The year 2011 has been a challenging one in terms of political and economic governance, leading some analysts, stakeholders and organisations to describe Malawi as a failed State. But is it all lost? What are some key players saying about expectations for 2012? The following are some of their views, compiled by Staff Reporter Frank Namangale in the South, Bureau Chief Frederick Ndala in the North and News Analyst Kondwani Munthali in the Centre:
Vice President of the Republic of Malawi
The year 2011 has been a difficult one for Malawians. We have never gone through a difficult time like this. Because of the financial situation Malawi finds itself in due to the withdrawal of budgetary support from our donors, the victims of that and the zero-deficit budget are poor Malawians. However, as Malawians, we have to look into the future with hope. We know that God will guide us. The President himself has promised that the year 2012 will be a better year. We can only sit and wait and hope that is what is going to happen. This is the year when we saw unrest. This is the year when people have been dying because they canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be operated on since there are no drugs in hospitals. This is the year mothers died when giving birth because they could not go to referral hospitals due to lack of fuel. We donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t even knowÃ‚Â how next year is going to be. All I can say is, Malawians need to stand together and continue to pray to God so that things should improve in 2012.
John Kapito, Cama executive
director, MHRC chairperson
Tough talking activist John Kapito says his constitutional body, the Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC), intends to work with other NGOs and CBOs to curb human rights abuses by government. He says the commissionÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 2011 to 2015 strategic plan stipulates this clearly. Ã¢â‚¬Å“MHRC has observed that understanding of human rightsÃ‚Â by the Executive and the Legislature is very limited and we expect to put our energies in this area to ensure that adherence of human rights is a natural practice,Ã¢â‚¬Â says Kapito. He argues MHRC will, in 2012, take its rightful position of becoming the lead agency by making sure that the State is complying in its reporting to various bodies on human rights such as the United Nations and the African Human Rights Commission.
Livingstonia Synod programme director
The year 2011 was full of ups and downs for Malawians. There were areas that were done well in terms of development. However, there were also other areas done badly, especially on the political front which, in turn, affected the economic and social aspects. In the year 2012, we will make sure that NGOs are more coordinated and push government to act within the Constitution. We will ensure that rights of people are respected and government works for the betterment of the nation. We will also ensure that the country wins back the donor trust and that there are good bilateral relationships with Zambia, Mozambique, Britain and other countries we are not relating well with.
For civil society, just like all Malawians, it has been a tough year because of social, political and economic problems the country faced. We spoke of these problems in the year 2009 and 2010 and they were manifested this year. We spoke on cutting on expenditure to save forex but government did not act. As NGOs, we have done our part in trying to give government guidance but we have gone through many challenges, as government has, to a larger part, not responded positively. In the year 2012, we will continue what we have been doing. We will also learn from our mistakes so that we make better strategies. We will also try to engage rural masses to ensure that all Malawians are active.