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Party leaders bank on 2019

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By Rebecca Chimjeka:

Political leaders in the country have expressed optimism that 2019 will be better than the year that has just ended.

Leaders, both in the government and opposition, have united in offering their message of hope for the new year.

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The leaders say Malawians should take advantage of 2019 elections to elect them so that they turn around the country’s economic fortunes and fight corruption.

In his New Year’s Statement, President Peter Mutharika has requested Malawians to continue working hard.

“We have survived the tough and lived the better times. As we enter the new year, I have one request to make to you all Malawians of goodwill. Let us continue every good work we have begun. Let us continue working hard for our families. Family is what makes us what we are. Our prosperity begins from our family life. Let us first remember the love, care and tenderness of our families,” Mutharika says.

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Mutharika has further said it is the responsibility of every Malawian to make Malawi a prosperous nation.

LEADING THE MOVEMENT— Chilima

According to Mutharika, the country has, so far, taken the right direction in as far as economic gains are concerned.

“Only four years ago, we found our economy suffering severe pains of mismanagement. We began with a crisis. Donors had withdrawn. Inflation was high and prices were rising. Interest rates were high and the cost of borrowing was very high. Our currency was unstable and fragile. Businesses were falling. Poverty was rising. And suffering was growing,” he

says.

On this year’s elections, Mutharika said it is a year Malawians will decide the fate of this country.

He has appealed to Malawians to maintain peace, love and unity during campaign period.

“Let us agree to practice civilised politics in the spirit of peace, love and unity. Let us reject politics of castigation. Reject politics of hate. Let us learn to forgive one another. Beyond politics, we are all Malawians. Let us reject smear campaigns. Say ‘no’ to savage politics of rudeness. Say ‘no’ to politics of lies! Time has come for us to rise above petty politics. Time has come for us to put Malawi first,” Mutharika says.

Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Lazarus Chakwera, has said Malawians should, in the year, wisely exercise their right to vote.

“Your vote is your voice and your voice has the power either to build a Malawi you can enjoy or to keep Malawi the same land of pain it has been for these many years. The question is: What do you need to do as a citizen to make 2019 the year to build a new Malawi? If you believe that to build a new Malawi, all we need are new parliamentarians, then I have bad news for you. A new Parliament will not be enough,” Chakwera said.

The Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president appealed to Malawians to vote for a new way of running the government.

“To make 2019 a year in which we build a new Malawi, you, as citizens, need to vote, not just for a new president, a new vice president, a new Parliament, new councils but vote for a new way of running government altogether. A new Malawi needs a new president, and a new vice president, who have not wasted power and taxes for five years and who will be too ashamed to ask for your vote again after breaking the 75 promises they made together during the last elections,” Chakwera said.

Former president Joyce Banda said she is hopeful that Malawians will give her a second chance.

“I have developed an economic model that is set to transform this country into a middle-income economy. The economic plan I have will be able to turn around the fortunes of this country within 18 months of getting into office again. I call upon all Malawians at home and abroad to work together with me to deliver our country from the shackles of underdevelopment and graduate from the group of the poorest countries in the world,” Banda said.

In a message on Christmas last week, through his special advisor on economic affairs, Milward Tobias, Vice- President Saulos Chilima, who is also leader of UTM, urged Malawians to approach 2019 with an open mind as they prepare to vote in the elections.

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