Your (everybody’s) personal input is highly appreciated, everyone is welcome to contribute.
I propose the following demands:
1. Education: the draconian fee hikes in higher education need to be reversed, for the national good the government needs to adequately fund universities so they are not being forced to hike their fees like this. The executive lowered the allocation to education with 40% this budget year, and that is the cause of the fee hikes. This must be reversed.
2. Drugs shortages: all government hospitals are suffering drugs shortages at the moment. This is caused by systemic theft of drugs at many levels. ACB needs to investigate Central Medical Stores, and the whole chain of supply. In the mean time an internationally supervised system of procurement and distribution needs to be put in place, like the donors did in the past.
3. The declaration of assets by President and all government officials needs to be implemented strictly. This means that any official missing the deadline must be barred from entering a place of work or acting in any official capacity, and not receive any remuneration.
4. The ATI bill needs to be implemented immediately. It has been signed into law, but it is not being implemented because the Ministry is dragging its feet. This is unconstitutional and unacceptable.
5. Frequent power outages: the inefficiency, corruption and or incompetence at Escom have stopped the funding for the MDC programme, so we will not see any improvement in the short or even medium term. The contracts for Private Powers Suppliers have been awarded in an unprocedural way. This must be investigated by ACB and culprits must be prosecuted. We do not want pollution from outdated coal fired power, we want clean energy from solar, wind and hydro.
6. The civil service reforms programme has been transferred from the Vice President to the OPC. This lowers profile and engenders political and civil service interference in the programme. The VP must be reinstated, and he must get full mandate to push through the programme so the civil service will serve the public, and corruption must be dealt with.
7. Use of MBC: MBC must be made a real public broadcaster instead of a propaganda station funded by the tax payer (= the whole population). Immediately MBC must stop its biased reporting, and give equal space to other views than only DPP. The presidential powers must be curbed according to the DPP manifesto that we voted Mutharika in on: he must recede the power to appoint the boss of MBC. Instead this must be done by Parliament on nominations from a commission of senior media practitioners and academics.
8. Inadequate human resources and back payment for medical staff: all back payments for medical staff must be done immediately, and available human resource like doctors, medical officers and nurses must be hired to fight shortages in government hospitals. From now on payment to capital hill staff in the Ministry of Health must only be effected AFTER all staff in hospitals, who do the actual work, has been paid in full.
9. Descent jobs and living wage. It is common knowledge that most Malawians do not have descent jobs. Neither is the pay they get indexed to living cost. This is largely due to general lack of descent jobs themselves; laxities or slippages in implementation and enforcement of existing policies and laws and gaps in the existing policy frameworks. Civil Society in this regard demands that:
a. Adopt and implement fully the Decent work country programme and National Employment and Labour Policy Review and Implement an increased Living wage at the level of the “basic needs basket” (from CFSC)
b. Adopt the living wage policy
c. Enact and implement the tenacy and labour bill
10. Social protection
Malawians are susceptible to various shocks from the international trade regime;changes in prices of fuel at world markets; adverse weather as agriculture is rainfed; unpredictable foreign aid as conditionalities are always there among many fronts. This makes living standards highly conditional and unpredictable. To safeguard the majority Malawians from slipping into poverty traps a Social Support Policy was drafted awaiting Cabinet approval for more than two years now. In this regard Civil Society demand that:
a. Adopt and domesticate all Social Protection conventions i.e. 102 of the ILO
b. Introduce and implement a Comprehensive Social Protection system to cover old age benefits, retirement, health benefits etc.