our second nature!

“It is a shame that we treat our authors as nobodies. Look, we have been talking to the government on the issue of supporting us, to no avail. We have been talking to donors so that they can support Malawians authors, but only the Royal Norwegian Embassy has come to our rescue through the cultural scheme,” lamented Mvona, adding:

“Otherwise, the government seems not to care, the donors seem not to care, and Malawians, too, seem not to care. They only appreciate one’s work when you are gone. We cannot continue living like this.”

Greatness in humility

Born in a typical Malawian village in Zomba, Kalitera rose from a humble background and trod the creative corridors that led to international acclaim. Members of the international community, and the small portion of Malawians that cared, found that, suddenly, his every note was a novel, a film script or a non-fiction write up on how to become a good writer.

“He was a spring of creativity. For instance, at the Peer Gynt awards last year, he submitted two books, namely, ‘The Input Substitute’ and ‘Why Poverty?’ He was the only author to submit two books, and that tells you a story about how creative he was. Our loss is great,” Mvona said.

The Mawu president disclosed that the writers’ body planned to honour him at an event slated for August.

“So sad he will not be there in person to receive the honour,” he said.

Malawians must be as shallow as fountains. They make mockery out of geniuses. And only rise up on dark days like Wednesday when the mood is tinted black and the cheeks are wet with tears of regret, a shameless nation laid low with crushing fatigue and depression.

What makes Kalitera’s death harder to deal with is that he was a gem Malawians failed to tame. And, to prove his gem, he trod on in a country that loathes talent, publishing a horde of books in the midst of adversity.

Book Publishers Association of Malawi president Alfred Msadala said despite the challenges faced by Malawian authors, Kalitera showed that it is possible to create works that resonate with international audiences.

“He was unique, knew what he wanted, wrote widely, and many publishers got interested. He was, really, creative and talented, hence catching the interest of international publishers,” he said.

But is it not shameful that Kalitera’s works were admired by foreigners such as author, composer, blogger and music historian S.K. Waller? Waller took Kalitera so seriously that she quotes him on her blog, Incurable Insomniac, as saying about a good writer:

"You know what, it is so funny. A good writer will always find it very hard to fill a single page. A bad writer will always find it easy,” Waller quotes Kalitera as saying (Why Father Why, 1983).

Whatever happened for Malawians to dislike sons and daughters of their soil, the fact is that it does not thwart creativity, as Film Association of Malawi president, Ezaius Mkandawire, observed.

Mkandawire said, by producing a movie from the book ‘To Ndirande Mountain with Love’, Kalitera showed that he was a lid that fitted all pots.

From Ndirande Mountain with Love’ is among the vintage films that Malawi should be proud of. It was made before the boom of this technological advancement where everyone is a film-maker because they have a video recorder,” Mkandawire said this week, adding:

“It (To Ndirande Mountain with Love) is a very professional film and it is in the league of an old great ‘Prodigal Son’, a film that was short by Norman Phiri for the Scripture Union.”

Mkandawire said from Kalitera’s life Malawians can learn that collaboration between authors and film-makers can bring the best out of creative minds.

“There must be collaboration between the two, the reason being that not all directors (film-makers) can be good story merchants,” he said.

However, Mkandawire observed that turning a book script into a film is not as simple as Kalitera made it appear.

“It is worth understanding, also, that it involves transfer of rights. Unless that is put into a proper consideration, that kind of synergy will always be difficult to pursue. (But) it is important for authors to do just that. The source of stories always comes from authors. Film-makers have a role to actualise the stories into film. In that way, both forms of art will have a longer shelf life and create larger audience,” said mkandawire

He said, unlike in the past, when the film industry was small, it is now easy to promote collaboration between authors and film-makers.

What is clear from the life of Kalitera is that, even when new authors saturate the bookshops with their works, it will be difficult to call to mind new publications and film adaptations that will resemble his. Call it the glory of his creative pieces!

Monday, June 23, 2014



21st June, 2014


PRESENTER: The Rt. Hon Henry Chimunthu Banda, Former Speaker of the Malawi National Assembly


Permit me at the outset to express my profound gratitude to the leadership and citizens of Akwa Ibom State for hosting this important conference. I particularly salute our host, Speaker Elder Samuel Ikon for the wonderful facilitation and hospitality provided to me since my arrival in this beautiful and historic city. To the rest of the delegates here present, I see your attendance as not only a testament of your dedication to duty, but also as a reflection of your commitment to the furtherance of ideals of parliamentary democracy in Nigeria and beyond. I therefore consider time spent attending this conference as time well spent and I have no doubt in my mind that the views emanating from here will have far-reaching effects.

Dear colleagues, as you very well know, the Legislative branch is the least developed and least resourced of the three arms of government in most of our countries and continue to face fierce resistance from the Executive branch. In the face of this and other challenges, it is imperative that Parliaments—whether at State or National levels—build synergies and linkages to nurture the continued growth and development of parliamentary democracy.


I have been requested to share some thoughts on the topic: “The Role of the Legislature as an Instrument of Stability in Democratic Governance”. The subject matter is apt and timely. It comes at a time when the African Continent is faced with numerous incidences of instability which, invariably, affect democratic governance as it relates to all the three organs of State.

To begin with, we cannot exhaustively discuss this topic without reflecting on the key words contained herein. The provides the following synonyms for the word stability: firmness, strength, soundness, permanence, solidity, steadfastness and steadiness, among others.

These words have connotations and ideological preconceptions of something being unchangeable even when sufficiently disturbed. There are both strategic as well as conceptual advantages in having constancy. This fact is better appreciated when we consider the antonyms of stability which are: fragility, unreliability, unsteadiness and fickleness.

On its part, the phrase democratic governance denotes a form of government which promotes the separation of powers and independence of the three organs of State; the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms; the exercise of power in accordance with the rule of law; and, citizen participation in decision-making processes. Thus, democratic governance seeks to promote effective public-institutions and processes that operate in a manner consistent with values of accountability, transparency, responsiveness and political pluralism.


Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, I have thought long and hard about the subject of my address and I have asked myself the question: “Is stability necessary in democratic governance, anyway?” I would answer this question in affirmative and I hope all of you here assembled join me in doing so.

We are all too well aware of how the curse known as instability has deprived the African Continent from aggressively developing in economic growth and development. Instability has produced weak public institutions, rampant human rights abuses, deepening poverty and corrupt systems. Conversely, in an environment of stability, democratic governance centers on power to the people, by the people and for the people as put forth by Abraham Lincoln. Thus, the elected representatives exercise power delegated by the electorate.


This paper argues that one of the best tools a nation has at its disposal for ensuring stability of the democratic processes is the Legislature. It is a prime institution which is used to address the divergent interests of all citizens due to its ability to build relationships within and outside its precincts.

The institution has the capability to distribute the nation’s wealth equitably, to guard against human rights abuses, to expose corruption and to exercise oversight over the Executive. Not only is the Legislature an integral part of the governance structure, but is also an embodiment of the wishes and aspirations of the people it represents.

This is the nexus between the Legislature and stable democratic governance. For the elected representatives to exercise powers conferred by the electorate in a meaningful manner and for the governed to be properly represented to the government, it cannot be disputed that stability of the governance processes is a key ingredient.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen today, more than ever before, the Legislature has become synonymous with democracy largely for its role in the promotion of good governance and better delivery of services to the citizens. But it is widely acknowledged that for democracy to be deeply entrenched in any society there must be a stable environment and the role of the Legislature in that regard is indispensable.

There is no doubt that the separation of powers constrains what the Legislature is able to do in the realm of democratic governance for the reason that it is not permitted to exercise executive authority, implement policies nor to introduce pieces of legislation except by way of private Members Bills.

Be that as it may, the Legislature is uniquely positioned to play leadership role in the society and bring about consensus around critical national issues. In order to examine the role of the Legislature as an instrument of stability in democratic governance, the following thematic areas will be discussed:

4.1 Participation and Representation

The present day parliamentary engagement with the public which is witnessed in many parts of Africa can largely be attributed to the wave of political pluralism and the shift to participatory democracy that swept across the world in the 1990s and the cessation of the Cold War hostilities.

With the shift of focus now to an enlightened public, the citizen is today at the center of the Legislature not just as a target for vote-hunting but as an active participant in shaping the destiny of the country.

A democratic system requires meaningful participation and representation that integrates all societal groups- religious, ethnic, tribal, political and cultural- into decision-making processes. Improving the representative capacity of the Legislature strengthens its ability to reach out to all sectors of the society and lays the foundation for a stable governance regime.

4.1.2 Electoral systems

Representative democracy is a form of government where the powers of the sovereign rights of the people are delegated to a body of men and women who are elected from time to time. From this backdrop, elections are recognized are the means by which people choose their leaders to direct national affairs.

But elections are not just about choosing leaders, crucially, the credibility of the process has far-reaching consequences on the nation’s stability and progress. Thus, the Legislature is enjoined to ensure that the electoral systems provide a representative outcome which facilitates broad-based participation in the democratic process. (Caution: There is no good or bad electoral system….).

4.1.3 Dialogue with the Civil Society and the Media

Civil society groups may take the form of trade unions, religious groups, women lobby groups, human rights groups, professional associations and community-based organizations which may represent either specific issues or specific groups of people.

Although they do not have the mandate to speak on behalf of the people they represent (a source of conflict in some jurisdictions), civil society organizations usually have networks which reach out to far-flung corners of the country. In an environment where the Legislature and the civil society organization have cultivated a healthy working relationship, the latter can facilitate flow of information to various communities.

4.2 Parliamentary Functions and Oversight

One of the most important functions of the Legislature is to exercise oversight over the Executive and to hold it accountable. In exercising oversight, the Legislature is motivated by the desire to:

to protect the rights of citizens by monitoring and exposing unconstitutional

to ensure transparency and effectiveness of government operations;

to prevent poor administration, waste, abuse, corruption, and arbitrary behavior;

to ensure that government policies are in the best interest of the citizens, and;

to hold government answerable on the implementation of the approved budget.

In a functioning democracy, replete with systems of checks and balances, the Legislature holds the Executive politically accountable whilst the Judiciary holds the Executive legally accountable.

As an embodiment of the sovereign will of the people, parliaments and parliamentarians are able to contribute to the stability of the democratic governance through robust debate on the floor of the House and negotiations in parliamentary committees.

4.2.1 Parliamentary Committees
The committee system enables Members to bring the specific concerns of their constituents to the decision-making process, whilst the absence of the media during private negotiations make it easier for Members to adopt a bipartisan approach rendering the process easier to reach consensus and compromise.

When carrying out their functions, committees employ several tools which include summoning government officials, conducting site visits and inspections, and conducting public hearings which are avenues for entering dialogue with the civil society, the private sector, individual citizens as well as other interest groups. In a sense, committees help to take parliament to the people and may operate as peace-building models through citizen engagement.

4.2.2 Parliamentary Debates

Since political parties are most partisan on the floor of the House, Standing Orders need to be transparent, well-defined and closely adhered to if Parliament is to be a forum for ensuring stable democratic governance. Rules must be applied fairly and impartially.

The Speaker has to balance between the minority and the majority groups in the House; the cardinal point being that while the majority may have their will, the minority must have their say. In the same breath, discussion of Bills should not be blocked by majority parties and legislation should not be passed without adequate debate.

: “All women of whatever age, rank or profession, whether maid or widow, who shall after this Act impose upon and seduce into matrimony any of His Majesty’s subjects by means of scents, paints, cosmetics, artificial teeth, false hair, bolstered hips, high-heeled shoes, or iron stays, shall incur the penalties against witchcraft, and the marriage be declared null and void1.” Parliament rejected the Bill!)

4.2.3 Legislative Development

Law making is considered to be the most important function of the Legislature particularly because a law offers guidance and regulates the society in its various aspects.

Although legislation is usually introduced by the Executive, the Legislature need to pass only those laws that promote stable democratic governance such as laws that entrench human rights protection and guarantees fundamental freedoms.

Conversely, laws that censures or punishes political opponents and the media or suppresses fundamental freedoms such as freedom of association, speech, opinion, movement, assembly need to be rejected or repealed.

4.3 Openness and Transparency

As eloquently and profoundly argued by O’Hara, the basis of the philosophy of openness and transparency is that: “the government has collected data or information for whatever reasons, using the resources and the legitimacy it derives from its citizens, and therefore, unless harm could result from the public release of that data, there would seem to be little reason against releasing it to its citizens to make productive use of.

Having been collected with public money, it should, where possible, be open for reuse in order to create further economic value2.” The hallmark of the theory and practice of democratic governance is a transparent and open system of decision-making.

Over the years there has been a growing acceptance that the general public has the right to participate in the free flow of information and to be informed about what is going on in their community, particularly the workings of government and the Legislature. Parliamentary openness enables citizens to be informed about the work of the Legislature, empowers citizens to engage in the legislative process, allows citizens to hold public officers to account and ensures that citizen’s interests are properly represented.

Openness and transparency requires that Legislatures must have all their actions, as well as the information about these actions, provided in an accessible and understandable manner which can promote the participation and awareness of the citizens.

There must be free flow of information about decisions and actions from Ministers and Members of Parliament to constituents and other stakeholders. Information should not only be accessible but also relevant, accurate and timely and presented in plain and readily comprehensible language and formats.

Parliamentary openness and transparency can be achieved in a variety of ways including the following:

Disclosure of Assets and Business Interests of all public officers including the President, Members of Parliament. The purpose being to establish probity, integrity and accountability in public life;

Access to Information legislation: Public institutions are opened to the scrutiny of members of the public;

Connecting Parliament to the People”: Televising proceedings, publication of the Hansard, broadcasting debates on the radio, parliamentary websites and parliamentary outreach programs provide the public with greater awareness about “their” institution. Experience has shown that taking Parliament to the people helps to demystify the long held public perceptions about the institution;

Presentation of Public Petitions: Petitions are a pathway through which Members gain leverage in connecting the Legislature to the electorate. Through Petitions, citizens are provided space not only to seek redress on an alleged public grievance but also to influence the direction of service delivery agenda.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, it is important that Parliament plays a leadership role in instilling confidence in the democratic political system. Openness and transparency are some of the means by which the electorate can be assured that the democratic systems are in the interest of all sections of the society and not just those who control the Executive power. “Transparency, at the moment, is not a luxury. It is one of the most important tools for restoring political and economic stability.”3

4.4 The role of the opposition

The major role of the opposition is to question the government of the day and hold them accountable to the public. On serious issues, the opposition puts the government on the spotlight to have the concerns quickly resolved.

In situations where the relationship between the Executive and some sections of the society has become acrimonious and the conflict has the potential to result into instability, the opposition could become a stabilizing force by acting as third-party intermediaries between the two sides.

It is worth mentioning though that for this to happen, the opposition and the Executive need to forgo acrimonial politics and work together for the sake of national building.

Speaking in support of the pivotal role played by the opposition in parliamentary democracies, Quintin Hogg, an outstanding member of the British House of Commons once said: “Countries cannot be fully free until they have an organized opposition. It is not a long step from the absence of an organized opposition to a complete dictatorship”.

In democratic governance, the role of the opposition is not as parochial as was espoused by George Tierney (1761-1830), a 19th century British Whig Leader of Opposition, when he contended that: “the duty of an opposition is to propose nothing, oppose everything, and to turn out the government.”

In a functioning democracy, the opposition ought to do more than Tierney imagined. Beyond opposing, the opposition must propose alternatives and show that they are ready to govern. It should not block government programs pointlessly, but rather to offer support where it is in the best interest of the nation while portraying themselves as an enlightened alternative to the electorate.

4.4.1 The Opposition as the voice of the voiceless

The opposition expresses the views and interests of a section of the society that may not be represented by the party in government. Without the opposition, such views could either go unheard or be trampled upon.

Additionally, the opposition serves as a conduit for ventilating people’s grievances for action and/or redress. This role builds confidence and reassures the people that their concerns and interests have been properly presented to appropriate authorities.

4.4.2 The Opposition as a viable alternative (government-in-waiting)

Since a properly functioning constitutional democracy is about offering choices to the electorate, the opposition is a constant reminder to the electorate of the availability of a viable alternative to the party in government. Thus, the opposition is enjoined to offer policy alternatives in its criticisms to convince the electorate that it could have done things better.

As I conclude, I wish to observe that today, more than ever before, many countries are working towards building democratic governance, but the greatest challenge is to develop processes and institutions that are more responsive to the needs of the ordinary citizens, especially the poor. We are living through times when growing sections of the people in many democracies are getting increasingly disillusioned.

At the center of this disillusionment is the public perception of the widening gap between the expectations of the people and the efficacy of the delivery of socio-economic programs. Citizens expect more, better and faster delivery of services than is otherwise the case. There is urgent need to reinforce public confidence and the task is therefore cut out for you as Speakers and Presiding Officers!

1 D.J Gifford and John Salter, How to understand an Act of Parliament (London: Cavendish Publishing Ltd.) 1996,p.5.

2 Kieron O’Hara, Transparent Government, Not Transparent Citizens: A Report on Privacy and Transparency for the New Zealand Cabinet Office, p.17.

3 Alasdair Roberts, Transparency in Troubled Times, Legal Studies Research Paper Series, Research Paper 12-35, October 2012, Suffolk University Law School, Boston.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

President Peter Mutharika Appoints More Cabinet Ministers

Questions are being raised: What was the President high on to announce nine more members of cabinet- after the appointment of Goodall Gondwe on Friday last week- at the crack of a new dawn?

Was he watching soccer?

Planning his wedding with Madam Gertrude Maseko?

Working all night to come up with these names for cabinet?

So many questions. But the reality is that President Peter Mutharika has appointed nine more members of the cabinet to join Gondwe.

As Malawians wait for more ministers to be appointed and be part of Mutharika's pledged-20-member cabinet, they may, at least for now, be satisfied with the following names.

Below, is the list of those who have made it:

.Transport & Public Works and Leader of House-Francis Kasaila

.Information, Tourism & Civic Education, and Deputy leader of House -- Kondwani Nakhumwa

.Education, Science & Technology -- Dr Emmanuel Fabiano

.Minister of Health -- Dr Jean Kalilani

.Agriculture and Irrigation -- Dr Allan Chiyembekeza

.Minister of Labour and government Chief Whip -- Henry Mussa

.Foreign Affair and International Corporation - Dr George Chaponda

.Youth Sports & Culture and Government Deputy Chief Whip - Grace Obama Chiumia

.Justice and Constitution Affairs - Samuel Tembenu

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

















Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am pleased to be here this morning to preside over the official opening of the 45th Session of Parliament and Provisional Budget Meeting; and as per tradition during this period, deliver a statement on where we stand as a nation as well as our plans for the future.

This is an exciting meeting of Parliament for a number of reasons.

To begin with, it is the first meeting of Parliament since Malawians participated in the first ever tripartite elections that enabled them elect a President, Members of Parliament and Councillors on 20th May, 2014.

Secondly, Mr. Speaker, Sir, we will be celebrating our Golden Jubilee of independence on 6th July, 2014. As a nation, we have come a long way through thick and thin.

Although we have registered many successes, we have also encountered immense challenges. As a result, today, almost fifty years of independence, Malawi remains a least developed country.

This meeting, therefore, sets the stage for our Golden Jubilee as well as our development agenda for the next fifty years and beyond. We need, as a Nation, to realise that this is a befitting moment for us to look back and reflect on our successes and challenges so that we can reposition ourselves for a great future. I have no doubt that we will seize this moment to reassert ourselves and act with greater determination and vigour to achieve fundamental transformation of our country.

Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am fully aware that in the recent past, Malawians have expressed dissatisfaction with some of the governance and administrative systems and structures of our country.

I have heard the concerns and share the dissatisfaction. I, therefore, wish to promise Malawians that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) led Government is determined to put in place systems and structures that will promote good governance and transform the economy. In this regard, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am proud and delighted to report that the DPP has a comprehensive manifesto which is consistent with our people’s aspirations.

Mr. Speaker, Sir, DPP is a party that dreams in colour. I realise,however, that our situation is such that dreaming alone is not enough. Actual progress will only come about through actions and not mere dreaming.

Government will, therefore, ensure that these dreams and aspirations are always translated into implementable and effective policies. We will continue from where we left in 2012 to fight poverty, under-development and economic and social injustices that are still prevalent in our society.

Mr. Speaker, Sir, the DPP-led Government still stands on the pillars of prosperity, justice and security. With the support of all Malawians, we will make Malawi a truly democratic and progressive nation, for this is the wish of the nation. This is the dream of our people.

Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is against this background that I have decided to title my Address Transforming Our Country into a Prosperous Nation with a Shared Vision.

But before I delve much into the speech, let me take this opportunity to extend my heartfelt congratulations to all the Honourable Members of Parliament on your election to the august House. I specially recognise and salute those Honourable Members who are joining the House for the first time. I wish you the best. I am however disheartened to learn that the number of women Parliamentarians has reduced from forty three to thirty. This is very unfortunate and retrogressive to our efforts of achieving gender parity and equity in this country.

I also wish to warmly congratulate you, Mr. Speaker, Sir, as well as your two Deputies on being elected to your respective distinguished positions. I have no doubt that, together, you will faithfully and diligently discharge the duties expected of you.

Malawians expect this august House to serve them with honour, selflessness, honesty and purpose.

Let me at this juncture, call upon the Honourable Members on the Opposition side of the House to join hands with my Administration to run the affairs of the state in a spirit of cooperation, collaboration and complementarity.

I sincerely look forward to your unwavering support as we begin to implement our national agenda and fully engage in the transformation of our country. I regard your role as being vital to our democracy and the journey towards prosperity.

In fact,Mr Speaker, Sir, our manifesto speaks about a better Malawi, and that can only be achieved through collaboration and working together by putting the people of Malawi first. They matter the most, all of us are mere servants. I therefore call for a new style of leadership, Servant-Leadership.

Tripartite Elections
Mr. Speaker, Sir and Honourable Members of this august House, join me in congratulating all Malawians who took part in the first ever tripartite elections. Despite the challenges faced, the people of Malawi continued to observe peace, law
and order. We, as a people, should, therefore, be proud of the manner in which we conducted ourselves during such a crucial event in the history of our nation.

At this juncture, let me thank all those who contested in the elections. As I stated in my inaugural speech, I pledge to work with all political parties and independent members so that together, we can move our country forward. It is time to roll up
our sleeves and begin to transform our country.

I would like also to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to our development partners and other stakeholders for the assistance that they rendered to this country throughout the whole electoral process. We do not take their support for granted.

Mr. Speaker, Sir, the mission of the DPP-led Government is to instill self-confidence and a sense of socio-economic independence in Malawians, by creating an environment that is conducive to hard work, creating more sustainable jobs, redistributing incomes and increasing the supply of quality goods and services for the domestic and international markets.

Mr. Speaker, Sir,
in order to achieve this mission, my Administration firmly believes in the principles of Good Governance which, among others, call for equitable allocation and distribution of public resources for all people, especially
the vulnerable groups. In this respect, we will establish a transparent, accountable and responsible Government in which decision-making and power-sharing are exercised
through the will of the people.

Mr. Speaker, Sir, we will encourage local participation in decision-making by mobilising and empowering the masses for socio-economic development in their respective areas. I,therefore, would like to urge all the newly elected councillors to
work hand-in-hand with the local people in designing and implementing programmes aimed at improving their standard of living.

Mr. Speaker, Sir, my Administration has noted, with great concern, that national priorities in this country keep changing to suit the political party in power. This has proved to be detrimental to our country’s development. To ensure that
development projects continue, regardless of the political party in power, my Administration will establish a Council with statutory powers to guide long-term national decision-making.

Economic Governance

Mr. Speaker Sir, our Government will give special importance to the design and implementation of sound macro-economic policies as a critical factor to support good governance. There will be an appropriate policy mix to enable the economy to
attain full recovery leading towards sustained growth and development.

Mr. Speaker, Sir, we will create an enabling environment to achieve four principal objectives:

(a) attaining macro-economic growth;

(b) allocating resources more efficiently;

(c) mobilizing domestic and foreign resources to support economic growth;and

(d) reduction of public expenditure.

This, Mr. Speaker, Sir, will address the current internal disequilibrium in our economy characterized by serious foreign exchange shortages, unsustainable budget deficits and mounting domestic debt service burdens.

More importantly, Mr. Speaker, Sir, my Administration will follow the laws governing Public Finance Management.

Corporate Governance

Mr. Speaker, Sir, we will put in place policies that will restore
the private sector confidence in the economy and consequently strengthen business enterprises to contribute more positively to the socio-economic development of this country.

Democratic Governance
Rule of Law
Mr. Speaker, Sir, my Administration recognises that adherence to the rule of law is necessary for the achievement of sustainable and inclusive economic growth and development of our country. In this respect, we will promote the supremacy
and respect for the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi.

We will further promote justice and a legal system that is accessible, affordable and people-centred.

Zero Tolerance to Corruption
Mr. Speaker, Sir, corruption is evil as it deprives the people of Malawi, particularly the poor, of their legitimate right to economic prosperity by diverting resources meant for socio-economic development into the pockets of a few greedy individuals. It also scares away potential investors.

My Administration will, therefore, maintain zero tolerance to corruption, fraud, theft and any other economic crime. There will be no sacred cows! Indeed, there will be no untouchables!

Mr. Speaker, Sir, some of the measures which my Administration will adopt to fight corruption include:

.prosecution of all public officers and private sector individuals involved in the theft, fraud and mismanagement of public resources;

.enhancing the capacity of governance institutions including the Auditor General’s Office, the Anti-Corruption Bureau, the Financial Intelligence Unit and the Public Accounts Committee;

.further strengthening the financial management systems and institutions for detection of fraud and theft; and

.non-interference in procurement by depoliticising the
procurement process.

Cashgate Scandal
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the recent revelations of the Cashgate Scandal in which unscrupulous individuals stole huge sums of money from Government coffers brought to light serious laxity in the adherence to laid down rules and regulations.

To this end, the DPP-led Government will put in place stringent measures aimed at preventing a recurrence. In particular,Government will enforce the existing rules and regulations so that the management of public finances should be done within
the existing policy and legal framework.

Going forward, Mr. Speaker, Sir, as one way of decisively dealing with the challenges of Cashgate and a means of addressing the weaknesses identified in the Forensic Audit Report by Baker Tilly of the United Kingdom, Government has formulated a comprehensive action plan on public finance and economic management.

It has been developed to ensure a shared vision and one plan for improving public finance management systems. The action plan looks at short, medium and long term measures which Government needs to implement to prevent another Cashgate and avoid theft of public funds. The action plan looks at all aspects of public finance and economic management, including accounting, internal controls, budgeting, procurement, disciplinary issues, administrative reforms and capacity building needs.

Human Rights
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the DPP-led Government is fully committed to the promotion and protection of human rights. Respect for human rights contributes to the creation of an enabling environment for people to realize their full potential in social, cultural, economic and political development.

Mr. Speaker, Sir, history has taught us that a nation with people who enjoy their full liberties will tremendously develop.

In this regard, my Administration will ensure that we adhere to the Bill of Rights enshrined in the Republican Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations as well as all international human rights conventions to which
Malawi is a party.

We will also adopt a human rights based approach by, among other things, promoting equal opportunities and choices and recognizing each person’s inherent dignity and worth without discrimination.

Public Safety and Security
Mr. Speaker, Sir, my Administration is aware that recent global trends have posed a wide range of security threats to the Government and people of Malawi. These threats range from transnational organized crime, terrorist activities and natural disasters.

In this regard, we are committed to providing a safe and secure environment conducive to the social, cultural, economic and political development of our people.

Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am aware that sometimes our security institutions do not perform their duties effectively and efficiently due to resource constraints. To address the challenges that our security institutions encounter,Government will, among other things:

.enhance the capacity and professional competence of security institutions to enable them respond adequately to the security needs of the country;

.allow the Malawi Police Service and the Malawi Defence Force execute their mandates without political interference; and transform community policing into Citizen’s Police which will be better equipped and trained in crime prevention.

Mr. Speaker, Sir, Government is concerned with the high influx of illegal immigrants trekking into our country. To address this challenge, we will intensify day and night patrols in all strategic boundaries. Furthermore, we will put in place programmes that will dissuade traditional leaders and their subjects from
harbouring and aiding illegal immigrants.

Mr. Speaker, Sir, Government will also establish a National
Security Council which will provide oversight on matters of
national security.

International Relations
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the DPP-led Government believes in fostering
international relations that can ably strengthen Malawi’s drive towards a developmental state by embracing development diplomacy.

Mr. Speaker, Sir, while maximizing the country’s comparative advantages in line with the different but equal principle under the law of nations, we will pursue people-centered international relations that will translate into Malawi’s ability to meaningfully participate in international trade.

Mr. Speaker, Sir, our Government will ensure that the economy progresses towards self reliance and attracts primarily and progressively aid packages which support investment, productivity and long-term development projects.

Furthermore, Mr. Speaker, Sir, we will actively engage donors
in dialogue towards mutual goals that include embracing of home-grown policies, doing away with one-size-fits-all approaches, and adopting people-centred development

Mr. Speaker, Sir, we will establish and strengthen relations with development partners from the West, the East, North and South, alike. We will remain committed to the ideals of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the
Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the African Union (AU), the United Nations (UN) and other International Organisations where Malawi is a member.

Public Sector Management

The Civil Service
Mr. Speaker, Sir, as Honourable Members will agree, the success of any administration, and indeed, the ability of a government to efficiently deliver public services and enhance the welfare of its citizenry largely depends on the dedication
and professionalism of the public service. In this regard, we will reorganize the public service in a manner that will promote professionalism, integrity, technical competence and efficiency.

Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Malawi Civil Service was once renowned for its professionalism and dedication to duty. It is therefore, regrettable that recently there has been laxity, indiscipline and pre-occupation with selfish motives by a few individuals, which led to the plunder of public resources through Cashgate. It is
now becoming clearer as to what really happened; and therefore, Government will establish a corrupt-free Civil Service.

This will be done through full compliance with existing public financial management rules, regulations and practices so as to enhance the professionalism of the Civil Service. Our aim, Mr. Speaker, Sir, is to restore the Civil Service to its past glory.

We will make sure that the Civil Service is non-partisan and serves the Government of the day. We will further ensure that civil servants strictly adhere to the chain of command in financial management. We will also ensure that no civil servant is victimised because of change of Government.

Mr. Speaker, Sir, my Administration will walk the talk on priority setting in this country, and as a start, we will, among others, reduce:

.the number of ministerial portfolios, including Deputy Ministers, to 20;

.the budgetary allocation for the maintenance of state residences; and

.the number of foreign missions abroad.

Public Service Appointments
The DPP-led Government will reduce concentration of power in the presidency, especially as it relates to the appointment and removal of heads of Governance Institutions and Parastatals.

Public Service Remuneration
Mr. Speaker, Sir, since this country attained independence, the
objectives of implementing public sector reforms have been to strengthen and improve efficiency and effectiveness of all branches of Government.

Considering that the quality of public service delivery depends on the quality of the Civil Service, Mr. Speaker, Sir, my Administration will implement reforms aimed at improving the conditions of service and professionalism of our civil servants.

We will, therefore, ensure that the Civil Service is well-trained,professional, highly motivated, competent, corrupt-free and well remunerated. More importantly, recruitment and promotion will be purely based on merit and not on political affiliation.

Mr. Speaker, Sir, my Administration will establish a Public Service Remuneration Board, which will be responsible for the harmonization of pay in the public service. It will be mandated to remove the inequalities that exist in the system whereby employees doing similar work at similar grades are remunerated differently merely because they work for different departments and agencies of the Government.

Mr. Speaker, Sir,
Section 8 of the Public Service Act states that “The basis for remuneration of public officers shall be equal pay for work of equal value and recognition for excellence in the performance of their duties as determined by an objective method of evaluation”.

We will, therefore, aim at achieving equal pay for equal work across the entire public service and put in place a mechanism for recognizing good performance.

From the lowest to highest grade, training will be a pre-requisite in order to continuously raise the bar of excellence in the Civil Service. In order to provide equal and quality services to our people irrespective of their location, all civil servants working in rural areas will be given incentives to encourage them to continue providing efficient services to rural communities.

Mr. Speaker, Sir, after 50 years of attaining our independence, our economy is still fragile and marred by so many challenges.

As a nation, we are still considered as one of the poorest countries in the world.

Mr. Speaker, Sir, experience has shown us that our development journey has been that of a vicious cycle, characterized by moments of brilliance, which have quickly been superseded by periods of stagnation.

Our economy is currently performing poorly due to problems that have emanated from fiscal slippages, among other factors.

Our development partners have already expressed grave concerns over our poor public finance management and economic governance, as evidenced by gross fiscal fraud, to the
extent that most of them have suspended their budget support to Malawi.

Government’s immediate task is, therefore, to reverse this gloomy and precarious trend. Government will, therefore, design and implement sound macroeconomic policy reforms that will transform the economy to attain full recovery and achieve sustained inclusive economic growth and development.

Government will also endeavour to allocate resources efficiently and create an enabling environment that allows the country to reduce non productive public expenditures and achieve positive and inclusive macro-economic growth, efficient
mobilisation and allocation of resources.

Mr. Speaker, Sir, our foreign exchange reserves are still far from being adequate. As a nation, we are still being faced with challenges to build up foreign exchange reserves to stabilise the exchange rate and inflation. These are ills of our economy that have to be addressed immediately.

It will be critical for my Administration to take stringent measures that will ensure that stability in macroeconomic indicators such as interest rates, inflation and exchange rates prevail in the economy.

To this end, Government will implement fiscal and monetary policy reforms aimed at reducing and eventually eliminating huge domestic borrowing, reducing balance-of-payments deficits and lowering interest rates in order to improve our domestic savings and investment financing.

We will implement a strict and disciplined fiscal policy on recurrent expenditures and management of donor funds, as provided by the law and international agreements.

Mr. Speaker, Sir, these efforts will restore private sector confidence in the economy.

2014/2015 Budget Framework

Mr. Speaker, Sir, after a careful review of what has been prepared so far, we find that the 2014/2015 Budget is far from being ready. The work that has been done so far is not well developed and the proposed budgetary allocations are either
illogical or conflicting with the DPP view points.

Moreover, there are a number of issues that need to be resolved before the budget can be finalized, including consultations with the general public, the academia, private sector, civil society organizations, the Cabinet, the International Monetary Fund
(IMF) and donors.

We also need to verify the stock of arrears before the budget is finalized. We therefore, need more time to analyze the various problems so that we can come up with a
budget that is more credible.

To this end, in accordance with Section 178 of the Malawi Constitution, the Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development will initially present a provisional budget for the period July-October, 2014.

We expect to present the 2014/2015 Budget in September, 2014 when outstanding
issues will have been resolved.


Agriculture and Food Security
Mr. Speaker, Sir, agriculture remains a key driver of our economy. About 85 percent of the country’s population is engaged in agricultural activities. The contribution of this sector to GDP is currently at 30 percent and brings in over 80
percent of the country’s export earnings. My Administration will, therefore, continue to prioritize the agriculture sector as a basis for maintaining sustainable livelihoods and inclusive economic growth.

Mr. Speaker, Sir, Government will continue to implement the Farm Input Subsidy Programme (FISP) to support maize production by subsistence maize farmers. We are, however, aware of the challenges faced in the implementation of the Programme. To address the challenges, Government will abolish the coupon system and put in place measures to ensure that the subsidized inputs are made available to subsistence maize farmers who deserve it.

Government will further institute reforms in the agricultural sector to support viable agro-processing industries, while at the same time increasing agriculture production through increased investments in agriculture extension, research, livestock production, horticulture, fish farming and irrigation agriculture.

To achieve this, Government will, among others:

.support rapid agricultural production by linking it with industry so as to ensure adequate and reliable supplies of raw materials to support our agro-processing

.promote horticulture farming, processing and marketing through the establishment of horticulture bulking groups in rural areas who will be provided with cold room storage facilities and processing equipment;

.promote fish farming among smallholder farmers by constructing fishponds and dams in rural areas;

.promote community participation in livestock breeding and multiplication; and

.accelerate the restructuring of ADMARC to carry out social and commercial functions separately with a view to making it a viable and competitive institution that will no
longer rely on Government subvention.

Mr. Speaker, Sir, Government is aware of the need to diversify
agriculture exports in order to increase the economy’s resilience to the impact of unstable prices in the global economy and to achieve sustained inclusive economic growth and development. In this regard, Government will promote:

.a “basket of commodities” that will initially include cotton, tobacco, sugar, tea, rice, paprika, cassava, groundnuts, sunflower and macademia nuts;

.cotton as a special crop through the establishment of an Integrated Cotton Textiles Industry that will eventually incorporate several industrial processes such as cotton
ginning, cotton spinning, cotton weaving, cotton fabric printing and garment manufacturing; and

.value addition to increase export earnings from tobacco through manufacturing of cigarettes, pipe tobacco, snuff, cigars and cigarillos.

Irrigation Development
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the irrigation sub sector contributes to the
economic growth of this country by supporting rain-fed agricultural production thereby leading to the attainment of both household and national food and income security.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, my Government will, in this respect, accelerate the implementation of the “Green Belt” Initiative.

The Green Belt will stretch from Karonga all the way to Nsanje and will entail irrigation of land of up to 20 kilometres from the water bodies.

Under the Initiative, crops such as rice, maize, millet, potatoes, cassava, beans, soya beans, wheat, lentils, sugarcane, cotton, groundnuts and sunflower will be grown for export and domestic consumption. To this effect, Government will provide
more rural farmers with treadle pumps, sprinklers, and motorized pumps.

Mr. Speaker, Sir, Malawi is richly endowed with high value mineral resources which constitute an important source of wealth for development and foreign exchange for Malawi. The contribution of this sector to the country’s GDP has risen from 17 percent in 2009 to 10 per cent currently; but has the potential to rise to 20 per cent by 2016 due to Malawi’s unique mineral potential.

Government will, therefore, prioritize the effective exploration of these resources.

Mr. Speaker, Sir, Government is committed to the promotion of the mining sector in the country. In this regard, we will endeavour to provide an enabling environment for attracting investments into the sector through the development of new
policy, legal and institutional frameworks that protect the long term interests of the country.

Mr. Speaker, Sir, currently, there are a number of foreign companies that are actively engaged in the exploration and evaluation of various minerals in different parts of the country, including rare earth metals, uranium, gold and titanium
bearing heavy mineral sands.

Mr. Speaker, Sir, I wish to inform this august House that Government, with support from the World Bank and the European Union started carrying out a country-wide airborne geophysical survey to identify areas with mineral potential and
provide readily available information to prospective investors in the sector.

Mr. Speaker, Sir, Government will, in the coming financial year,commence a Geological Mapping exercise of the whole country, with support from the French Government. This will lead to the production of new geological, mineral occurrence,
geochemical, metallogenic and seism-tectonic maps for our country.

Mr. Speaker, Sir, Government will also ensure that in future, mining contracts are properly negotiated to maximise benefits for the country. In this regard, Government will establish an independent contract negotiating unit in extractive resources.

Further, we will subscribe to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).

Tourism, Wildlife and Culture

Mr. Speaker, Sir, tourism, wildlife and culture have the potential to significantly contribute towards the country’s socio-economic development through increased foreign exchange earnings, employment creation and the development of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

Despite this, the country is unable to fully realise the potential of the sector owing to, among other things, inadequate infrastructure, non-aggressive promotion and marketing strategies and stiff competition from other attractive tourist
destinations globally.

In view of this, Government will identify and develop areas of tourist attraction where Malawi has a competitive advantage over other countries in the region. We will also enter into mutually benefiting partnerships with regional neighbours as well as establish recreational centres in major cities and towns of Malawi.

Government will also develop the Bingu International Conference Centre (BICC) into an office and tourist park.

Industry, Trade and Private Sector Development
Mr. Speaker, Sir, Government recognizes the important role the private sector plays as an engine for economic growth and a source of direct revenue and employment. However, the business environment in Malawi has, in recent years deteriorated due to some macroeconomic, security and structural challenges. This has led to several economic problems such as low volume of foreign direct investments, low
industrial output and unsustainable structural trade deficit,among several others.

In view of this, Government will strive to address these challenges by carrying out some regulatory and institutional reforms aimed at addressing constraints affecting enterprise development in the country. We will improve Malawi’s standing
on the Ease of Doing Business Index so as to make Malawi a better investment destination.

We will also continue to implement the National Export Strategy which was launched in December, 2012, and will be implemented up to 2018. The Strategy provides a road map for developing Malawi’s productive base to allow for both export competitiveness and economic empowerment. Government is determined to double exports in the next five years.

In addition, Government will:

.facilitate the promotion of quality in local products and promote the Best-Buy-Malawian campaign;

.empower Malawians to venture into tangible businesses through deliberate economic empowerment strategies;

.support Malawians to enter into joint ventures with foreign investors;

.establish a “one-stop” investment centre to promote and encourage increased investment in the productive sectors especially in agriculture, mining, manufacturing
and tourism; and

.strengthen and develop viable financial institutions that will undertake trade financing so that every product made in Malawi finds a market either locally or abroad.

Natural Resources and Environmental Management
Mr. Speaker, Sir, Government recognizes that conservation and protection of the environment and natural resources is important in promoting sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction.

In view of the challenges that natural resources are facing in Malawi due to competing needs of a growing population, industrial development, physical infrastructure and wildlife, Government will:

.continue to develop measures aimed at promoting cleaner energy practices that will help to protect, conserve and restore natural resources and the environment;

.cooperate with neighbouring countries to combat pollution and illegal dumping of toxic wastes;

.cooperate with international and regional institutions so as to develop more effective programmes for the management of natural resources;

.continue to comply with local, regional and international instruments in the management, preservation and protection of natural resources and the environment;

.intensify reforestation programmes by promoting the planting of one tree per year by each citizen for the next five years at the end of which Malawi will have at least 50
million new trees.

Employment and Labour
Mr. Speaker, Sir, Government is concerned with soaring levels of unemployment in Malawi. My Administration will, therefore, implement a carefully selected mix of economic, fiscal, monetary, trade and investment policies in order to promote the creation of productive and decent employment.

Investments in the productive sector of the economy will continue to be prioritized as the basis for creating new jobs.

Mr. Speaker, Sir, Government will encourage self-employment through the creation and empowerment of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.

Mr. Speaker, Sir, my Administration has elevated the Ministry of Labour to a key ministry because we believe it can play a critical role in the creation of decent jobs in the country.

It is therefore, critical that the Ministry of Labour takes the lead in the planning and creation of new jobs to enable the education and training sector respond with appropriate skills development in order to meet human resource requirements in
both the public and private sectors.

Integrated Rural Development

Mr. Speaker, Sir, a few years ago, the DPP-led Government embarked on the creation of new rural growth centres with facilities that are usually available in urban centres including tarred roads, piped water, electricity, banks, post offices,
hospitals, secondary schools and trading centres, to facilitate rural development in the country. Under the programme, many Malawians in rural areas have been given the opportunity to access better information, education and grow their businesses.

Mr. Speaker, Sir,
my Administration will, therefore, continue to create new rural growth centres and rural based enterprises, develop and strengthen rural co-operatives and facilitate the establishment of rural factories to spearhead rural

Mr. Speaker, Sir, infrastructure development contributes to the realization of sustainable economic development for Malawi.

Between 2004 and 2012, the DPP-led Government initiated and launched key infrastructure development projects which include:

a. the Parliament Building,

b. the President Hotel,

c. the Bingu International Conference Centre,

d. the Presidential Villas,

e. the Karonga-Chitipa road,

f.the Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST),

g. the National Stadium and the Kapichila Power Station.


Mr. Speaker, Sir, availability of reliable, sustainable and affordable energy, whether in the form of electricity, liquid fuels or biomass, is a necessary precondition for economic growth, social development and for the survival of all human societies.

In recognition of this fundamental link to economic growth, social development and human survival, Government is committed to the search for alternative sustainable energy sources and initiating energy projects that are cost effective and centred on the priority needs of the people and investors.

We will, therefore, encourage Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) in the energy sector and:

.introduce viable alternative sources of energy such as solar, wind and biogas;

.provide new incentives and opportunities to people in the rural areas to use electricity while growing more trees;

.enhance efficiency of the services of the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) by separating its functions into electricity production, distribution and
marketing which will be run by autonomous institutions; and

.encourage private sector players to invest in the energy sector.

Transport Infrastructure
Mr. Speaker, Sir, good transport infrastructure is vital for our
development as it eases mobility of people and carriage of goods from one place to another. Government will therefore, give special attention to all transport sector initiatives as a catalyst for agricultural development, industrialisation, tourism and trade.

Road Transport
On road transport infrastructure, Mr. Speaker, Sir, Government is committed to the resuscitation and completion of construction of a number of road projects that include:

.Mzimba-Mzalangwe Road, Mzuzu-Nkhata Bay Road,Jenda-Embangweni-Edingeni Road, and Mzuzu city roads in the Northern Region;

.Lilongwe Old Airport, Kasiya-Santhe Road, Lumbadzi-Dowa, Chezi Road, Dzaleka-Ntchisi,
Malomo Road and Lilongwe city roads in the Central Region, and;

.Zomba-Jali, Phalombe Road, Thyolo-Thekerani, Muona0-Bangula Road and Blantyre city roads, including the Chipembere Highway in the Southern Region.

Furthermore, Government will promote the construction of a new and comprehensive network of rural access roads and trunk roads to serve rural areas; and upgrading, maintaining and repairing of roads and bridges across the country.

Water Transport
Mr. Speaker, Sir, on water transport, Government will operationalise the Nsanje World Inland Port once the feasibility study of the Shire-Zambezi Waterway Project is completed. The opening of the Port will cut transportation costs of imports and
exports by 60 percent. It will also support national development programmes and promote inter-state links with Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe and the rest of the world.

Rail Transport
Mr. Speaker, Sir, under the rail transport sub-sector, Government will soon embark on the rehabilitation of existing rail lines and develop new railway networks for integration with regional networks. We will harmonise the railway policy,
administration practices and procedures to ensure that railway networks are compatible with the other modes of transport.

Air Transport
Mr. Speaker, Sir, Government is poised to develop the air transport sub-sector. Government will, among other developments, continue upgrading and maintaining Kamuzu and Chileka International Airports; and construct international
airports in Mangochi, Nsanje, Mzuzu and Karonga.

Water Development
Mr. Speaker, Sir, Government recognises that water development and the provision of clean and potable water is key to the socio-economic development of the country.

Government will therefore ensure that clean and potable water is available to all Malawians in both urban and rural areas. Government will also construct five multipurpose dams across the country to make water resources readily available for
multiple usage.

Information and Communication

Mr. Speaker, Sir, Government is aware that well developed information and communication infrastructure is essential to the development of the country. In this respect, Government will ensure that affordable and quality communication services
are available countrywide. My Administration will, therefore, ensure that our ICT infrastructure is modern and conforms to international standards.

Mr. Speaker, Sir, land is an important factor of production which must be prudently utilised. However, Government is aware that the land sector faces several challenges, including high demand for land owing to rapid population growth; high rate of urbanisation; poor land practices; and insufficient
public awareness on land related laws.

My Administration will, therefore, among other things:

.advocate for the enactment of all land-related Bills that were submitted to Parliament;

.improve land management and use for national development;

.undertake a land profiling study of the whole country in order to identify availability of land for various uses; and

.conduct comprehensive public awareness campaigns on existing land laws.


Mr. Speaker, Sir, every Malawian citizen has the right to decent housing. In this regard, my Administration will subsidize prices of iron sheets and cement so that people can afford to build their own houses. We will also encourage construction of low-cost, durable and habitable housing units by Government
as well as the private sector to be sold to the people of Malawi who can afford.

Furthermore, the Malawi Housing Corporation will be organised to directly assist poor individuals to acquire low-interest loans from building societies, commercial banks and
other lending institutions. There will be a more vigorous policy for rehabilitation, development and maintenance of all Government houses and buildings.

Public Health
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the public health sector is very important in the social and economic development of our country. However, as you might be aware, the health delivery system has, in the past few years, faced enormous challenges including non-availability of essential drugs, medical supplies and facilities.

My Administration will, therefore, improve the health sector to ensure efficient and effective delivery of health services in the country. In this regard, Government will:

.ensure that all districts in Malawi have adequate medical facilities, including primary health care within a reasonable walking distance from people’s homes;

.end critical shortages of staff, medicine and drugs in all hospitals and clinics across the country;

.introduce new mobile medical facilities in the rural areas;

.promote new research in medical science and technology in public universities and other research laboratories so that medicine and treatment of patients conform to
international standards; and

.intensify programmes aimed at managing HIV and AIDS and preventing its further spread.

Mr. Speaker, Sir, for the first time, Government will introduce a Health Insurance Scheme for all public servants while exploring possibilities of health insurance for all Malawians.

Education and Human Development

Mr. Speaker, Sir, Government recognises the role that education plays in fostering innovation and creativity.

However, education standards in the country have plummeted due to a number of factors, including inadequate teaching and learning materials, insufficient classroom blocks and a high pupil-teacher ratio.

To address these challenges, Government will, among other things:

.provide adequate teaching and learning materials in all public schools;

.construct and rehabilitate school blocks and girls hostels;

.promote learning of science, technology and technical subjects in our schools;

.provide computer laboratories in all public secondary schools; and

.revise the terms and conditions of service for teachers to make the profession attractive and competitive.

Mr. Speaker, Sir, with regard to human capital development Government will:

.design basic education in a manner that it produces youth who are able to engage in trade, business, production and self employment;

.create a Special Child and Youth Rehabilitation Fund to enable children and youth from impoverished families have access to vocational and technical training that
equips them to become self reliant and entrepreneurs;and

.introduce innovative community colleges that will make use of existing structures in all the districts to provide practical knowledge and skills relevant to our economy
and for self-employment.

Mr. Speaker, Sir, the DPP-led Government will fulfill its promise on new universities and colleges. In addition, Mr. Speaker, Sir, Government will, in the next five years add 10,000 new students to the Polytechnic, Mzuzu University, Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Chancellor College and various Technical, Entrepreneurial, Vocational, Education and Training (TEVET) Programmes.

Out of the 10,000 students, 6,000 students will pursue degree programmes in mining, geology, mineral processing, metallurgy, electronic engineering, telecommunications,
construction technology, bio-medics, education, tourism, just to mention a few; while 4,000 rural youths will pursue various TEVET programmes.

Youth Development

Mr. Speaker, Sir, Government recognises the importance of the youth in national development. In this respect, Government will strive to effectively harness the potential of the youth and equip them with knowledge and skills necessary for their full participation in the social, cultural, economic and political development of the country.

Specifically, the youth will be empowered through the following initiatives:

.establishment of a National Youth Development Service (NYDS) to develop skills for the youth to enable them to be self-reliant;

.empowerment of the youth to articulate their own needs through the formation of area, district and national youth organizations;

.establishment of new vocational and business training centres for vendors; and

.creation of new opportunities for soft loans to enable the youth to start their own businesses.

Mr. Speaker, Sir, these initiatives will encourage our youth to develop a mentality towards non-white collar jobs and be prepared for self-employment and entrepreneurship.

Science and Technology
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the DDP-led Government is aware that there has not been a deliberate policy for developing science and technology for macroeconomic growth in our country. We will therefore give very high priority to locally-based research programmes and adaptation and utilization of science and technology specifically designed to convert our agricultural primary commodities, minerals and other natural resources into new wealth.

Women and Development

Mr. Speaker, Sir, the DPP-led Government is committed to gender parity, women empowerment and upholding of women’s rights as a prerequisite to poverty reduction and sustainable development.

However, Government is concerned with the continued marginalisation and under-representation of women in our development process despite numerous efforts being made to uplift their status and improve their representation in the decision making positions of our country.

Mr. Speaker, Sir, my Administration is, therefore, determined to promote the status of women through affirmative action, empowerment initiatives and skills development.

Persons with Disabilities
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I wish to re-affirm Government’s commitment to promote the quality of life of persons with disabilities and ensure that they fully participate in the social, cultural, economic and political development of the country. In this
regard, my Administration will:

.remove all forms of discrimination against people with disabilities, both in the public and private sector, in order to promote their right to social protection to enable them benefit from economic growth, development and prosperity; and

.expedite the finalisation of the Disability Policy to ensure effective implementation of the Disability Act.

The Elderly
Mr. Speaker, Sir, Government considers the elderly as important members of our society who deserve special attention. Government will, therefore, introduce a new culture to enable the elderly feel useful and appreciated and be able to
impart their accumulated wealth of knowledge and experiences, specifically to younger generations and society in general, so as to preserve our tradition and heritage.

Further, my Administration will continue to adopt special measures to provide the elderly with adequate medical facilities, clothing, food and other forms of social support within their own communities.

Media, Civil Society Organizations and Non-Governmental Organisations
Mr. Speaker, Sir, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and the Media play an important role in the economic and social development of our country.

In recognition of their role, Government will endeavour to motivate the CSOs and NGOs to meaningfully complement Government’s work. To this end, Government will:

.review the NGO law to facilitate, and not stifle, their contribution in the development of the country;

.expedite the process to enact the Access to Information Bill into law;

.ensure that Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) and the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) are professional and report to Parliament annually as required by law; and

.continue to create a conducive environment for freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

Disaster Risk Management
Mr. Speaker, Sir, disasters are becoming a common occurrence due to the impacts of climate change and environmental degradation, among other factors. Government will, therefore, put in place disaster risk management measures to enhance our preparedness to respond to disasters.

We will strengthen our early warning systems in order to enhance preparedness and timely response to disasters.

Furthermore, Government will expedite the review of the Disaster Preparedness and Relief Act to guide in the management of disasters and disaster risks. We will work with development partners in planning, implementing, monitoring and evaluating programmes aimed at reducing the risks of disasters.


In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to assure the people of Malawi that my Administration will work tirelessly to deliver on its promises. It is sad to note that after 50 years of independence, a large proportion of our people still live in abject poverty.

The majority of our youth remain jobless; many of our people do not know where their next meal will come from; and our infrastructure leaves a lot to be desired.

Mr. Speaker, Sir, we want to have a country where our youth have more paid employment, self-employment and entrepreneurship opportunities; where everyone has food at their table; where our people have decent accommodation; a country with modern infrastructure; where no one lives below the poverty line; and where the quality of life is high.

I wish to assure this august House that Government will do everything possible to ensure that Malawians live fulfilled and dignified lives. The DPP-led Government is determined to lay solid foundations and put effective systems in place.

We will reprioritise and allocate resources to productive areas with a view to promoting sustainable and inclusive economic growth. We will overhaul our public service systems to ensure effectiveness and efficiency in the delivery of services. This will help us realise well-planned and comprehensive development that guarantees a brighter future for our beloved nation.

To achieve this, Mr. Speaker, Sir, we must all strive for unity of
purpose. I strongly believe that, together, we can turn around the plight of the people of Malawi. We can make Malawi a nation of endless opportunities and a better place for everyone.

It will not happen overnight, but, with dedication and hard work, we can transform our country from poverty to prosperity.

I, therefore, call upon Malawians from all sectors of our society, namely: the public service, private sector, non-governmental organisations, the civil society, the media, traditional leaders, religious leaders and members of all political parties to join me
in transforming our economy for a better Malawi.

At this juncture,Mr. Speaker, Sir, I wish to express my sincere gratitude to the people of Malawi for their spirit of hard work and dedication. I also wish to acknowledge and appreciate the contribution of our development and cooperating partners towards the development of our country.

The DPP guarantees remain the same, Mr. Speaker, Sir, that we will work with, and for, all people of Malawi regardless of their geographical regions of origin, race, creed, or colour so as to develop one nation. We will work together for the common good of all our people.

With these remarks, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I now have the singular honour and privilege to declare the 45th Session of Parliament and the July-October, 2014 Provisional Budget Meeting officially open.

May the Almighty God bless Malawi.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, Sir.