The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) says the prevailing mood in Malawi is that of hopelessness, loss of direction, betrayal and anger fuelled by the general perception that the country lacks decisive leadership.
The commission has said this in a statement signed today by CCJP National Coordinator Boniface Chibwana
Chibwana noted that the Tonse Alliance Government led by President Lazarus Chakwera was voted into power because its campaign promises gave hope to most Malawians regarding being taken out of dehumanizing levels of poverty.
“But in less than two years all citizens, except for the few well connected, all that hope is lost. More seriously citizens don’t even know where the country is going. Recent street demonstrations are but just the beginning of the manifestation of people’s hopelessness, feeling of having been betrayed and their anger.
“The citizens’ anger is fuelled by the general perception that the country lacks decisive leadership. We pray that while citizens have a right and duty to express their dissatisfaction with the performance of their Government everything should be done according to laws of the land,” said Chibwana.
He added that the soaring cost of living in the country is a threat to the enjoyment of basic human rights and has potential to further throw many households in abject poverty.
Chibwana noted that the Government is obligated to cushion and protect the poor from such socio-economic shocks.
“Merely preaching austerity measures and calling for patience from the citizenry by the Government is a mockery to human dignity and is tantamount to Government’s abrogation of its duties. It is deplorable that the prevailing social protection mechanisms do not comprehensively include marginalized groups like persons with disabilities, the elderly and the urban poor,” said Chibwana.
He then urged Government to urgently institute inclusive and transparent social protection mechanisms to cushion the poor from the social economic hardships.
He added that the political leadership should walk the talk in implementing austerity measures in light of the undesirable prevailing socio-economic situation.
“The Government should heed the cry of the citizens most of whom have lost hope in the current Government’s ability to live up to its campaign propaganda – let alone lift them out of their daily worsening living conditions. The growing frustration and loss of hope by citizens should be addressed as matter of urgency,” he said.