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CSOs challenge government on poverty levels

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KAMBWANDIRA—Mining is dominated
by foreign investors

By Wezzie Gausi:

The Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has asked the government to narrow the gap between the rich and the poor if democracy is to flourish.

HRDC Chairperson Gift Trapence said democracy was compromised in the country because the poor were failing to participate in it.

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“We are having a big gap between the poor and the rich. The rich continue to abuse the country’s resources and the poor keep on suffering the consequences. In this democratic world, the government must try to come up with ways of empowering the poor.

“As government will be implementing Malawi 2063, let it prioritise the issue of addressing the gap. Those people living below the poverty line should be bailed out,” Trapence said.

Centre for Social Accountability and Transparency Executive Director Willy Kambwandira concurred with HRDC, saying the gap between the rich and the poor had widened at an alarming time.

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“Unless the government takes action, the majority of Malawians will continue living in poverty. There is unequal distribution of national resources. Land has been sold to foreigners at the expense of local Malawians.

“Mining is dominated by foreign investors and the government has been silent when it comes to addressing these and several other crucial issues. Cases of corruption continue to rise and very little is being done to uplift the lives of Malawians,” Kambwandira said.

Government spokesperson Gospel Kazako said the government was aware of the need to narrow the gap.

He said that is why the government had instituted policies that favour Malawians.

“The President directed that small and medium businesses must be a priority. We are also deconstructing the tendency of dominance in doing business with the government by a few families and companies.

“We are spreading the national cake. We are also reviewing some policies and laws that impinge on our dreams of narrowing the gap between the poor and the rich,” Kazako said.

Recently, the Malawi Economic Justice Network (Mejn) said unequal distribution of national resources was one of the factors contributing to the yawning gap between the rich and the poor in Malawi.

Mejn Executive Director Bertha Phiri observed that only 10 percent of the country’s population was sharing 50 percent of national resources, which means that most Malawians were suffering due to mismanagement of resources.

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