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Malawi Economic Justice Network (MEJN)

A Socio-Economic Framework

Civil Society Manifesto

Promoting Participatory Economic Governance in Malawi

Content-based 2004 elections

Posted with permission of Collins Magalasi, MEJN. Comments on this manfesto can be sent to mejn@sdnp.org.mw
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Introduction

Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) are very interested in the unfolding political developments in Malawi. In particular, the organisations are concerned with the socioeconomic aspects of the forthcoming general and presidential elections on 18th May 2004. In full collaboration with all its network members, the Malawi Economic Justice Network [MEJN] has prepared these guidelines to help voters make informed choices based on socioeconomic issues, development and poverty reduction. In doing so, the civil society would like to make the electoral process responsive to the aspirations of the Malawi poverty Reduction Strategy (MPRS). In the same vein, it is the expectation of the civil society that all the parties and individuals vying for political office will look at the contents of this manifesto as a glossary of the major issues of concern that the civil society would like to be resolved by whatsoever political party or whosoever wins the general elections. In this respect, it is paramount that the elections should be issue-driven and not based on personalities and regional affiliation, as has unfortunately been the case during previous elections. The Malawi Economic Justice Network (MEJN) is therefore very optimistic that the initiative, which has been demanded by the civil society and communities themselves, will serve a useful purpose to make the forthcoming elections more meaningful to the lives of the many Malawians who would like to see their poverty reducing. The civil society would like to see politicians who transform promises into actual poverty reduction and development. Malawians would like political parties to present feasible programmes that will lead to tangible socioeconomic transformation. The disillusionment towards politicians who promise but never deliver is more pronounced among the poor population whose standard of life has deteriorated in recent times. The issues brought up in this manifesto have unanimously been endorsed by the civil society, through the various programmes coordinated by MEJN, as those that will need urgent redress by the aspirants of political positions following the elections.

We in the civil society present in this manifesto our ideas of what the government of the day, or indeed the government-in-waiting, in Malawi should seek to address and deliver for the people of Malawi. This civil society manifesto is our framework that must guide all aspirants of political office and a guide for the electorate to help them in focusing on critical policy issues other than personalities. The manifesto is our yardstick for measuring whether or not the government of the day has lived up to the expectations of Malawians; and/or whether or not the government- in - waiting holds any sound promises for the future of Malawians and their society. Furthermore, it is a framework for mobilizing political, financial and social capital for poverty reduction and national development.



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