Recently, critics said Malawi is going back to a one and dictatorial state nation. They said so because of how intolerant our leaders are becoming to both their people and outsiders. The strange laws that our parliament made and the president assent to, have attracted much criticism than ever. The injunctions bill, the section 43 and so on.
Perhaps to say Malawi was on a retrogressive road is a bad generalization. Most of the citizens are not involved in the baking a cake that would soon choke them. Parliamentarians do. So it is President Mutharika’s administration that has its way. The president’s name is mentioned because he is the head of the state and on top of all administrations. Therefore, as they say, ‘akuluakulu ndi dambo mozimira moto’ the blame fits him.
However, Mutharika might have understood fisi adakana msatsiadage.
On his arrival from Commonwealth Head of Government Meeting/annual holiday, he said as pertaining to bad laws ‘you can put the blame on the legislature’. The reasoning was simple;- the deliberations are made in the parliament and he only signs, or a better English- assents to them.
The simplicity comes when one considers numbers. About one hundred and ninety heads bang to reach a compromise on what is good for all Malawians. On the other hand, a single person approves it. If majority rules and by simple mathematics, it should be common sense to follow what they have agreed upon.
I wish it were like that. That is being naïve. Last week, a writer wrote on ‘some animals are more equal’. He observed that our MPs do not serve the interest of people, as seen in their pursuit of salary hike when the electorate they are representing maintains the same living standards of living. In such a case, the masses need a savior, who today says he is not responsible and cannot help.
Really if what the president said was true then our MPs do us more harm, and they will. I wish if every single word in the accusation was right. However, this is thwarted when memories is evoked on how the same president sent back the pensions bill, and never assented to the same salary hike when it first came in the last sitting.
He knows his position when it comes to law making. The parliament proposes, deliberates bills, the president assents to it. Together with the entire executive arm of government he executes the so made laws. The judiciary interprets it. The channel is complete when each player takes his rightful position. All for the betterment of a common citizen.
So, in case where one branch is pursuing what can be deemed as oppressive to the citizenry, either of the players have a role to keep in check the questionable branch. That is checks and balance. It has happened before.
The president makes veto- an executive power to nullify or say forbids (from Latin) measures that have already been passed by a legislative body. This is done when he has enough reasons to do so. He has done it before.
Although vetoes can be overrode by a two third of the parliament membership, that is uncommon. Besides, even if it happened, bad laws without the president’s signatures would put him out of the blame.
If parliamentarians are to blame, then they are so strong. Where do we run to when it comes to this stage, where the father of the house is honest to tell us he cannot match the opponent? He knows what best of his children and in sincerity he can do anything to protect us. We wait and see.
It could be argued that the president wanted to show the critics that he is not above the law and respects the doctrine of separation of power that he cannot pose his nose into other branch’s affairs, but consider the following.
If the above was anything to go by then the so-called development that the nation has gone through should be attributed to the parliament as well. It is from parliament that government borrows from multilateral developmental banks to build more roads and achieve other developments.
It is from the same house that resources are allocated to various government departments.
Anita Kalinde, MP for Thyolo South asked in parliament why development is attributed to one man, Mutharika, when it is the whole parliament that approves the borrowing.
In addition, when the time is ripe to pay back the debt, it will be the whole nation coughing and not an individual.
Perhaps the honourable lady made her comments only to make a name at the expense of her former party, but the point is why should we push the blame on the parliament on the bad laws and not attributing success to the same when both comes from the same channel?
The learned can tell us the difference between the legislative, judicial and executive arms of the government, otherwise what is government to a non-professional if it is not the presidents (not even to mention of his/her deputy and ministers)?
This Monday, 21 November 2011, it was reported how the DPP members reminded some guards ‘we are government’. Precisely the guard was telling a driver of an MRA coaster (which carried party supporter from Lilongwe to welcome Mutharika from his holiday) that he had stopped at a prohibited space.
The same should be sent to parliamentarians and other public officials who are in forefront making bad laws in Lilongwe thinking they are doing it for the leader. He has cleaned his hands and pushed the blame back on them. Do they have much time and voice to trash this in the ears of the Malawians that elected them?
Really if what the president said can be believed, MPs should think twice as none of the president and the electorates they represent are happy and responsible for their abuse of power in making unimportant laws.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :