The Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has reminded President Lazarus Chakwera that Malawians’ expectations from his Tonse Alliance administration remain high as they begin 2021, stating government owes its mandate to the citizens.
While acknowledging that the Tonse Alliance—which took over government after winning the court-sanctioned June 23 2020 Fresh Presidential Election—has so far demonstrated intentions to depart from the leadership shortfalls of the previous Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration, HRDC stressed that Malawians are eager to see Tonse deliver on a number of critical areas.
In its seven-page New Year’s message, HRDC expressed its worry on the new administration’s slow pace in acting on major decisions, saying it effectively overshadows its achievements and affects people’s sense of hope.
Reads the statement in part: “We commend the government for the various strides it has made since June 2020 and extend our appeal for the administration to widen, deepen and sustain these initiatives towards the Malawi we all want.
“But at the same time, we remind the Tonse government that Malawians have suffered enough from broken promises before and now look forward to this government to reward them for their sacrifices and trust by quickly meeting their expectations.”
On corruption, HRDC noted the Tonse Alliance administration brought a lot of early promises by arresting a number of high-level corruption suspects, but has “dampened this hype by suddenly slowing down on investigations and prosecution of the cases”.
“This is disappointing as non-action is equivalent to government’s acquiescence to the abuse of public resources, which is unacceptable.
“Malawians expect that in the year 2021, the government will speed up processing of corruption cases to deliver a strong statement that abuse of public resources will no longer be tolerated in this country,” read the statement further.
Other areas of concern, according to HRDC, include eradication of corruption, protection of women and children, crackdown on mob violence, freeing the country from the yoke of debt and expediting justice delivery.
HRDC has also called for land justice, protection of small-scale farmers, public sector reforms, leadership on Covid-19, quality health services for all, quality education for all, a roadmap for job creation, support for informal, small and medium enterprise sector of the economy and energy to power economic growth.
The call comes barely two weeks after HRDC issued another statement reviewing the performance of the Tonse Alliance administration since assuming power under Chakwera’s leadership late June 2020.
On the creation of one million jobs which the Tonse Alliance trumpeted during the fresh presidential election campaign period, HRDC observed that so far, there is no clear roadmap on how the administration will achieve the promise.
Reads the statement: “The youth of this country look forward to government to deliver on this promise and we expect an appropriate roadmap on the programme.”
While the administration continues touting several achievements during its past six months in office, analysts and commentators have described the achievements as mere ceremonial than concrete outcomes of campaign promises.