Sunday 18 March 2018

Malawi: We Need to Ask Tough Questions to Move Forward - VP

Malawi: We Need to Ask Tough Questions to Move Forward - VP
(Malawi News Agency 07/27/17)
Malawi Vice President Saulos Klaus Chilima

Lilongwe — Malawi Vice President Saulos Klaus Chilima has said Malawians need to start asking tough questions and get tough answers if the country has to change, saying change hurts but is the only way out to meaningful development.

Chilima said this on Wednesday at Bingu International Convention Centre in Lilongwe.

He was opening a two-day conference for civil society organizations (CSOs), and other stakeholders getting support from Tilitonse Fund, a three country donor financial assistant basket that help civil society in Malawi to engage government on governance issues.

Chilima hailed the achievements of activities benefitting from the fund in empowering communities to question duty bearers on utilization of resources and demand transparency and accountability in the discharge of public authority.

But he reminded the CSOs that the Mutharika government has also embarked on reforms drive under the umbrella of public sector reforms.

He said in order for this change to happen Malawians need to start asking tough questions and expect not so pleasant answers.

"Do we need so many principal secretaries in public service delivery? Do we need so many drivers in the public service? Can some public officers explain how they amassed so much wealth against their own legitimate income? Should the Malawi Housing Corporation be stopped from raising rental of its property? Chilima asked.

He urged the participants to the conference to reflect on the role it has played in as far as advocacy is concerned.

"I want to put these questions on the table for you to reflect on. When the Malawi Housing Corporation raises rentals of its property, and then there is resistance, which side do you take?

Do you defend the tenants or help the government to communicate that for MHC to provide its services, it needs to charge cost effective rates? What if government raises fees in public schools, as a civil society, are you supposed to join the protest or help communicate to the masses that this is important if we are to improve quality education especially when we look at the resource envelope in the wake of the population boom?" Chilima said.

Speaking earlier, were minister of justice and constitutional affairs, Samuel Tembenu, head of DFID in Malawi Jen Marshall and Malawi Tilitonse Program Manager Allan Chintedza.

In their remarks the three hailed the contribution made by the Fund on governance issues.

The minister of Justice, however, emphasized on the need for the incorporation of citizen responsibilities saying right should go with responsibilities if the country is to move forward.

By Stanley Nkhondoyachepa

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