President Banda's 100 days in officeBy REX CHIKOKO in Blantyre | Saturday, July 14 2012 at 12:38
Malawians will on Sunday join President Joyce Banda in celebrating 100 days in office.
President Banda ascended into power on April 7 2012 following the death of Prof Bingu wa Mutharika.
The late Mutharika succumbed to cardiac arrest on April 5 at his New State House residence in the capital Lilongwe.
However, Malawians have reacted to President Banda’s 100 days in office with mixed reactions.
Some highlights during her 100 days of ruling have included devaluation of the Kwacha, restoring sour diplomatic relations, restoring donor confidence, firing of heads of government institutions that were appointed by her predecessor, formulating a budget that is pro-business and not pro-poor and increasing incidences of insecurity.
Late Bingu wa Mutharika’s party, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), was the first to take a shot at President Banda’s 100 days in office saying her administration has failed to live up to expectations of Malawians .
"Jobs are being lost based on tribal reasons, industries are struggling. Electricity is in short supply. Water is being rationed. The roads are a collection of potholes. The constitution is under threat and the judiciary under attack. Malawi is at a crossroads. With devaluation not covered up, survival has become an everyday struggle," said the party's leader in Parliament George Chaponda.
The former ruling party blamed Banda’s administration for lack of clear political and economic policies apart from reversing the ‘seemingly’ wrongs of late President Mutharika’s administration.
Malawi Law Commission president Gift Mwakhwawa blamed government on the application of the law accusing it is being selective when it comes to constitutional matters.
Mr Mwakhwawa pointed out the failure to impose Section 65 as a major abuse of the constitution. Section 65 stops legislators from party hopping.
"Most Malawians expected the government to respect the rule of law and do things differently compared to the past regimes, but that has not been the case," he said.
Human rights activist Undule Mwakasungula has described Joyce Banda's 100 days in office as era of armed robberies, rapes, killings which were common during the time of Bakili Muluzi.
However, reacting on the matter, government spokesperson Moses Kunkuyu trashed Dr Chaponda’s claims and distanced the president and her People’s Party (PP) from the issue of Section 65.
“It is well unfounded to say the government of Joyce Banda has failed. We have managed to bring back the donor picture and revive our relations with the international community,” said Mr Kunkuyu.
He said the availability of fuel and other things is a clear indication that things are now on the right track.
“Three months ago we were queuing for fuel but now we have fuel, Malawi is regaining its position and is receiving its glory. Malawi is no longer queuing for fuel and other basic necessities, shortage of foreign currency is now over and relationship with donors and neighbouring countries has been returned,” he said.
The 100 days celebrations started on Wednesday with interdenominational prayers in Lilongwe and will end with a symposium and public rally in Blantyre.
"We will celebrate the country’s recovery from social, political and economic problems which people of Malawi experienced during past regimes," he said.
"We also managed to abolish the cruel Zero-deficit budget and devalue the kwacha for the love of our economy," he said.
Meanwhile President Banda has dedicated her first 100 days in office to Malawians who she said have tremendously supported her throughout the period.
“Let me pay tribute to Malawians for their support since I took over, we have done it together,” President Banda said on Monday.
The President said she is celebrating her 100 days in office with a renewed commitment to addressing maternal and child health problems.
Meanwhile UK Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Henry Bellingham MP will visit Malawi from 15-17 July to attend President Banda’s 100 days in office celebrations and meet other senior figures from the private sector.
Mr Bellingham will become the second UK Government official to visit Malawi since President Banda assumed office. The Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell visited the country in May 2012.
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