A promising start, Her Excellency Joyce Banda

Malawians have an opportunity to put in place a necessary stepping stone towards advanced social democracy. Others have argued that social democracy is only a foundation for the yet to be established social system of meritocracy which will supersede our prized democratic way of life.

There are promises of a more robust and spiritually determined transformational form of governance intended to be interwoven into the fabric of human living. The only uncertainty is the question of time.

Perhaps for Malawians, we have an opportunity as demonstrated by the recent change in the political circle.   However, there is more work that needs to be done by the president and all Malawians to reinforce the institutional framework that fortifies our multiparty democracy.

New leadership, President Joyce Banda

The mass exodus of DPP members to People’s Party suggests to me we have severe problems with people who are involved in politics nowadays.

I welcome the President’s perspective on this, that their moral principles need to be examined before being registered with the party. I guess she stands by her own ‘Principled Pragmatism’ which made her unpopular with Bingu’s administration. She is right to take this stand despite the fact that she risks being challenged in Parliament.

The only hope she needs to have is in the people because we have historical lessons on how Malawians react if the president places herself/himself alongside the society. Much as the society needs to get behind the president, such support will only be possible if the president does her part of ring fencing the People’s Party with her principled perspective in order to resistant contagion with opportunism, greed, jealousy, tribalism and nepotism associated with some defecting DPP members.

I hope you remember the first term of office when DPP had the difficult task of running a minority government in parliament.  As a society too, we cannot escape the criticism as we lack the critical consciousness needed to strengthen our social democracy. We have given in too easily to greed and ignored the moral values that underpin professional practices applicable to human services.

We need to make demands on how our parliamentarians should approach issues of governance. Let us get our MPs to adopt critical practice traditions in politics. We need to see some maturity in the behaviour of these MPs and push for constructive debate and say no to uncritical debates. The Kaliatism (Kaliati’s type of politicians) must never be given a chance in this change. This is only possible if we as a society actively participate in problem posing so that together we create a critical understanding of unequal conditions permeating in the community at large.

On her Excellency’s tackling of the evils of Bingu’s administration, I feel she is right to start purging the police management structure of unreformed practitioners. We all know how the police service has been used as an instrument of oppression and persecution by selfish politicians. Gluttony being the basis of their actions, we have seen how successive governments have made unjustified arrests and even killed our brothers and sisters with impunity.

All this because of obsession with protecting the power house associated with the ruling party.  Upon close scrutiny, it can be seen that money and wrongful use of power has historically been the force that has defined the various hierarchies found within our systems of governance in Malawi.

Muntharika’s government has given us enough food for thought as to how politics in Malawi has been transformed into profitable enterprise with very few individuals and local companies wielding tremendous financial resources. Muntharika’s last term of office has given birth to the supremacy of one tribe through affiliation to ruling party power house and Muntharika’s own calculated tribal deployment of staff in public offices.

We have seen how undue leverage in shaping public policy helped individuals to pursue tribal interests and further discriminated against other tribes. I have on my mind the criticisms that were levelled against Northerners followed by the demise of meritocracy as a measure of performance within the education circle and the subsequent introduction of the quota system veiled as an attempt to enforce equality of educational opportunity for all Malawians.

There is a catalogue of malpractices in Bingu’s administration which merit further investigation.  On this note, I praise her Excellency Joyce Banda for taking the initiative to open a new chapter in our politics by setting up a commission of enquiry to investigate the death of Chasowa.

It gives us hope that right to life will be respected by all and death of any Malawian, in whatever socially constructed class, will have to be explained. There are many ordinary people who have died and police intervention in such episodes has always been not up to scratch.

I know this is the beginning, but we also need to reconsider the circumstances that led to the death of those 20 protestors last year. The police role needs to be examined with meticulousness as this could offer an opportunity for mounting overdue critical reforms within the police service.

The calls to set up an independent body to oversee and investigate police operations are welcome. For so long, we have talked about reforming the police with no tangible results. Until now, it is still an institution that has the capacity to backslide and participate in terror tactics thereby undermining our desire to achieve social justice.

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