The Malawi Congress Party at its convention over the weekend elected for Assemblies of God Church president, Dr. Lazarus Chakwera to lead the party taking over from veteran politician John Zenus Ungapake Tembo.
Here is Dr. Chakwera’s speech in full:
It is with great pleasure, joy, and humility that I stand before you at the auspicious occasion of the Malawi Congress Party Convention. It is a great joy because of party the might Malawi Congress Party has just seen a smooth and peaceful transition of power from the old new generation. It is with humility, because all Malawians have been waiting for this day and it has indeed come. Ladies and Gentlemen, I would be failing my duty if I don’t mention and recognise the achievements made by Rt. Hon. JZU Tembo in making sure that this convention takes and becomes a success. The way the Party has conducted this convention is a true indication and sign of maturity of intra-party democracy under the leadership of Rt. Hon. JZU. Tembo. My appreciation also goes to for National Executive Committee (NEC)
Distinguished delegates, ladies, and gentlemen, let me also take time to thank the organizing committee under the leadership of Hon. Lombola for working tirelessly for the realization of this important and well organized convention.
I would like to thank the contestants for all the positions that were open for competition in the party. I thank all the candidates for sticking to democratic principles and values in this competition. All candidates have been democratic in the way they conducted their campaign, going through an electoral process and accepting the outcome of the election. This must be commended. All of us, we are a family of the mighty Malawi congress Party. For us to be strong and succeed to get into government as this is our main goal, we need the contribution of everybody whether in an elected or non-elected position-Let us work together as a team. Together, we will build the Malawi nation.
I would like in a special way to thank all the delegates for making sure that this convention is a success. I understand that some of the delegates you had preferred candidates who have made it while some of you, had your preferred candidates who have not made it BUT this Ladies & Gentlemen should not divide us-We are all one family. In a democracy, some win and some lose. What matters most is that the process of this convention and election has been free and fair.
Distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen, this convention is historical because it strengthens the Malawi Congress Party to make it a beacon of hope for the nation. Since this is a political gathering, let me start by explaining our shared vision for our might MCP.
Our shared vision for the Party
Distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen; the contribution of the MCP to the politics and development of this country cannot be overemphasized. MCP, as I have said in my previous meetings with delegates, is a party with unique history in four dimensions. First, it is the party that fought for the freedom of this country against colonialists. It is therefore a party with liberation ideology and with that we are going to liberate Malawi again from the agonies of poverty and underdevelopment; Second, MCP is the party that laid foundations of our economic and social development through huge investment in agriculture, education, health, infrastructure, cultural and youth development. Third, MCP is one of the few nationalist parties in Africa to have survived 20 years in opposition without going into political extinction. Fourth, MCP is more institutionalized than other parties in Malawi. It has viable structures in every corner of this country.
Current status of the MCP
Ladies and Gentlemen, MCP is the strongest Political Party in this country and we give credit to the leadership under Rt. Hon. JZU Tembo for keep the Party intact since getting out of power in 1994. Nevertheless, ladies and gentlemen, over the past years, the party has gone through a number of challenges but it has stood the test. We should all thank Rt. Hon. JZU Tembo, and all the MCP leadership and members for keeping the Party intact. I have a lot to learn from Rt. Hon. JZU. Tembo.
Ladies and gentlemen, if it well not for their strong and courageous leadership, this party would have disintegrated. The MCP leadership under Rt. Hon. Tembo needs to be applauded.
Transform MCP from Opposition to Ruling Party
Distinguished delegates, ladies and Gentlemen, our primary objective should be to transform the Malawi Congress Party from a leading Party of Opposition in Parliament to a Ruling Party by winning the Presidency and majority of seats in Parliament. I have faith that this will happen and I share the same with you. We appreciate the efforts by the current leadership at all levels for sustain the party since getting out of power in 1994. Having gone through four elections, lessons have been learnt and we need to get informed advice from Rt. Hon. JZU Tembo on how we can improve. Malawians want change and that change will only come with the MCP’s victory in the 2014 elections. We this nomination, we shall work hard to win the Presidency and get more parliamentary seats in the forthcoming 2014 elections. This is the faith we all can share. Change has come and we shall win the elections. Ladies and gentlemen, the outcome of this convention entails that democracy has triumphed. We have to join hands and work together for the party to win in the forth coming elections. I cannot do it alone but we need joint effort.
Engage with the membership and recruit new members
Distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen, MCP is the strongest party in this country. Nevertheless, there is need to do more in engaging party membership at all levels and to reach out to voters. MCP is a party which stands for Unity, Loyalty, Obedience and Discipline. We shall endeavor to strengthen these principles into the political system for the realization of sanity for national development. Ladies and gentlemen, there are millions of people who love the MCP and these people are waiting to see the MCP get back to government.
Distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen, the MCP is the party that has institutionalized membership. Your presence is an indication that our party has strong structures across the country. Our members are the vital backbone of our party – they take our message to the voters during elections, our candidates come from their ranks and they are the foundation on which the rest of the Party rests. If we fail to value and respect them, they simply will not continue to be members and without them the MCP cannot remain a strong force in Malawi’s political system. The MCP leadership shall respect the old members and tirelessly work together to attract and recruit new membership for the party. The future of Malawi’s politics further depends on how the MCP interacts with the today’s youth. The MCP shall always project a good image to the youth who are the majority of the population and voters.
Distinguished delegates, ladies and Gentlemen, we shall jointly enhance inclusive leadership and membership so that the Party’s tentacles spread and yield electoral results in all regions and districts of this country at all times. We need to unite for the common good. The MCP leadership we shall truly embrace important leaders from other regions and pay attention to the tribal pluralism that exists across all regions in the country. MCP is a national party and that is why we have delegates from every districts.
Distinguished, delegates, ladies and Gentlemen; the MCP shall strengthen its party structures to ensure intra-party democracy in making of party decisions. We must, as a Party, be willing to act as facilitators by helping the membership to find the best structures and models that work for them. The most visible public face of the Party is organizational structure and local leadership. The owners of the MCP are the people under the leadership of our distinguished chairmen, Women’s league, and the Youth league. If as leaders we fail to empower and encourage members, we are failing to relate to so many voters. MCP shall encourage health debate over issues within the confines of party structures.
Institutionalized Party Administrative system
Distinguished delegates, ladies and Gentlemen, administrative system is the hub of any political party. We thank the Former President, Rt. Hon. JZU Tembo, for keeping structures of the party intact. Every MCP member should be involved in work to mobilize resources for the strengthening of the Party’s secretariat and administrative services at national, regional and district offices. Democracy consolidation and development can never be meaningfully realized if the Party system is weak, fragmentated, and characterized by policy and ideological bankruptcy. I would like to emphasize that MCP is an institutionalized and we have the ability to attract the electorates if we can better articulate and present our policies to them. We shall revitalize and refurbish the infrastructure of the MCP in all regions and districts.
Distinguished, ladies and gentlemen, the manner in which we manage government affairs is a reflection of our management of party affairs. Ladies and gentlemen, we should thank the leadership of Rt. Hon. Tembo for taking care of the party resources which include the buildings the party has across the country. It is with this faith that MCP leaders at national, regional, district, constituency, area, and branch levels that all of us should work together to honour our formers leaders who have worked so hard to sustain the party.
Policy based politics
Delegates, Ladies and gentlemen, now I turn to the issues of party conventions. The idea that the policies of the government are affected by the policies of the parties that comprise them is at the heart of the theory of representative democracy such that if one does not relate to the other, then it is unclear how elections can have much impact on what governments do. The policy priorities of governments in modern democracies reflect the formal programs presented by competing parties during elections and that this congruence between promise and performance is at the heart of democracy. Electing politicians or parties that have no policy agenda is in a way electing a government that has totally no agenda. We should not expect a miracle of harvesting a mango fruit from an Orange tree. Government is about Public Policy and Governments are run by Political Parties. MCP shall endeavor to provide policy alternatives that are generated through resolutions that originate from Party members at the grassroots.
Ladies and Gentlemen, as MCP, we would like to emphasize the need for democratic and institutionalized party system. This is good for national politics and at the same time the development of this country. Our development problem as a nation is rooted in the kind of politics we practice and we need to change this. This is why we are calling for more institutionalized and accountable political party.
Malawi’s developmental agenda
Distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen, let me now turn my focus to the agenda for national development. How do Malawians envisage their future? What kind of society do they want to become? How can they construct a united and inclusive Malawians identity? What are the transformations needed to emerge from a deeply unsatisfactory social and economic situation? These are the main questions that which the MCP would like to address.
Distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen, our nation is facing a number of challenges such as food shortages and perpetual hunger, poor economic outlook, tribalism and challenges to national unity, endemic corruption and poor adherence to rule of law, and poor service delivery by responsible duty bearers. These are the issues our party is geared to deal with.
Distinguished delegates, there is no doubt that good party politics leads to good governance and perfect management of State and government affairs. It is with this hope that we can reorganize and strengthen the MCP in order for the Party to unleash its potential. Fellow Malawians, we should no longer base our political success on strong personalities, regionalism, tribalism, clientelism, and politics of patronage. These factors have failed to give us development in the past. Political success and survival ought not be accidental or depend on one’s ability and craftiness in the control of the chains of rent-seeking, clientelism and patronage.
Distinguished delegates, Ladies and gentlemen, MCP has the ability to offer a new vision for Malawi and we can jointly agree to cherish and build on foundation laid down by the founding fathers and mothers of our nation at independence. We have a chance to open a new chapter in Malawi’s politics. Malawi’s problem is politics. We need to build and strengthen institutions for development. Once we assure Malawian’s that we can do good politics then we shall give them hope for progress in development.
Distinguished delegates, the National Development Agenda requires collaboration between all sections of society and effective leadership by government. In a society with deep social and economic divisions, neither social nor economic transformation is possible without a capable, viable and functioning state. Malawi needs a state that provides institutions and infrastructure that enable the economy and society to operate. Currently, there is urgent need for critical interventions to build a state capable of realizing national development; otherwise the whole talk of development is fallacious.
Distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen, enough is enough and as a nation we need to wake up from deep slumber. This country is the only one we have got and we need to start practicing politics of development. Broadly, the following issues are very fundamental;
· Malawi needs to build a state that is capable of playing a developmental and transformative role. This entails reconstruction of the nation and its social capital anchored on good governance, underpinned by a capable state.
· The public service needs to be immersed in the development agenda but insulated from undue political interference.
· Public services at all levels must have the authority, experience and support they need to do their jobs. It will require a comprehensive human resources development, encompassing education, health, and ICT skills aimed at public sector, private sector and civil society. This will require a more long-term approach to skills development.
· Improving relations between national, and local government requires a proactive approach to resolving coordination problems.
· The governance structures for state-owned enterprises (SOEs)/Parastals should be simplified to ensure clear lines of accountability and stable leadership.
· Transformation of agriculture into a productive, high value, market oriented sector, with forward linkages to other sectors.
· Development of an efficient private sector spearheaded by competitiveness and entrepreneurship.
· Infrastructural development, entailing improved transport links, energy and water supplies and ICT networks;
What are the challenges?
First, the main challenge has been unevenness in capacity that leads to uneven performance in government. This is caused by a complex set of factors, including tensions in the political-administrative interface, instability of the administrative leadership, skills deficits, the erosion of accountability and authority, poor organizational design and low staff morale.
Second, ladies and gentlemen, is that short term planning does not help. We need long term planning. Development planning should not be determined by tenure of political office. That’s where we go wrong. We need to look into the future of our grandchildren. There have been many individual, state and presidential initiatives, but there is a tendency to jump from one quick fix or policy fad to the next. These frequent changes have created instability in organizational structures and policy approaches that further strain limited capacity. The search for a quick fix has diverted attention from more fundamental priorities for state building and development. Lack of long term developmental policy framework has led to the capture of the state by various interest groups both internal and external. The MCP government shall put mechanism that eliminates state capture by various groups.
Third, a deficit in skills and professionalism affects all elements of the public service. At senior levels, reporting and recruitment structures have allowed for too much political interference in selecting and managing senior staff. The result has been unnecessary turbulence in senior posts, which has undermined the morale of public servants and citizens’ confidence in the government. At junior levels, there has been insufficient focus on providing stimulating career paths that ensure production of skills and foster a sense of professional common purpose. The state needs a clear vision for where the next generation of public servants will come from and how specialist professional skills will be reproduced. Weak managerial capacity and lack of leadership prevent these issues being addressed. Since the advent of multiparty democracy, there has been no investment in the future generation. The entire education system is rundown. We need to invest in the future generation for better tomorrow.
Fourth, Malawi continues to struggle to achieve constructive relations between local, and central government. A lack of clarity about the division of responsibilities together with a reluctance to manage the system has created tension and instability across these spheres of government. There is no consensus on how this is going to be resolved and there is a lack of leadership in finding appropriate solutions. These coordination problems are not unique to Malawi. The issue is how they are dealt with. Holding elections for local councilors in 2014 is not an end in itself, there is need for political leadership that is willing to devolve power from the Centre. The MCP has experience in running the local government system and using the existing legal framework, the MCP shall ensure its full implementation.
What are the Proposals for development?
Distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen, to address the twin challenges of poverty and inequality, the state needs to play a transformative and developmental role. This requires well-run and effectively coordinated state institutions with skilled public servants who are committed to the public good and capable of delivering consistently high quality services, while prioritizing the nation’s developmental objectives. This will enable people from all sections of society to have confidence in the government, which in turn will reinforce the state’s effectiveness.
Distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen, Malawi desperately needs a capable and developmental state: capable in that it has the capacity to formulate and implement policies that serve the national interest; developmental in that those policies focus on overcoming the root causes of poverty and inequality, and building the state’s capacity to fulfill this role.
Distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen, the MCP’s National Development Agenda shall highlight the need for a state institutions that are capable of driving the country’s development. Building state capacity is the most important step to achieve development, and these steps will be anchored in the democratic tenets as enshrined in the MCP philosophy.
Distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen, the MCP will bring about rapid and sustainable transformation in a country’s economic and/or social conditions through active, intensive and effective intervention in the structural causes of economic or social underdevelopment. We shall not simply produce regulations and legislation but constantly strive to improve the quality of what we do by building our own capacity and learning from experience.
Distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen, the MCP shall recognize the importance of building constructive relations with all sectors of society, while insulating itself from capture by sectional interests. We shall promote democratic principles so that the government has sufficient legitimacy to bring about transformation. We believe that a robust democracy is not just compatible with building a capable and developmental state; it is an essential prerequisite for the sort of developmental agenda needed to tackle poverty and inequality. The experience of other countries shows that this cannot be done overnight. Measures will have to be strengthened over time and the MCP has the capacity to do so.
BRIEF SECTORAL FRAMEWORKS
Distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen, MCP’s development policies are rooted in agricultural development. I don’t want to take much of your time by detailing entire policy framework that the MCP envisages for the nation.
Distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen, we shall discuss and communicate with each other in the Party on the finer details of the MCP’s policy framework for the country touching on economy, education, health, foreign policy, entrepreneurship and job creation, research, science and technology, and taxation policy. MCP policy framework shall be forward-looking in all aspects taking into consideration that we are living in a competitive globalised world. Suffice to say as a leader of the Malawi Congress Party, it is important that direction is given as regards overall sectoral policy framework, starting with agriculture and the economy.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Malawi is a small, largely rural country, with up to three-quarters of the population living below $1.25 dollars a day. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) capita is $310, one of the lowest in the world. Poverty in Malawi is focused in rural areas where 85% of the population live.
Over 90% of the poor are small or medium scale farmers in rural areas, mainly reliant on rain-fed production, on small plots of land (less than a hectare) for their food, well-being and income. Women make up 70% of the agricultural labour force. They are far more likely to be working in the informal (non-wage) sectors which are often worst hit by disasters and other shocks. This is also true for children in child headed households and elderly people. Droughts, floods and variable rainfall result in reduced crop production – the main sources of food and income for the poor in Malawi.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Why the MCP believes that agriculture will remain the mainstay of the economy for the foreseeable future?
Agriculture accounts for about 37% of GDP, and tobacco alone account for more than 65% of export earnings. Agriculture employs 85% of the country’s workforce. More than 70% of the agriculture labour is provided by women. The MCP recognizes that poverty in Malawi is focused in rural areas where 85% of the population live. As such, prioritizing agriculture is only sure way for the Malawi to achieve inclusive growth, attain food security and reduce poverty.
Therefore, the MCP endeavors to implement the following medium to long-term strategies to achieve increased agricultural productivity and food security:
Ladies and Gentlemen, given the heavy reliance of the economy on agriculture, there is need to have an aggressive strategy to promote agricultural exports (both traditional and non-traditional) so as to broaden and deepen the sources of foreign exchange which is critical to support the current macro-economic policy framework. MCP believes that Malawi as a nation we ought to emphasize on becoming a net exporter in the short to medium-term as a sustainable and dignified way of restoring our macro-economic stability because relying on donor inflows has its many downsides.
Distinguished delegates, ladies and Gentlemen, the MCP recognizes that what Malawi needs to do in the medium and long term is to put measures that enable us to raise the export potential of our agricultural commodities as this has been a long outstanding structural challenge that we need to address.
Consequently, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen MCP believes that as a nation, we should aim at creating a more productive, internationally competitive and diversified agricultural sector. This demands an urgent need to address our supply-side constraints in the sector with a swift, radical and a coordinated action at different levels by different actors in the Malawian agricultural value chain.
Farmer organization system
Farmers’mobilization for collective production and marketing especially with focus on establishment of farmer marketing cooperatives through clubs with an agribusiness focus. MCP has a track record of engaging farmers into clubs as economic units for agricultural production and access to financing. Organizing farmers into functioning cooperatives with strong governance structures will strengthen smallholder farmers’ voice to negotiate for better prices, reduce transactions costs, and operate at economies of scale.
Ladies and Gentlemen, MCP other priority will also be to move rapidly with formation of well- regulated contract farming (CF) arrangement and cooperatives that are shall be supported by strong legal framework to set clear ground rules and promote fairness.
Access to financing through credit system that is linked to structured marketing system.
Delegates, ladies and gentlemen, we are also mindful of the bottleneck in access of financial services. The MCP will put more emphasis in providing agriculture inputs through farmers’ clubs to support the smallholder farmers.
Distinguished delegates, ladies, and gentlemen, the MCP will also put a priority to support and revamp estate to boost agricultural commercialization for exports. Malawians should remember that Malawi in the MCP era was able to produce enough, exported to Europe and other countries because we were able to produce the volumes and quality through engagements of estate sector. Estate farming has to be given adequate attention as this is the only way to produce enough for the development of Malawi. Our government will spell out a clear policy framework that would provide an incentive for farmers and other agricultural value chain players to invest in the sector and promote agro-processing and value-addition rather than production of primary commodities.
Distinguished delegates, ladies, and gentlemen, this is why we need to prioritize formation of land bank managed by people that are experts in this business, the private sector. What we MCP are proposing is not politics, it about finding a lasting solution to transform and change the destiny of this nation, this bank shall be run by experts and will be free from politics. This is a promise to this nation.
Ladies and Gentlemen, The MCP will prioritise irrigation (supported by technology transfer systems and mechanisation) as well to ensure increased agricultural productivity and to cushion the country from climate change related shocks, especially droughts. Small-scale and large scale irrigation technologies will be promoted mainly targeting high valued crops. In addition to Government efforts, we will seek support from our development partners to prioritise irrigation, especially the infrastructure. Irrigation will help us lengthen period of production in a single year and help us produce more than a single crop to maximise our agricultural output.
functional marketing system: that is structured and aimed at building confidence of the value chain to all players in the chain.
Distinguished delegates, ladies, and gentlemen these system were introduced and were fully functional in the Malawi Congress Party era but have been eroded over the period. MCP will make sure that these systems are back on track under my leadership. Malawi Congress Party will focus on increasing investments towards commercialization of agriculture to create a robust foundation of our economy which still hinges on agriculture.
National Authentic Identification
Distinguished delegates, ladies, and gentlemen, the MCP believes this country needed a National Authentic Identification System to be in place as of yesterday. Contractors in the Contract Farming and commercial banks need confidence that they will be able to easily trace their borrowers of money or inputs. Also, as country we need to easily identify our bona fide citizens for accurate targeting when implementing national programmes This programme might require a lot of money to roll-out. But it is an important programme that we can no longer postpone because success of many other plans hinge on this national ID system.
Health and Population
Distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen, Malawi’s health sector faces a number of challenges. The MCP shall work with partners for the improvement in health related goals. Improving health requires a multifaceted or integrated approach with a combination of preventive, educational and clinical measures. By bringing these together, the costs of interventions can be minimized and their effectiveness maximized. The MCP shall seeks an integrated by focusing on the following:
· Increasing the retention of qualified health workers through a targeted program for health care workers;
· Improving working environment for health personnel;
· Increasing the availability and eliminating theft of drug supply;
· Improving health facilities through targeted facilities infrastructure (roads, water, health buildings, water, communication and medical equipment);
· Improving equipment at health care facilities, especially maternity services;
· Improving financial management, monitoring and supervision of health care facilities; and
· Providing comprehensive health services package that include treatment of diseases and infections, awareness programmes and education through Government and private hospitals.
Distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen, the MCP recognizes that there is a strong linkage between issues of population and health as such efforts from these two fronts complement each other. However, there are other elements of population that cannot be conclusively addressed by efforts in the health sector alone because of its broad nature. We shall endeavor to provide accessible, affordable and comprehensive reproductive health services through informed choices in order to enable them to attain their reproductive health rights and goals
Distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen, there is no doubt that our education system is run down and it requires immediate attention if we are to be serious about investing into the future generation. If our country is to achieve the twin MDG targets of universal primary education and gender parity in school enrolments, a step change in strategy is required. We cannot continue with ‘business as usual’. Current enrolment growth projections, patterns of repetition, plans for school construction and increased teacher supply will enable improvements but more immediate and more drastic action is urgently required.
Distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen, our public schools have to be upgraded in order to become competitive and attractive to all people in our society. Only this way will we be able to provide equal opportunity to our children irrespective of their class in society. Current poor standards in our public schools are dividing our society and only patronised by the poor who cannot afford private schools. The lower grades of our primary schools have one of the lowest numeracy and literacy rates in the region.
Distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen, we will also aggressively invest in the vocational training to absorb and give necessary skills to our youths after finishing their secondary education. I believe this is the core that will drive this economy. First, we will need to rehabilitate, refurbish and equip our existing technical colleges, TVET, with all necessary learning materials. This is an important area that we will need to partner with our development partners as it will require huge investment to build the necessary infrastructure and other learning materials.
Delegates, ladies and gentlemen, International politics has both positive and negative effects. It can determine the quality of the air we breathe, the water we drink, the bread we eat, and the quality of imports we get etc. Malawi’s foreign policy shall be centered on maintaining cordial relations with its neighbors and its Western trading partners. Malawi’s fundamental principles of foreign policy have been fairly consistent since they were first espoused shortly after independence in 1994. Yet the specific interests, priorities and emphasis of Malawi’s foreign policy have continued to change and evolve in the context of the domestic and international environment.
The MCP’s foreign policy shall be anchored on the promotion and protection of the national interest; the promotion of African integration and support for African unity; the promotion of international co-operation for the consolidation of universal peace and mutual respect among all nations and elimination of discrimination in all its manifestations; respect for international law and treaty obligations as well as the seeking of settlement of international disputes by negotiation, mediation, conciliation, arbitration and adjudication; and; the promotion of a just world economic order.
Distinguished delegates, ladies, and gentlemen, in pursuit of these objectives, the MCP administration shall identify, as main priorities the maintenance of unity, peace and security of the country, particularly in the wake of current security challenges; job and wealth creation for Malawians; the promotion of trade and investments; promoting the welfare of Malawians both at home and abroad by protecting their interests. Our foreign policy shall also aim at others are improving the profile and image of Malawi abroad; enhancing Malawi’s representation and visibility in international organizations.
Distinguished delegates, ladies, and gentlemen, Malawi’s foreign policy will continue to be dictated by the political and economic programme at home. I should mention that we should graduate from pursuing foreign policy whose agenda is to entice developing partners for continued flow of donations. Ladies and gentlemen, that kind of policy objective is subsistence and should not be abandoned.
Delegates, ladies and gentlemen, I would like also to mention that our Defense policy shall form part of the foreign policy. In the wake of current international terrorism; and various peace keeping missions, it is important that defense forms a greater part of our foreign policy and the MCP will do just that.
The energy sector
Delegates, ladies and gentlemen, the energy sector in Malawi involves much more than just electricity and automotive fuels, though. MCP is aware that our hydropower potential is under-exploited and as a party we recognize that exploitation of this source needs to be maximised. Most of our coal reserves are currently exploited only on an informal basis. We need to explore possibilities in coal as well. Energy is highlighted as one of the major constraint to growth in Malawi. For the time being, we should seriously explore all possibilities that will help solve our energy problems to unlock and spur economic growth. Going it alone on large generation investments has limitation on accessing public funding. Therefore, I will promote efforts to access private financing.
Delegates, ladies, and gentlemen, mining is one of the priority sectors that is needed to achieve economic growth in Malawi. Mining has potential to overtake agriculture’s contribution to the economy within the next ten years Speculation of vast mineral resources including possibility of oil reserves in Lake Malawi.
Delegates, ladies, and gentlemen, optimism about the mining potential should be tempered by concerns over the country’s ability to reap the full benefits from these resources. To attract responsible, long-term investors and deliver jobs and growth, Malawi must have strong, transparent, and accountable institutions which can regulate the extractive industry. The common Malawian should benefit from these investments. We need to invest in strong legislations and mineral policies that promote transparency and that no individual person (s) benefit from these God given resources to the Malawi nation at the expense of our people no matter what their positions are in society as we have observed in recent past.
Delegates, ladies, and gentlemen, minerals, just like any other resource endowment in this country, do not only belong to the current generation, but also to the future generations as well. Government is just a custodian entrusted to manage these resources on behalf of the people of Malawi. However, since we’ve not asked permission from the future generation to exploit these resources on their behalf, we therefore have an obligation to prudently use and maximise our current welfare without sacrificing the future wellbeing of the generations to come.
Delegates, ladies and gentlemen, transparency and accountability in the licensing, exploration, contracting, extraction, revenue generation, and allocation of resources from the extractive sector lies at the heart of natural resource governance. The Malawi Congress Party will not allow to be cursed by its resources.
Ladies and Gentlemen, let me explain that MCP is not getting into the 2014 election race thinking it will be easy. We understand the challenges ahead but neither do we rule out ourselves from success. I would like to also remind one another that this is just the beginning of the journey and I encourage you that we need to work hard because as Malawi Congress Party, we will form the next government in 2014. I am assuring you that Malawi Congress Party will win this coming general election, come rain, come sunshine.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I therefore encourage you to take part and also remind people in your respective political districts to go and register for the forth coming elections. We also need to go and identify councilors for the respective wards where we come from so that we field candidates as a party in all our wards and constituencies.
Distinguished delegates, ladies, and gentlemen, join me in thanking Rt. Hon. Tembo for his courageous and wise leadership which has seen our generation being handed over the Party which is solid and vibrant. Once again, my many thanks organizing committee and its leadership for making this convention a success. With these remarks, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen, I thank you for your kind attention.