Six months have gone by and we have entered the last half of the year. We need to have some reflections on what we are doing right or not. We need to take stock of our goals and targets and check if we have reached 50% of our targets. This will help us to understand whether we will successfully reach the final end or not come the end of the year.
As we concluded the last six months, we noted an increase in cases of mob justice. One wonders whether the people have lost trust in the country’s law enforcement agencies and the justice system. Whatever the case, we urge Malawians to stop taking the law into their hands. We need to follow the law and if we have apprehended someone for whatever case, let us ensure that we do not punish the culprit but hand him or her to the authorities. On the hand, our law enforcement agents should ensure that the suspects are quickly taken to court and that cases are properly concluded.
Malawi celebrates her 59 years of independence on 6 July 2023. So many questions arise on this day as this independence coincides with too many issues and things that are affecting Malawians. While we are 59 years old, we are still in infancy when it comes to social and economic development. We are among the least developed countries. It seems we made a cautious decision, as a country, to remain one of the poorest countries for 59 years. It is imperative that we need to change the narrative. This will only happen if we change our mindset.
As Malawians, we have cultivated a mentality of depending on others rather than relying on self-sufficiency. It is good to note that we have self-reliance in the country’s 2063 development agenda. However, this will be fruitless if we do not put it into practice. We need to have a progressive mindset to achieve Vision 2063.
We would like to congratulate the Government of Malawi as the country joins the world in commemorating the World Population Day on 11 July, 2023 which is focusing on how to safeguard the health and rights of women and girls; and putting the brakes on COVID-19. We need to weigh up our population growth and pay our utmost attention to ensuring that we are managing the rights of women and girls. More importantly, we need to reflect on how we will engage men and boys as partners in protecting the health and rights of women and girls. Further to this, we should be cognizant of the needs of the boy child too because he is a key part of the equation in protecting the rights and health of women and girls. By cultivating gender equality, he can ably support positive changes for them. We say, let’s celebrate the World Population Day in style.
Youth unemployment and underemployment have reached a record high. Youth do graduate from universities and colleges but they remain unemployed. We would be naïve to think that we will employ everyone if we do not think of self-employment. We need young people that have skills to create employment and can see the opportunity in everything that comes their way. No wonder, a decision was made to have World Youth Skills Day on 15 July every year. As Malawi joins the world in commemorating this day under the theme ‘Skilling teachers, trainers, and youth for a transformative future’, we need to think of how we should resource the skills development component. Our education should focus on how we intend to support the youth develop the necessary skills. Our curriculum should change from academic based to competency based. Innovation should be part of the education system.
Trafficking in persons continues to be a threat to Malawi as both a transit, source and destination of victims of trafficking in persons. We remain a country that has critical aspects of trafficking in persons both internally and externally. As we join the World Day against Trafficking in Persons on 30 July 2023, let us all help in creating the awareness about the trafficking in persons.
Let us close this message by, firstly, applauding the Malawi National Examinations Board’s (MANEB) decision to administer deferred examinations to students who failed to sit for this year’s Primary School Leaving Certificate (PSLC) because their examination fees were embezzled by their designated school officials. We know that people will ask why MANEB did not just allow the students to just write exams in the first place. We need to understand that preparing for national examinations is not a simple task. All the exams are pre-packed with the number of schools. This means that they can only have a certain number of papers. However, as a lesson, MANEB should verify with schools soon after they have closed the examination fees payment period. MANEB should find a way of having the verification so that these issues should not bother innocent candidates again. The stress on children should not be tolerated.
We wish you a happy month of July 2023