TheÃ‚Â Public Affairs Committee (PAC) says the year 2011 has been the worst in terms of political and economic governance as evidenced by enactment of bad laws and acute shortages of fuel and forex in Malawi.
In a statement released Thursday, PAC chairperson, the Reverend MacDonald Kadawati, says the fuel shortage cannot be a result of Malawi being a landlocked country.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“After all, Malawi has not become landlocked today. During MuluziÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s and Dr BandaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s regime, Malawi was a landlocked country, but we never had a crisis of this magnitude. The todayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢sÃ‚Â unprecedented challenges have gone beyond peopleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s imagination,Ã¢â‚¬Â says Kadawati in the statement.
PACÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s observation is in sharp contrast to what President Bingu wa Mutharika has been saying that the fuel scarcity is a result of Malawi being a landlocked country compounded by poor vision by the previous regimesÃ‚Â which, he said, did not construct enough fuel reserves.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“EveryÃ‚Â MalawianÃ‚Â knowsÃ‚Â thatÃ‚Â whereÃ‚Â weÃ‚Â Ã‚Â reachedÃ‚Â Ã‚Â asÃ‚Â aÃ‚Â country ,Ã‚Â politicallyÃ‚Â andÃ‚Â economically , thingsÃ‚Â haveÃ‚Â fallenÃ‚Â apart,Ã¢â‚¬Â reads the statement.
Kadawati says PAC welcomes the promises that things would improve in the coming year.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Even if fuel is available today, it does not mean that the retrogressive nature of our economy and political governance is solved. The 20-point petition of 2011 highlights several challenges Malawi faces,Ã¢â‚¬Â Kadawati says.
Kadawati says PAC has noted the acute shortage of drugs in hospitals, forcing Malawians to purchase their own medicine in pharmacies.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Let us not turn a blind eye to the obvious problems, which everybody sees in this country. Let us learn to take responsibility because Malawians are suffering at the moment,Ã¢â‚¬Â he says.
Commenting on the dialogue initiated by government with civil society, the statement says PAC believes that any meaningful dialogue should take into account the suffering of the people.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Having observed that dialogue has taken such a long time to deal with MalawiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s challenges, PAC wishes to inform the public that it will resume its public policy influence and advocacy role in 2012 so that Malawians can voice out the way forward in collective fashion,Ã¢â‚¬Â says Kadawati.
On the governance part, PAC cites the Injunctions Law and the amended Section 46 of the Penal Code, which empowers the Minister of Information to ban publications deemed not in the public interest, as some of bad laws. The laws are part of those referred to Malawi Law Commission for review.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It is equally true that while these laws will be re-examined by the Law Commission, people feel that the review of such laws may take some time, an outcome that will be contrary to peopleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s expectations. It is our view that these bad laws should have been repealed in line with peopleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s demand.