By Stitilitha Mpembenji
Renowned human rights activist Undule Mwakasungula has taken a swipe at Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) for ignoring the efforts taken by the ruling Malawi Congress Party (MCP), under the leadership of President Lazarus Chakwera, to resuscitate the country’s economy.
Mwakasungula’s reaction comes a day after the HRDC held a press briefing which saw the coalition’s leaders labeling Malawi “a failed state” while challenging President Chakwera to address social and economic problems that Malawians are facing.
The HRDC leader Gift Trapence mentioned several pressing issues, including the escalating cost of living, the fertilizer procurement fiasco, an imminent food crisis, fuel and forex shortages, and an escalating debt crisis.
However, the challenges HRDC cited are a result of the crookedness of the erstwhile ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and natural disasters like cyclones that have hit the country back to back from 2020 leaving farmers with little or none to harvest.
It is against this background that the veteran human rights activist Mwakasungula, who acknowledges the socioeconomic challenges Malawi is facing, has called upon the HRDC leaders to appreciate the bold steps Chakwera’s administration has taken rather than focusing solely on the challenges that have nothing to do with the current leadership.
“It is important to acknowledge that the government has taken some steps to address the situation, such as cancelling the fertilizer procurement deal with Romanian firm East Bridge Estate and initiating efforts to recover funds from the K750 million deal.
“While the challenges we face are indeed serious and require urgent attention, it may be more constructive to view them as symptoms of underlying problems that need to be addressed, rather than labelling the country as drifting towards a failed state,” said Mwakasungula in a statement.
Patriotic as he is, Mwakasungula further urged Malawians to join President Chakwera in addressing the challenges arguing the crisis requires concerted effort.
He said: “It is also essential to note that although the situation is difficult, it is not hopeless. With decisive action from the government, support from the people and international partners, we can overcome these challenges and build a stronger, more prosperous future for our country.”
Mwakasungula’s response collaborates well with the Minister of Information and Digitalization, Moses Kunkuyu’s statement released on Monday which indicated that the President Chakwera’s administration is already working towards addressing the economic crisis the country is currently facing.