Dassu’s letter to Chakwera: No to MCP post, yes to Malawi governance activism

Your appointing me to the NEC of the Malawi Congress Party, the oldest party in Malawi, humbles me. It is however with equal humility that I write to inform you that I am unable to accept this important appointment. Least my decision leads to speculation amongst your political adversaries or in the country permit me to explain my motivation for taking this step.

At the outset let me assure you that I share with you, the MCP, its supporters, UDF its supporters and all other opposition parties and their supporters the recognition that our beloved country has to be pulled back from the precipice – or this ‘political moral cliff’ – where there is no sense of public duty, virtue, loyalty to the nation, accountability or restraint in the use of public funds or in the abuse of power.

I am convinced that under the rule of President Joyce Banda and her PP government the moral sensitivity of our county is totally in paralysis and it is incumbent upon the opposition parties and their leaders, to save Malawi from total abyss.

For the moral basis for President Joyce Banda’s conduct of national affairs is lacking, having wormed herself with a single other PP member of parliament the incumbent Vice President into government; she has proceeded in true Machiavellian manner to sustain the so called PP government by the politics of marginalizing the opposition parties by enticing elected members of parliament to join her PP government by using the powers that incumbency of high office places at her disposal. In the process abusing the foundation or the very ‘heart’ of Malawi’s constitution, Section 65 intended to ensure a modern functioning democracy not prone to ‘political prostitution’.

Dassu with pro-democraacy campaigner late Chakufwa Chihana during the height of multi-party activism

The victims of this misadventure are we Malawians particularly the poor and the powerless – the only exception being the leaders and families of the so-called ‘ruling party’ PP.

As Malawians, we deserve a lot better than what we are receiving from this government. Clearly the President and her party lack the moral authority, motivation, skills and ideas to transform this country into the haven of opportunity and prosperity that the dawn of democracy in 1994 promised. It sadly cannot be otherwise for a government made up of political opportunists lacking commitment to any form of political conviction or ideology and sharing nothing in common except greed and lust for power.

Therefore the leader and the party that we Malawians elect in 2014 will have to shoulder a very heavy responsibility to restore the sense of public duty, virtue, loyalty to the nation, and restraint in use of public funds and in the exercise of power, all lacking under the present government. Unfortunately in my opinion the MCP in common with every other opposition party in the country until now has failed both inside and outside parliament to bring this government to account and thereby reflect competence to lead the county out of the present crisis.

Whether this is because of the character of ‘politics of poverty’ in Malawi, is debatable but there is no doubt in my mind that the opposition parties are failing to so far at least fully inform the electorate of the depth of this government’s corruption, inaptitude, power hunger, lack of accountability and sheer arrogance even at a time when the looting of billions which the electorate suspect may involve government ministers or PP party members, has been uncovered.

Malawians should not be expected in a parliamentary democracy to wait until a new government is elected to power or on the pressure from donor countries to make a government that is in power accountable. The opposition parties have a duty not only to make this but any future government accountable but also to create a level playing field in which the power of incumbency and patronage enjoyed by any party in power does not put into jeopardy the very concept of a free and fair election spelling the death of democracy.

You may agree that in politics the cardinal rule is that the opposition parties deserve the government they get. So unless the pulse of the political debate leading up to 2014 is built up very fast by the MCP, the UDF and other political parties to reflect the growing public unease and concerns, to reflect the public suffering and poverty, sadly we may yet live to see the same old order continue post the 2014 elections – with no sense of public duty, virtue, loyalty to the nation or restraint in use of public funds or exercise of power.

Sadly the betrayal then will rest in the opposition parties’ failure to comprehend and use the power that parliamentary democracy intended to stop bad governance.

Therefore leading up to election in 2014, I have determined that I cannot serve Malawi by being bound by the ‘whip’ of any one party or its policies, which would be applicable if I were to serve on the NEC of the Malawi Congress Party. I wish to continue to play a meaningful role in seeing mother Malawi truly democratic and free of the evils of poverty, hunger and disease, and that I can only do by declining to accept the appointment to the NEC of the MCP.

My letter to you I hope will lead the MCP, UDF and other opposition parties to clearly setting out what is offered by the parties in place of President Joyce Banda’s leadership and the PP government. For in seeing what the opposition parties can offer as an alternative to the voters, the voters can best determine the competencies and qualities of the leadership and party to vote for and elect to power in 2014.

I intend therefore to proactively engage in the frank and forthright manner; people have becoming accustomed to my doing, in the political debate in Malawi. And in doing so I hope that I can truly honour the memory of many former collogues and friends whom I joined in 1992 to campaign for multi party democracy, including the late Hon Dr. Tom Chakuwa Chihana, late Hon. Dr. Mapopa Chipeta, late Hon. Dr. Matembo Mzunda, late Hon. Dr. Dennis Nkhwazi and last but not least Hon Frank Viyuyi Mayinga Mkandawire.

I wish you and the MCP Godspeed.

God Bless mother Malawi.

Ahmed Dassu

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