The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) led government has been urged to rise about “its pettiness” and focus on issues that will benefit the country.
The advice is contained in the editorial comment of Malawi’s leading daily newspaper, The Nation, following “a flurry” of press statements issued by Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Minister Henry Mussa on various issues raised in the public domain.
A statement from government spokesman was responding to a scathing pastoral letter issued on Sunday by Nkhoma Synod of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) urging its faithful to vote, in the May 21 Tripartite Elections, for an upright president who is development-conscious and will get rid of the rampant corruption, tribalism and regionalism.
Government in its response accuses the church of misappropriating donor funds meant for water, sanitation and hygiene project five years ago.
But the paper said while government has the right to reply to any issue, the response to Nkhoma pastoral letter is “disturbing” because of its “pettiness.”
In the six-point response, Mussa admits that corruption is a serious problem that is eating on the fabric of Malawi society.
“One would expect the next sentence to offer what government is doing to end corruption. But lo and behold, Mussa took this as an opportunity to throw shade at the synod that was once implicated in corruption,” observed the paper. “He fell short of telling Nkhoma Synod that it had no moral ground to accuse the DPP-led government of corruption.”
The influential daily said Mussa’s response is “unfortunate and worrying”, saying the government spokesperson should know that government runs on tax payers’ money and therefore, it is open to public scrutiny as they are the ones who pay the taxes.
The paper said Malawians expect more from their leadership than throwing jibes at every one who criticises government.
Mzuzu-based political commentator Emily Mkamanga and University of Livingstonia political science lecturer George Phiri have also faulted government reaction to the pastoral letter.
Mkamanga observed that people have generally applauded the contents of the letter which points out a number of issues the DPP administration has failed to address during President Peter Mutharika’s five-year reign.
Said Mkamanga in quotes reported by the paper: “I think it is not proper for government to respond. There are a number of issues which were previously raised. CSOs [civil society organisations] raised the same concerns, but government has never responded. Why is it responding to the church? There is nowhere it can go with that? By the way the church admitted its failures in public.”
On his part, Phiri also observed that government will not benefit from finger pointing because it “has no power to influence the church at this time”.
He said: “I do not think government should take a church as its competitor at this time. It will not win the game. I think it should have stayed quiet.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :