Last weekend, Malawi was shaken. Sorrow descended up the nation on the loss of its president Bingu wa Mutharika. As per Constitution, President Joyce Banda was sworn in, ushering in a new government and making history as the first female President in southern Africa.Â But what does this mean to the ordinary Malawian, to you and me? Albert Sharra finds out.
Undule Mwakasungura, Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC) chairperson.
The President should act rapidly on economicÂ and political reformsÂ so that this country comes back to where it was. I commend the steps she has made to restore lost donor support, but would advise her to bring back donor confidence, deal with chronic fuel and forex problems, make office appointments based on merit and not favours or ethnicity as well as change the face of MBC TV and radio and ensure it is more used to promote national agenda. She should also deal with democratic governance challenges, respect for the rule of law and promote human rights, professionalism in police service and ensure chiefs are not used for political purposes. She has a lot of national building and reconciliation to do. She should not waste time on revenge, but work to form an inclusive government and focus on making Malawi better.
Cecilia Mzoma, Area 23-based mandazi trader
Losing a president at a time when the country is facing economic challenges is a calamity. It means all the plans the late president had for the country are gone and we are to start all over again. God has his owns way of solving things and I believe the stepping in of Joyce Banda is an offering from Him. I feel there is a lesson to be learnt from all of this. I am optimistic that the new President will deliver. On top of all the issues, I would like her to do away with the zero-deficit budget.
Ellen Kondowe, Area 47 resident, Lilongwe
I believe everything was planned by God. The late president was a father to the whole nation, and his death has affected us. At the same time, we need to accept it as Godâ€™s will and forge ahead. We should have confidence in the new President because she has potential; remember she was chosen as running mate by our former president. We expect her to deliver. My request to Madam Joyce Banda is â€œlive by your words of not walking in corridors of revenge, forgive everyone and concentrate on changing things in the country.â€
Yakobe Tebulo, Blantyre
This whole thing is complicated. Without the wisdom of God, we cannot really know what it means. I am, however, filled with expectation. I would advise President Joyce Banda to not waste time on revenge as she has said. She should concentrate on turning the tables and improving the economic situation in the country. She should win back donor confidence. We should have enough fuel, forex and strong policies that can protect the rise in commodity prices on the market. She should abolish all bad laws, form an inclusive government and focus on good governance.
Josophine Molola, Ntandile, Lilongwe
Itâ€™s dramatic! Disaster and joy coming together. I canâ€™t describe this in better terms but personally, I am touched by the death of the former president. The fact that the two events took place simultaneously shows Godâ€™s hand in all circumstances.
Civil Society Education Coalition (CSEC) chairperson Ms Emily Banda
I believe whatever happened and the events that have unfolded are for us as Malawians to learn from. No man can beat Godâ€™s plan and therefore, we need to put on doveâ€™s eyes by looking beyond the storms. Let us unite and search for solutions using what we have at the moment. The new President is a woman who has worked tirelessly to improve lives of rural women, girls and children. I am also glad she is a true and mature politician who has interacted with all levels of people,Â hence well informed and aware of how honest or hypocritical we can be. My prayer is that God should be her daily guide. I donâ€™t expect Her Excellency to allocate less that 20 percent of the national budget to the education sector. I expect that our work in ensuring the 1962 Education Bill is replaced by the revised Education Bill. My humble advice to Madam Banda is to remember that all Bible parables and stories are for us to apply in our day to day lives. Remember that God is love and love is the greatest command, hence the need to apply it in our day to day lives.