The Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has called upon President Lazarus Chakwera to be vigilant and decisive in addressing the pressing socio-economic, governance, and accountability challenges faced by the people of Malawi. During a meeting with the President at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe, the leaders of HRDC expressed their concerns about the slow progress of development projects in the country, emphasizing that some projects are significantly behind schedule.
Advocating for Development and Accountability
In a recently released communiqué, Gift Trapence, the chairperson of HRDC, highlighted several critical issues discussed with President Chakwera. These included the implementation of the upcoming Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP), the escalating corruption levels in the country, the mounting debt crisis, the K750 million AIP funds stuck in Germany, and the impending hunger crisis caused by the impact of Cyclone Freddy, among other concerns.
Trapence stated, “We called upon the President to ensure that his government fulfills its campaign promises to generate investments that create employment opportunities.” HRDC urged the government to prioritize high-impact developmental projects that stimulate private sector growth, leading to job creation and overall economic prosperity.
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Highlighting Development Project Delays
HRDC also raised alarm over the delayed or stalled development projects that could result in significant cost overruns, potentially wasting billions of kwachas. Of particular concern were the Njakwa-Livingstonia, Mangochi-Makanjira, Kacheche-Chiweta, Jenda-Edingeni, and Neno-Tsangano Turn-off road projects. These delays could hamper progress and hinder the realization of the country’s development goals.
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Presidential press secretary Anthony Kasunda confirmed the meeting, noting that President Chakwera encouraged the rights defenders to continue demanding the people’s right to development.
This meeting marks the second encounter between HRDC and President Chakwera, with the first held immediately after the President assumed power in 2020. Both President Chakwera and Vice-President Saulos Chilima were actively involved in HRDC-organized street protests against the 2019 presidential election results, which ultimately led to their successful challenge in court.
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