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HRDC expects progress on 100 days

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Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) says it expects the President Lazarus Chakwera administration to resolve various issues including corruption and longstanding human rights abuse cases within 100 days of its rule.

In a statement dated August 3 2020 titled ‘Human Rights Defenders Coalition expectations in 100 days of the new regime’ signed by Chairperson Gift Trapence and National Coordinator Luke Tembo, HRDC has outlined issues that the new regime should resolve.

Some of the issues are expediting of all corruption cases, freeing of the Anti- Corruption Bureau (ACB), establishment of a special court to handle corruption cases and increased human and financial resources to ACB.

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HRDC further says it expects the new administration to set timelines and decisively deal with all outstanding human rights violation and corruption cases within reasonable time.

The coalition has also asked the Chakwera administration to recover stolen money and assets, operationalise the Access to Information law and that all public officers declare their assets within 100 days of taking office.

“In the spirit of accountability, rule of law, democracy and human rights as promised in our Republican Constitution, the Human Rights Defenders Coalition would like to engage the new regime with various issues that we would like to see resolved in the first 100 days of their assuming the Presidency,” reads the statement in part.

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HRDC observes that the country is at a critical political, social and economic juncture and hence asked the new political leadership to take bold, decisive and sustained steps in improving governance.

HRDC has also asked the government to put in place drastic measures to increase the number of Covid-19 testing capacity so that 150,000 to 200,000 tests are conducted within the next four weeks.

HRDC has also warned private companies that are exposing their workers to coronavirus by forcing staff members who have tested positive to coronavirus to continue reporting for work.

HRDC has also demanded tangible results from the public sector reforms within 100 days on performance of parastatals particularly Escom, Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority, Malawi Revenue Authority and Malawi Broadcasting Corporation, which the coalition says require a complete overhaul.

The eight-point statement also asks the government to execute an urgent land audit and immediate release of findings of the Commission of Inquiry on killings of people with albinism.

Information Minister and government spokesperson, Gospel Kazako, said expediting cases will also depend on the nature of issues at hand.

“If some of the timelines are achievable, we will certainly work towards them. If some are not achievable, then this is the very reason every government has to be given five years to deliver,” Kazako said.

Centre for Social Accountability and Transparency Executive Director, Willy Kambwandira, agreed on the need for investigating and prosecuting state agencies to expedite trial of all cases related to corruption, plunder of public funds and other forms of abuse.

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