The DNA of the ruling DPP will never change, irrespective of which name of Mutharika is at its helm.
They are a party whose biological make up is that of being anti-freedom and anti-social under the disguise of same old excuse of maintaining public order and national security.
And so the party will do anything to push the agenda started by the first Mutharika brand of curtailing individual freedoms through a whole slew of bad legislation and the Electronic Transactions Bill which seeks to regulate Malawians’ interaction online to maintain public order and security as well as “facilitate technical restriction to conditional access to online communication” falls into the scheme.
If you asked Information Minister Kondwani Nankhumwa what was the meaning of all this, chances are high that he would deliberately fumble and talk about morality and such stuff but in the end we will get nothing.
But the truth is your government, through this proposed law, wants to start shutting down websites they do not like and leave only those that sing its empty praises.
As to how they would technically do it, it is simple. They will head to the East, China, if they haven’t already done so, where they are tech-savvy and have already perfected the art of clamping down on the cyberspace.
Those who have been to China know that you cannot get Facebook or Twitter there as the communist regime tightly controls the flow of information using lyrics of the same song that the Malawi government is singing: controlling public order and security as well as morality.
Instead the Chinese have their own Weibo as an answer to Facebook or Twitter.
This is what the DPP is trying to import here through this bill that they have rushed to Parliament at super high speed.
It wants to have a say in what we read and write online. It wants to bar and decide for us what we must see and read as if we are its children hence the rush to bring this bad law to Parliament.
Now contrast this speed to the snail-like slow pace the same DPP government has adopted when it comes to a bill that would empower Malawians to demand accountability and transparency in public life through access to information.
The Access to Information Bill is taking ages—11 damn good years– to enter Parliament for the same reason that this DPP government is afraid of arming the people with a weapon to demand more transparency because it is anti-freedom.
Why is it that it is only the Access to Information Bill that has to shunt from Ministry of Information to Justice and then back to Information via Justice before Cabinet?
Forget Parliament because the bill has never set its foot there and the DPP government has made sure of that.
It is all crazy but that is the stark truth and it is what Nankhumwa keeps on saying wherever he has been asked about the Access to Information Bill.
His audiences clap hands for him and life goes on.
But this should not be allowed. The opposition in Parliament has a duty to stop this DPP madness.
We can take solace in the fact that unlike 2009 to 2012 when the DPP was in majority in Parliament, and it virtually pushed everything they fancied, this time it is not.
It beats me to imagine, where in the name of all that is holy, the DPP is getting the audacity to think that such a nonsensical bill that seeks to limit our freedoms will get the support from.
Where will the Jesse Kabwilas of this world be, to let this DPP’s madness get through the sieve of Parliament?
DPP will always be DPP but it has forgotten that times have changed.
- This article appeared in Malawi News of June 13, 2015 under ‘Hitting the Nail’ column. It was originally titled ‘DPP will always be DPP’