President Joyce Banda has appealed for patience from Malawians with her government, saying the country is closer to doing away with economic problems currently facing it.

Banda made the remarks in her Christmas message to the nation contained in a state press statement released on Monday.

The remarks follow reports of planned mass demonstrations against economic hardships on January 17 next year under the leadership of Consumers Association of Malawi (CAMA).

Consumer rights activists accuse Banda of failing to provide cautionary measures to Malawians, who are feeling the pinch of her government’s austerity economic reforms.

In the statement, President Banda reiterated that she inherited a difficult economy when she took over government in April, saying the problems will not be solved overnight.

She said the other problems that she inherited such as international isolation, soured relationship with neighbouring countries and political anger and pain in the country, were easier to deal with than the economic mess that her government inherited.

She singled out challenges such as the impact of suspension of aid, shortages of fuel and foreign exchange, increasing levels of poverty which she said are more complex issues that require more time to resolve.

“We have come this. The darkest hour of the night is behind us and dawn is just about to break off. I urge you to stay on course. Malawi will no longer be the same. We are about to close this chapter in our history of continued suffering,” Banda is quoted by The Daily Times as saying in a state statement realized through her presidential Secretary Steven Nhlane.

“We have begun a new book about Malawi; a new book that tells the story of our great people, of our wealth and glory and of our peace and redemption.”

The President, who also pardoned 279 prisoners on Monday, also urged Malawians to celebrate Christmas by showing love and sharing with those indeed.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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