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.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs