News

    Malawians Look To President Banda with High Hopes

    Malawi's new President Joyce Banda gives a press conference in Lilongwe. Banda said she was pinning her hopes on donors to re-open aid taps after she started talking to them on possible resumption of aid frozen over governance and macroeconomic concerns,
    Malawi's new President Joyce Banda gives a press conference in Lilongwe. Banda said she was pinning her hopes on donors to re-open aid taps after she started talking to them on possible resumption of aid frozen over governance and macroeconomic concerns,
    Lameck Masina

    Malawians are hoping the country’s new president, Joyce Banda, will resolve social and economic problems faced during the administration of the late President Bingu wa Mutharika who died earlier this month.  After just a few days in office President Banda is taking steps to meet some expectations.

    Daunting challenges

    The challenges faced by Malawi President Joyce Banda are daunting.  Malawians are hopeful she can turn the nation around from the poor governance, economic trouble and curtailed freedoms many blame on the late president Bingu wa Mutharika.  

    Many people are hopeful that Malawi's financial woes will ease under the leadership of President Banda. Former president Bakili Muluzi says the economy should be given high priority and he is ready to assist the new president with advice. “We need to address issues of economy first so that people can breathe some air. The last three years have been very difficult," said Muluzi. "I do drive to my village seeing the queues of cars and people looking for petrol diesel paraffin [the increase in] prices of our commodities. These are things the government should look into and I am optimistic that these things can be addressed.”

    Mike Banda, of the Malawi Economic Justice Network, says that in addition to improving the lives of its citizens, President Banda needs to restore Malawi's relations with donor partners, including the International Monetary Fund and U.S. Millennium Challenge, that felt forced to suspend their support because of Mutharika administration policies.

    “I think the issue of mending diplomatic ties with donors like Britain and other European countries, is also paramount so that we revert back to the relationship that we used to enjoy and [financial] support that were being given to us,” Banda stated.

    Citizens are hopeful

    Journalists in Malawi also have expectations of change. They want President Banda to repeal laws they feel limit media freedom that were enacted during president Mutharika’s time in office.

    “Our initial plan is to seek an appointment with her [President Banda] and present our issues on media because it’s not about bad laws [alone] but also issues to do with general media freedom in Malawi. So after the burial of the late president we will take it from there to engage the new government. Our expectation is that she will hear our plea to repeal the laws that are infringing on media freedom,” said Anthony Kasunda, chairman of the Malawi chapter of the Media Institute for Southern Africa.

    There's been movement in the first few days of the new administration. President Banda says she is on a path to mend souring relations with Britain, which declined last year when President Mutharika expelled a British diplomat for remarks made in a leaked diplomatic cable.

    “The Minister for Africa in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Mr. Henry Bellingham, indicated to me that the British government’s commitment to send a new British High Commissioner to Malawi is real and it will happen with the shortest period of time as part of the restoration of the cordial relations between our two countries,” Banda explained.

    Mending relations

    President Banda says she is also seeking to mend Malawi’s poor relations with its neighbor, Zambia. Bad blood between Mutharika’s government and Zambian President Michael Sata began before he was president with a 2007 political rift. Since his election as Zambia's president last year Sata has been refusing to visit Malawi. Banda now says diplomacy is back on course.

    “I spoke to President Sata of Zambia. We both committed ourselves to restore the cordial diplomatic relations between our two governments. It is important for us to improve and strengthen relations between our countries knowing how critical Zambia is to Malawi as a neighbor,” noted Banda.

    In a change of heart, Sata has donated five million liters of fuel to Malawi to help facilitate funeral arrangements for Mutharika.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: NVO
    April 14, 2012 10:31 AM
    Looking to a mere person with "high hopes" is useless. You need a good old-fashioned spiritual revival, plain and simple. People will inevitibly fail you.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora