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Public piles more pressure on government, one year on

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Betchani Tchereni

More comments are coming in from the public regarding their impression of the Tonse-led administration’s first year in office, with some arguing that it should do more on striking gender balance in Cabinet.

Panellists to a live debate held by Times Television on Thursday night further pointed out that it is time Capital Hill reconsidered the cost of doing certain business to rejuvenate the economy.

One of the panellists, Women’s Legal Resource Centre’s Maggie Kathewera Banda had misgivings towards President Lazarus Chakwera’s failure to live up to the promise of observing gender balance when appointing Cabinet Ministers.

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She said there were talks of having 50% of females serve as Ministers, but only 38% of women are serving in the current Cabinet.

While pointing out some of the government’s failures, the panellists also applauded the Tonse Administration’s efforts in improving the country’s agriculture sector, particularly through the introduction of the Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP) and legalisation of industrial Cannabis cultivation.

However, economist Betchani Tchereni said the Tonse administration should reconsider the cost of owning a licence to cultivate industrial cannabis.

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“The licence is too expensive. If we are to transform our economy as a country, we need to open up this business opportunity to all Malawians,” he said.

But Minister of Information, Gospel Kazako, who was expected to attend the panel discussion but pulled out last minute, told Malawi News in an interview that the Tonse-led administration has fulfilled a number of its promises.

“In every competition there is a starting point and a finishing line. You can’t declare one a loser before the finishing line. We have a five year mandate and this is just the beginning. During the first year, we spent more time in putting in place systems that would govern our motion. We got into a government that was in mess, complete mess.

“That not-with-standing, we managed to deliver a number of positives, we fulfilled our promise that the State President will be answering questions in Parliament, AIP, Tax band, Access to Information, Reforms, legalizing Industrial hemp, demolition of quota system, reduction of black out, kept the water taps flowing and many more, the list is long. Expect more in this second year,” he said.

Other panellists included Yusuf Mwawa of the United Democratic Front, Victor Mhango from Centre for Human Rights Education Advice and Assistance (CHREAA), Victor Chikofya Jnr who is a political analyst and Luke Tembo of the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC).

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