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Sunday, January 08, 2006

Pearey prays for unity among three arms of government
BY Anthony Kasunda
10:43:05 - 06 January 2006

The outgoing British High Commissioner to Malawi David Pearey said he was convinced an atmosphere of mutual respect and cooperation could be engendered among the three arms of the state in the country.

Pearey was speaking Wednesday evening at a farewell banquet at New State House organised by President Bingu wa Mutharika to mark his one year tour of duty in the country.

He said Mutharika’s leadership could facilitate unity among the legislature, judiciary and executive in 2006 without compromising any key principles on anti-corruption.

“I know you are willing to set the tone that will mark 2006 as one characterised by unity and progress in contrast perhaps to the political malaise that became a feature of the latter part of 2005,” he said.

The British envoy cautioned all right thinking politicians in the country to put the needs of the citizens before their personal and party priorities.

Pearey, who leaves after serving only one year as head of mission, also urged government not to relax but source more food for the hungry in the next three months.

He said British government was pleased to contribute significantly to the humanitarian effort to feed about 4 million people threatened by hunger.

“By any measure, this has been a remarkable success for the government working in concert with key donors,” said Pearey who leaves the country next Wednesday.

The envoy admitted his office had not always agreed with every aspect of the government's approach to the disaster such as the “distorting effects of using Admarc to distribute subsidised maize”.

“But though attempts have been made by some to construct a story of failure out of one of success, in practice there is increasing recognition that this combined humanitarian effort has managed to satisfy the requirement almost in its entirety,” he said.

He added: “While, with three of the most challenging months remaining, it would be wrong to be complacent, we can, I think rightly draw attention to a significant achievement to date.”

Pearey said Malawi needs to learn to love the private sector although there was greed and selfishness as corners were sometimes cut and taxes avoided.

“But, even if it is not always lovable, the private sector is without exception, always essential. Without it, no country can develop,” he observed.

He said the hesitations by the Malawi society to support privatisation of Malawi Telecommunications Limited (MTL) and other companies and lack of a truly enterprise-supporting culture, point to a lingering and old-fashioned antipathy towards the private sector.

“I know that these hesitations are not shared by Your Excellency. I would strongly encourage you in 2006 to lead the way in reversing such antipathy that still remains,” he said.

Pearey said in every country, leadership was the essential ingredient to changing attitudes and states of mind.

-Story by The Daily Times

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