Representatives of the Public Affairs Committee (PAC) on Wednesday met Malawi President Joyce Banda at Sanjika Place where they largely highlighted concerns and reservations which Malawians have on her administration.
President Banda was sworn in as Malawi president in April after the sudden death of president Bingu wa Mutharika in April.
According to the organizers the meeting which had PAC’s trustee Bishop Montfort Sitima as the leader of the delegation was aimed to share with the president resolutions made from a recent conference PAC organized in the commercial capital Blantyre.
Reading a statement addressed to President Banda, Bishop Sitima reminded the the Head of State that she was in the office because it was God who chose her to lead Malawians at this time around and as religious grouping they don’t take this for granted.
Sitima said although there is a feeling that most of the issues PAC raised in the Limbe Cathedral Communique in March [during the reign of Mutharika] have been dealt with by Banda’s administration to a certain extent, Malawians “still have concerns in the areas of political governance, constitutionalism and economic path under your administration.”
Sitima told Banda that on political governance, PAC observed in its last conference in October that there is lack of leadership at various levels to transform this country, and therefore , Malawi continues to face underdevelopment since its independence.
“We are not only talking about political leadership but leadership at different levels of administration to transform our country. Similarly, we are not talking about any individual but a concept on leadership.
“To this end, it was recommended that here is need to institutionalize leadership training in and through academic institutions, civil society organizations, faith based institutions etc for Malawi to be transformed.
“We are aware that it is not your personal responsibility alone but it is involves many players,” said Sitima.
Section 65 of Constitution
Sitima told Banda that delegates noted that there has been a serious lack of political will to invoke section 65 of the Malawi Constitution [which bars parliamentarian from crossing the floor in the national assembly] in the eighteen years of the multi-party dispensation of political governance “and we believe we can’t go on like this”.
“It is generally felt that within your administration failure to implement Section 65 was a deliberate disregard of constitutionalism despite technical excuses that were given at parliament.
“We are aware that the parliament as a branch of government was supposed to implement this. But we felt that it is important to inform you about this observation, for you take an oath to uphold and protect the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi,” said the Bishop .
He also appealed to President Banda’s administration to re-introduce section 64 of the Malawi constitution which allows electorate to call back from parliament non performing parliamentarian.
Sitima asked Banda’s administration to take a leading role to ensure the country holds tripartite elections in 2014 polls.
“We believe failure to facilitate the implementation of this agenda may have a big impact on your administration. We believe these elections will give Malawians power to run their own affairs and will enhance participation of the community in developmental work, ” he said.
On economic PAC representatives asked the president to put adequate measures to lessen the hardship that has been brought about because of the devaluation of the local currency.
“We wish to emphasize the fact that devaluation has had a big impact on people’s lives. The government should therefore practice austerity measures to redirect savings towards mitigating the impact of devaluation”.
Don’t’ politicize charity
In conclusion. Sitima asked President Banda to handle the charity work she is doing without presidential groves to avoid denting her personal image.
“We note that you are distributing food in the villages. This is a brilliant initiative. We know that you are a champion on charitable work . No doubt about this. However, now you are a State President. As you do charitable work people have different perceptions on the way you are distributing food.
“People feel that it is being politicized. There is yet another perception that the state resources may be used during the distribution exercise.
“We are not saying that you are doing a bad job in Malawi but perhaps you need to adequately explain to Malawians, and indeed tread carefully so that you do not dent your image”.
He suggested that it would be better if she identified alternative ways of giving charitable food.
This was the first time PAC engages the President Banda since she assumed power in April this year.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :