Chakwera full of lip services

LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera’s lip services of sugarcoating speeches without walking the talk has angered multi-stakeholder task force on National Climate Change Management Funds (NCCMF).

The task-force is unhappy with President Chakwera’s Tonse government of not implementing what is being promised on the environmental and climate change sector; starting from his July 2020 inauguration to two State of National Addresses (SONAs) coupled with Sunday briefs.

The grouping told the news conference on Friday, May 28, 2021 in the capital Lilongwe that Chakwera must demonstration his servant leadership by acting on what he has been promising Malawians.

The task-force cited failure to enact Disaster Risk Management (DRM) Bill into law, lack of commitment to ending wildlife and environment related crimes,less commitment to having a National Climate Change Fund up and running and unable to operationalize Malawi Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) as a law enforcement agency and among others.

Multi-stakeholder task force on National Climate Change Management Funds (NCCMF) addressing journalists on Friday

The task-force led by Civil Society Network on Climate Change (CSONECC) observes that Chakwera’s May 12, 2021 SONA did not address other pertinent issues regarding to environmental and climate change management.

CSONECC’s Board Chairperson Sophie Kaonongera observes that President Chakwera’s second SONA is a missed opportunity saying the grouping expected roadmap from Tonse government on how best will implement promises made in the sector.

“As stakeholders working in the environment and climate change management sector, we appreciate the progress made in the various sectors and acknowledge the direct and indirect effects of the milestones on Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management in the country. However, we feel the SONA did not address other pertinent issues affecting the sector as promised.

“Government should prioritize passing of the Disaster Risk Management (DRM) Bill to help Malawi shift from Disaster response to Disaster Risk Management. Malawi loses close to 6 billion Kwacha annually to disasters such as floods, droughts and heavy winds. Almost double the amount is needed to recover from these perennial disasters. Despite this being the case, the country is still using the 1991 Disaster Preparedness and Relief Act which focuses more on response and recovery than preparedness and risk containment. Malawi started developing the DRM Bill in 2014, however, the Bill is yet to be enacted,” urges Kaonongera.

CSONECC National Coordinator Julius Ng’oma echoed on the same saying; “We call on the President and his administration, through the line Ministry as well as the Parliament of Malawi to prioritize tabling and enactment of the Bill to allow Malawi put in place a more appealing law that will effectively guide to disaster management in the country.

“There is need for investment in infrastructure that will help prevent disasters in the known disaster-prone areas. It is a known fact that some districts are well known for disasters such as floods. Districts such as Zomba and Chikwawa experience floods from the very same rivers. This being common knowledge now, the expectation is that Government will and must prioritize construction of flood protection structures such as dykes on such places to address the risks and contain the hazard”.

Association of Environmental Journalists (AEJ) in Malawi’s Secretary General Charles Mkoka chipped in saying; “Government should revisit the implementation of the National Clean-Up Day that was established in November, 2020. Much as the day was established to foster waste management in the country; it is more of a routine than a change that we want to see in waste management in the country. The National Clean-Up Day must be more of raising awareness about the rights and responsibility to a clean environment.

“The National Clean-Up Day must be a call to civil society organizations, private sector and even development partners to support district councils in waste management with the resources and expertise to properly manage wastes.And the National Clean-Up Day must be an opportunity to showcase the various ways of recycling so that people start seeing waste as raw materials”.

However, the task force told the news conference that while the grouping remain open to dialogue on issues raised, the committee requests Chakwera’s Tonse government to seriously consider taking action on the recommendations stipulated and put forward.

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