The PAC frank talk that annoyed Malawi govt: Fr Mulomole says there is too much ‘executive arrogance’

Minister of Information, Communications Technology and Civic Education who is also sovernment spokesperson, Patricia Kaliati has accused Public Affairs Committee (PAC) of being confrontational, saying government is not happy with the grouping following a published interview of  PAC spokesperson Father Peter Mulomole  to reflect on the meeting with  President Peter Mutharika to submit recommendations from the 5th All-inclusive Stakeholders Conference and other concerns.

Nyasa Times reproduces the interview which appeared in Nation Publications by Albert Sharra.

Malawi quasi-religious organisation PAC

Fr Mulomole: Malawians should not be taken for granted

Q:Are you happy with the way the meeting went?

A: We are happy that the President finally met us. That in itself is quite an achievement. We all remember that the audience failed to take place on 29th March 2016. So, we are happy for such a gesture.

Q: Did the meeting achieve what PAC wanted?

A: Not really. PAC had assumed that we would submit the recommendations and actionable resolutions. There would, of course, be comments and questions for clarifications. Then the President and his team would sit down and seriously and systematically respond to our recommendations. He almost said he was going to do that. But then turned around and began responding to them there and then and in a very casual manner.

He trivialised the whole exercise and made us feel like we were wasting his time since his government was already doing most of the things we were recommending. While PAC had put more time and effort into the exercise to enable the President appreciate people’s feelings on the ground, he ended up saying practically that it was no news to him and he was already taking care of most of the things. His rhetoric seemed totally out of tune with majority Malawians today. The President and his Democratic Progressive Party [DPP]-led government are living in a world of their own. It was really a lost opportunity for the President.

Q: Contrary to tradition, the meeting was captured live on television. Was this part of the plan?

A: Though we were alerted about it, few of us took it seriously. That scenario had its advantages and disadvantages when the Head of State himself was our dialogue partner. There are some things that you don’t want to say for fear of embarrassing the Presidency in public. It worked perfectly well for the President since he could say anything and hoped that PAC would not come in immediately to correct him out of respect. Remember, PAC was there to submit the outcomes of the 5th All-Inclusive Stakeholders Conference and provide clarifications to questions and not really for a direct confrontation.

We wrongly assumed that the issues that we were placing before the Head of State and government were serious and of great national interest and, therefore, needed time on his part to respond since it was he who had asked for help. However, it seems the President did not see it that way. For him, it was just one of the many audiences he holds every day and so it was business as usual.

Q: On several occasions, PAC officials seemed to be disorganised and struggled to justifysome of the issues they raised in the petitions presented to the President. Why was that so?

A: I beg to differ. We  were  just  shocked  that  the  Head  of  State  seemed  not  to  be  aware  of  some critical  issues  when, in fact,  his  officials  have  been  attending  our  conferences  where  all  the  issues  raised  in  our  presentation  were  generated. We had a tough exercise to discuss with the Head of State in a live broadcast given  that he  maintained  from  the outset  that  he had  been  transformative and that there was no need  for  some of the actionable  solutions. And yet those issues  have  constantly been  raised  in  all  the three  regions  of  Malawi.

Then the second part has the actionable resolutions, well-articulated. In the end, he himself admitted that we had done ‘brilliant’ work. We have circulated the report after the audience and people will judge for themselves.

Q: Mutharika complained that you submitted a fresh document to discuss just 30 minutes before the meeting when he had another document which you submitted in February. What happened?

A: Definitely not 30 minutes before! In Malawi, akulu salakwa [you cannot fault a leader]. First  of  all, it  should  be  understood  that  we  shared  the communiqué with  State  House  in  February  not  necessarily  directed  to  the  Head  of  State  for  his action,  but to  inform  Malawians  generally  in terms  of   the  general  outcome  of  the  5th  All-Inclusive  Conference.

Secondly, we  had  to  package  all  recommendations  and  actionable  resolutions  for  Mutharika’s  action. The  latter  were  shared  to  the President a  day  before  and  this  can  be  confirmed  by  PAC   secretariat. We  were  also  surprised  that  he  had  received  the  document  30  minutes  before  the meeting when   PAC  secretariat  had  a  conversation  with  Office of the President and Cabinet [OPC]  and  presidential  adviser  on  non-governmental organisations [NGOs]  a  week  before  regarding  the  document  to  be  deliberated  on. We feel it’s more about their internal challenges than ours. We do not want to dwell much on this matter. The  PAC  board  was  updated  on  these  processes  a  week  before  the  meeting. We have emails sent to his officials sharing draft documents. So,  it  is  surprising  that  he  had  it  30 minutes  before.

Q: What is the way forward?

A: First of all, we now expect a written response from the President as he did before the May 20 2014 Tripartite Elections with the 19 points PAC had presented to him. Then the PAC chairperson asked for technocrats from both sides to develop a way forward to the Actionable Resolutions, especially those points the President found difficult to understand. In  short, the  follow  up  meeting of  technical  people will aim at clarifying  and  changing  the  documents. The President and his DPP may hate deadlines, but Malawians do not. So let the President not belittle what the conference has recommended. Malawians should not be taken for granted.

Q: Any last comment?

A: Malawi still lacks a listening and bold servant leadership. There is too much Executive arrogance. We lack the kind of leadership that is ready to make hard decisions the country needs on various  issues  such as  Fertiliser Input Subsidy Programme, Green Belt Initiative, crop diversification, fiscal discipline, reduction  of  presidential  powers, our flawed electoral system and reactionary Constitution. Most of the decisions that administrations have been making are for political convenience and not for real national development

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Thin
Guest
Thin
4 months 20 days ago
it’s difficult for me to understand the one who will stand for the WORD of God, the nation, religion, organised religions and all people have denied the Him. There is no such in the Bible that the church should be organised this causes people to take the mark of the beast. The bible teaches me to respect the leader not talk rubbish, insult, confront but obey and respect him. here the problem is of the DEMOCRACY (demon crazies/ demon law) which the whole world has blinded with, that’s why even we see church also preach of demonic politics instead of… Read more »
khwangwi
Guest
khwangwi
4 months 21 days ago
I found the meeting to be very entertaining as the president took time to school the less knowledgeable PAC membership. PAC presented their report in a demeaning manner to the president. I congratulate the president for being calm despite the vivid hostility from his visitors. It is obvious that PAC came to fight and insult the president and not to present national concerns. They spoke as if they represented disgruntled losers in the general election and are therefore desperate to rule by the back door. Here is an example of good and respectful presentation of a negative observed behaviour: “We… Read more »
Alfred Minjo
Guest
Alfred Minjo
4 months 23 days ago

Mulomoleyu mukuti ndi munthu wa uzimudi amene uyudi? I wonder!

deadend
Guest
deadend
4 months 23 days ago

PAC’s approach is commendable and the issues presented to the president are all pertinent for Malawi’s development. I agree fully that there is too much executive arrogance and unless that changes, this country will sink. This is a timely wake up call to our leaders – you take Malawians for granted at your own political peril!

The Partriot
Guest
The Partriot
4 months 23 days ago
Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely! No wonder the President and his 20 cabinet ministers including his crowd of advisors cannot see what we are seeing! But let them hear this: inuyo nonse you will one day leave office but Malawi will always be there. Malawi is more important than you, some of you will not be there even in 20 years time, because of your ages. Why should the whole Malawi suffer because inuyo you dont want change? Udindo umatha, so be visonary and let history judge yoh fairly. PAC is spot on about the DPP govt! Verily… Read more »
sAMUEL
Guest
sAMUEL
4 months 23 days ago

Number 11. Eni eni ake a report akudziwa zimene ziri mu report ndi ife tidamva. The meeting was live on Mbtv. Sorry that you missed it.

Nathan
Guest
4 months 24 days ago

Vuto ndiloti anthu ena akakhala atsogoleri amawona ngati anthu ndi Sabwe. Atsogoleri ngati achemwali a Patricia Kaliati amadzipopa kwambiri. Abale, mukakwera mu mtengo osamanyoza apansi chifukwa mukagwa adzakutolani ndi apansi womwewo. Mu chaka cha 1993 a PAC anatithandiza kubweretsa Boma la zipani zambiri ndikuthetsa bungwe la nkhanza la MYP. Ndikhulupilira akhoza kuthesanso atsogoleri a pangozi.

guarantor
Guest
guarantor
4 months 24 days ago
Fathala, Even if you were the president, submitting an important document a day before such a crucial meeting shows lack of maturity and hidden motives from your side. There are many protocols and procedures for the document to reach the head of state even if it was for an MD of a company surely it might have taken some time to reach him. You also had a wrong assumption that the president had nothing to do apart from waiting for PAC. My advise-please be objective when advocating for change rather than be driven by emotions and hatred. I,expected PAC to… Read more »
Ujeni
Guest
Ujeni
4 months 24 days ago

Kodi ku Malawi kulibe Julius Malemia ngati ku South Africa???

penya
Guest
penya
4 months 25 days ago

Now you have it. The P took the opportunity to dramatize his reaction to the notion that he does not know what is going on. muisova.

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