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Human rights activist faults Peter Mutharika

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Vocal human rights activist Gift Trapence has said it is sad that President Peter Mutharika “failed” to instill confidence in the country’s suffering masses through his New Year address to the nation.

Trapence said it was worrying that as Malawians enter the New Year, they have no picture of how government is going to tackle numerous challenges facing the nation.

“I wish the President gave Malawians a clear picture, in the absence of donor aid and in the situation in which we are where the kwacha continues to fall against the dollar, how we are going to survive as a country. How is the leadership style going to be different from the past year? We needed to hear concrete solutions to the problems that this country is going through and that is the hope he could have [given] Malawians,” said Trapence.

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But Mutharika in his New Year’s address stressed that Malawi had in the year

2015 moved f r o m suffering to success.

“I believe the worst of the times are gone. And the best of us is yet to come. The year 2015 was one of the most challenging, and most trying times in our national history,” he said.

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He added: “In the past year, we moved on many fronts. And those who prayed to “the unknown god” that my government [should fail] will live to be disappointed.”

However, Trapence said he is not sure if the nation will see any improvement in government performance this year.

“We have known the President and we will remember his leadership in 2015 as a year when leadership went to bed in as far as matching rhetoric [on good governance and human rights] with concrete action is concerned.

“In particular, 2015 was characterised by lack of leadership on critical issues of national concern, a scenario that often raised more questions than answers as to whether President Mutharika was in control,” he said.

“Under the pretext of practising servant leadership (leading from behind), Mutharika was silent on critical issues requiring his decisive leadership with the notable ones being the Nacgate, Malawi Savings Bank sale, the Judiciary strike and many others. In the midst of such “silence”, there were contradicting messages emanating from the Cabinet and Mutharika’s “village of advisers”, and in some cases, contradicting his own position. Due to such “absence” of leadership in 2015 it can be said beyond reasonable doubt that Malawi was running on auto-pilot,” said Trapence.

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