Activist appeals to Bingu to address nation

Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika has been asked to address the nation on the crises facing the country and explain how his government intends to resolve them.

But presidential spokesperson Dr Hetherwick Ntaba said in an interview on Thursday that the President’s Christmas message already explained what government is doing about the problems.

One human rights activist Benedicto Kondowe, said in an interview on Thursday that Mutharika’s mere promises of hope without concretely telling Malawians what is being done are not only hypocritical but also alien in an open democratic society.

“We demand that the President should address the nation on the state of affairs. It is quite unusual and unexpected that a father would remain quiet in the house without telling his family what is happening and how he intends to address the problem in case of hunger in that family. Surely, where he does not do so, the family members have an obligation to demand an explanation.

“Similarly, the President, as an elected leader, cannot choose to remain quiet and give the nation piecemeal information unless the President tells us that he was not elected by the same people who have for long time looked up to him for solutions,” said Kondowe.

Kondowe, who is also executive director of Civil Society Education Coalition (CSEC), said it is politically insensitive for the President to lead the country as if there were no people living in it.

Some Blantyre residents concurred with Kondowe asking Mutharika to tell Malawians what his government is doing to solve the problems.

“I am waiting to hear from the President what strategies his government has adopted to bail us out of this hell,” said Peterson Manyesula, 45, who lives in Manase Township.

Stella Ngwalimbe of Chilomoni, on Thursday said Mutharika “must” tell Malawians real solutions to the problems instead of making rhetorical statements at rallies.

But Ntaba said the people making the demand are not honest and serious. He said the President and Cabinet ministers have explained what government is doing to address the problems.

Said Ntaba on Thursday, “Fuel is trickling in because of financial arrangements which are there. Donors are already giving their aid. Government is also exploring other crops to replace tobacco and fuel storage facilities are long-term solutions to the fuel problem.

Everyone of those issued cannot be done at once. People should not give government pressure. Those people are just being political.”

Among the problems troubling Malawians are fuel and foreign currency crises. The two problems have reduced production in industries forcing some of the industries to retrench employees.

Long queues of vehicles waiting for fuel at filling stations have become the order of the day in Malawi where employees abandon work for several hours every day in search of fuel.

Civil society organisations warned last week that the country will go on nationalwide demonstrations should Mutharika fail to normalise the situation by March this year.

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