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Mr Gwanda Chakuamba (2003)

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Thursday, May 11, 2006

Encouraging fundamentals such as strong political will at the highest level to tackle difficult matters such as corruption in Malawi says British Envoy
BY Anthony Kasunda
06:42:55 - 11 May 2006

BRITISH High Commissioner to Malawi Richard Wildash has observed that Malawi’s political situation remains complicated.

Wildash, who has been in the country for three months now, said this last Thursday in Blantyre at a reception organised in his honour by British Honorary Consul Krishna Savjani.

The British envoy said the country’s Judiciary was being asked to rule on very complex constitutional issues, thereby being heavily burdened in the process.

Wildash said there were some encouraging fundamentals such as strong political will at the highest level to tackle difficult matters, including corruption.

“But the context remains challenging,” he said. “The political situation is complicated; the Government are in a minority in Parliament.”

He added: “The courts are being asked to rule more and more on constitutional conundrums of greater complexity. NGOs struggle sometimes.”

Wildash said his government would continue to help some key pillars of the democratic structure such as Parliament and the Judiciary, which although functioning, were heavily burdened.

“We’re doing what we can to help. Some good institutions have been set up to deal with key challenges,” he said, citing Malawi Human Rights Commission, Anti Corruption Bureau, National Aids Commission and Malawi Electoral Commission.

Three weeks ago, Wildash asked the Executive to refrain from interfering in the functions of the Judiciary to promote the rule of law and democracy.

The envoy was addressing legal practitioners at an annual dinner dance organised by Malawi Law Society (MLS).

On press freedom, Wildash noted that “there is a free press, even if its professional or ethical standards sometimes leave something to be desired”.

He said his government’s support including the DfID’s £65 million, a third of which would go to the national budget, demonstrates the confidence in government’s sound macro-economic management.

Wildash also said Ministry of Defence under the Defence Cooperation Programme in Malawi was the second biggest in the sub-region, after South Africa.

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