Political leaders in the country have branded 2019 as a make or break year for Malawians as they are set to go to the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections.
Delivering their New Year messages and their plans for 2019 in separate inter views, political leaders notably Vi c e-President and UTM party president Saulos Chilima, former president and People’s Pa r t y ( P P ) l e a d e r Joyce Banda, Speaker of Parliament Richard Msowoya and Malawi Congress Party (MCP) leader Lazarus Chakwera asked Malawians to elect the right leaders in the May elections for the betterment of the country.
Speaking through his special adviser on economic affairs Milward Tobias, Chilima wished Malawians both in the countr y and in the diaspora a fulfilling 2019.
He described 2018 as a mixed bag, observing t h a t t h e e c o n omy continued to grow “at an embarrassingly low rate”. He bemoaned natural disasters that caused suffering and loss of lives.
The Vice-President also pointed out high unemployment due to a weak economy and corruption, among other factors which affected the development of the country.
Said Chilima: “The electricity supply was at its lowest in history a n d t h a t c h o k e d industry; revelations of plunder of public r e s o u r c e s — f u e l g a t e and misprocurement at Escom [Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi], the Food Rations Deal scam at Malawi Police Service, weak leadership and others, continued to for the suffering of Malawians.” be factors responsible
He noted that although inflation and interest rates eased somehow and the exchange rate stabilised, weak production and structural constraints dwarfed potential gains, the ma c r oeconomi c environment would have delivered.
C h i l i m a s a i d i n 2019, people have the opportunity to put in a responsible, serious a n d p e o p l e – c e n t r i c government through their vote in May.
“We in UTM, believe we have presented to Malawians a political brand they can trust, that wi l l provide the much-needed leadership c a p a b l e of ma k ing economically correct decisions and leadership that puts people and the country first,” he said.
On his part, Chakwera wished Malawians a blessed a New Year and said 2019 is an important year as major decisions will be made on the direction of the country.
Said the MCP president: “Malawians will take up the responsibility to make the right decision, to put right leaders in right places. As a party, we are geared to winning the elections and we ask them to make their right decision in 2019.”
He said MCP has faced some challenges in preparing for the 2019 elections.
Said Chakwera: “We had a lot of challenges. We started the year with issues of the court but by God’s grace, we were able to overcome such challenges and consolidate our position as a party that is ready to build a new Malawi.”
On her part, Banda said there was so much anger among Malawians that was manifesting itself in different ways in the just-ended year.
She observed that lack of basic needs, prolonged blackouts, poverty and lack of access to quality health services, among other things, were the ma jor causes of the anger.
Said Banda: “These are simple problems to solve for the people but when they do not get answers, they get angry; hence, the anger I was not able to explain when I first came back.
“My message for 2019 is that we must desist from hurting and harming each other. I have demonstrated that we can run politics without using the podium to give hate speeches against other people. Those who do so should be named and shamed, especially those of us in politics”.
In a separate interview yesterday, Msowoya advised Malawian to think carefully as the country moves towards the tripartite elections.
Said Msowoya: “We saw a little bit movement of MPs [members of Parliament] in Parliament, and political parties being formed mainly positioning themselves for the elections. It was a successful year in terms of us reaching out to many organisations and taking Parliament to the people.
“But in 2019, watch out for wolves in sheep skins, those that disguise themselves as statesmen. Remember, voting happens in a day but suffering and frustration can be a long five years. I pray for good rains with less flooding and water disasters leading to a bumper harvest.”
On May 21 2019, Malawians will go to the polls to elect a president, MPs and councillors to govern the country for the next five years.