Civil Society Platform for Constructive Dialogue (CSP–CD) has called upon the Public Affairs Committee (PAC) to show responsibility and leadership as they exercise their rightful mandate at the forthcoming 5th All-inclusive Stakeholders’ Conference.
The PAC conference is scheduled to take place from Wednesday to Thursday this week at Sunbird Mount Soche in Blantyre.
CSP-CD, which brings together over 30 civil society organisations (CSOs) and activists, made the
call in a public statement titled “Call for sober and constructive approach in discussions, debate and advocacy around Malawi’s economic, political and food security challenges” which was made available to the media at a press briefing held on Monday at Hotel Victoria.
Reads part of the statement: “We pray that PAC will not allow partisan and narrow interests to hijack the process or indeed allow any divisive elements to overshadow the noble pursuit for solutions to our common challenges. It is time to build Mother Malawi as together we are all members of one family. It is time to give dialogue a chance.”
Among other things, the CSOs also briefed the press on their observations on the progress that Malawi is making amidst avalanche political and food security challenges that are currently affecting the country before making calls to various stakeholders to join hands with government and offer support to President Peter Mutharika in finding lasting solutions to the challenges facing the country.
The CSOs also said it has noticed that hunger has hit Malawians hard; a situation it said was pathetic considering that hospitals are also affected.
In an interview, National Elections Systems Trust (Nest) executive director Unandi Banda, one of the CSO leaders present at the briefing, said CSP-CD believes that for the maize crisis to be taken head on, government should declare a state of emergency where hard-to-reach areas can get the grain through army helicopters and all those holding the grain in their warehouses, the police and army jointly can carry out searches to force those holding the grain to release in bulk to Admarc.
On her part, Faustace Chirwa of National Women’s Lobby Group said the current economic problems facing Malawi largely result from the country being a net importer.
Some CSO leaders present at the briefing yesterday included Maxwell Matewere of Eye of the Child, Billy Banda of Malawi Watch, Roselyn Mankhwala of Women in Partnership against HIV and Aids in Malawi (Wipam) and labour activist Luther Mambala.