During the demonstrations to draw attention to the various economic problems rocking Malawi, John Kapito, the Executive Director of the Consumers Association of Malawi(CAMA) said that the opposition is equally to blame for the economic hardships being faced by the majority of Malawians.
He singled out the Leader of Opposition in Parliament , Dr Lazarus Chakwera , whom he accused of neglecting his duties because he had been provided with a state of the art Prado motor vehicle. I wish to differ with Mr Kapito.
I differ with Mr Kapito on the basis of the following reasons:
- Those Malawians who keenly followed deliberations in Parliament during the just ended session to review the budget know that the opposition did a highly commendable job of checks and balances.
Government through the Minister of Finance and other ministers provided useful explanations as a result of probing questions from the opposition. Even some of the votes were adjusted due to the
intervention of the opposition. I do not recall any probing question from members of parliament from the government side including the United Democratic Front.
- The opposition both inside and outside Parliament plays the role of an advisor. Anyone who has been in a position of an advisor knows the limits of being an advisor. As an advisor your role is to give the best possible advice you can. An advisor cannot compel the person to whom advice is given to accept the advice. Thus while the opposition can and does give advice it cannot compel government to accept the advice. Government may or may not accept the advice. In the case of the increase of school fees government accepted advice and suspended the increase of school fees.
The opposition and any Malawian can give advice but at the end of the day it is government that must take and takes decision on any advice given. It is therefore government that is responsible for the consequences of the decisions it takes on the basis of advice it receives.
- As for the remark of a Prado motor vehicle for the Leader of Opposition may I point out that the State President, his vice, ministers and other top government officials have official motor
vehicles to facilitate the performance of their duties. There is therefore no basis for saying that the leader of opposition has neglected his duties because of a Prado motor vehicle assigned to him
for his official duties.