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.
    Donations Rescue Afghan Parents, Children From Forced Labori
    X
    May 05, 2016 6:44 PM
    A Facebook campaign organized by a VOA radio host raised 150,000 Afghan rupees to rescue a family from forced labor at a brick kiln in Nangarhar province – the result of the father’s unpaid debt. Video by a VOA reporter in Jalalabad went viral this week and triggered the Facebook campaign.
    Video

    Video Donations Rescue Afghan Parents, Children From Forced Labor

    A Facebook campaign organized by a VOA radio host raised 150,000 Afghan rupees to rescue a family from forced labor at a brick kiln in Nangarhar province – the result of the father’s unpaid debt. Video by a VOA reporter in Jalalabad went viral this week and triggered the Facebook campaign.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Troops Recount Firefight Which Killed US Navy SEAL

    A U.S. Navy SEAL killed Tuesday, when Islamic State fighters punched through Kurdish lines in northern Iraq, was part of a quick reaction force sent to extract other U.S. troops trapped by the surprise offensive. VOA's Kawa Omar spoke with Kurdish troops in the town of Telskuf -- the scene of what U.S. officials called a "dynamic firefight."
    Video

    Video British Lawmakers Warn EU Exit Talks Could Last A Decade

    Leaving the European Union would mean difficult negotiations that could take years to complete, according to a bipartisan group of British lawmakers. While the group did not recommend a vote either way, the lawmakers noted trade deals between the EU and non-EU states take between four and nine years on average. Henry Ridgwell reports on the mounting debate over whether Britain should stay or exit the EU as the June vote approaches.
    Video

    Video NASA Astronauts Train for Commercial Space Flights

    Since the last Shuttle flight in 2011, the United States has been relying on Russian rockets to launch fresh crews to the International Space Station. But that may change in the next few years. NASA and several private space companies are developing advanced capsules capable of taking humans into low orbit and beyond. As VOA's George Putic reports, astronauts are already training for commercial spacecraft in flight simulators.
    Video

    Video US Worried Political Chaos in Iraq Will Hurt IS Fight

    The White House is expressing concern about rising political chaos in Iraq and the impact it could have on the fight against the Islamic State. The U.S. says Iraq needs a stable, central government to help push back the group. But some say Baghdad may not have a unified government any time soon. VOA's White House correspondent Mary Alice Salinas reports.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora