PAC cautions Malawi leader on ills of her administration

Representatives of the Public Affairs Committee (PAC) on Wednesday met Malawi President Joyce Banda at Sanjika Place where they largely highlighted concerns and reservations which Malawians have on her administration.

President Banda was sworn in as Malawi president in April after the sudden death of president Bingu wa Mutharika in April.

According to the organizers the meeting which had PAC’s trustee Bishop Montfort Sitima as the leader of the delegation was aimed to share with the president resolutions made from a recent conference PAC organized in the commercial capital Blantyre.

Reading a statement addressed to President Banda, Bishop Sitima reminded the the Head of State  that she was in the office because it was God who chose her to lead Malawians at this time around and as religious grouping they don’t take this for granted.

Sitima said although there is a feeling that  most  of  the  issues  PAC raised  in   the  Limbe Cathedral Communique in March [during the reign of Mutharika] have  been   dealt with by Banda’s administration to a  certain  extent, Malawians  “still  have  concerns  in  the   areas  of  political governance,  constitutionalism  and  economic  path  under  your  administration.”

Political Governance

Sitima told Banda that on  political  governance, PAC observed in its last conference in October that there  is  lack  of   leadership  at  various  levels   to  transform  this  country,  and  therefore , Malawi  continues  to  face  underdevelopment  since  its  independence.

“We  are  not  only  talking  about  political  leadership  but  leadership  at  different  levels of administration to  transform  our  country. Similarly, we  are  not  talking  about  any  individual  but a  concept  on  leadership.

Sitima: Meets, cautioned JB

“To this  end,  it  was  recommended  that here is need to institutionalize leadership training in and through academic institutions, civil society organizations, faith based institutions etc  for  Malawi  to be  transformed.

“We  are  aware  that  it  is  not   your  personal  responsibility alone  but  it  is  involves  many players,” said Sitima.

Section 65 of Constitution

Sitima told Banda that delegates noted that there has been a serious lack of political will to invoke section 65 of the Malawi Constitution [which bars parliamentarian from crossing the floor in the national assembly] in the eighteen years of the multi-party dispensation of political governance “and we  believe  we  can’t  go  on  like  this”.

“It  is  generally  felt  that  within  your  administration  failure  to  implement  Section 65  was a deliberate  disregard  of  constitutionalism  despite    technical   excuses  that  were  given  at parliament.

“We  are  aware  that  the  parliament   as  a  branch  of  government  was  supposed  to  implement this. But  we  felt  that  it  is  important  to  inform  you  about  this  observation,  for  you  take  an oath  to  uphold  and  protect  the  Constitution  of  the  Republic  of  Malawi,” said the Bishop .

He also appealed to President Banda’s administration to re-introduce section 64 of the Malawi constitution which allows electorate to call back from parliament non performing parliamentarian.

Sitima asked Banda’s administration to take a leading role to ensure the country holds tripartite elections in 2014 polls.

“We  believe  failure  to  facilitate  the  implementation  of  this  agenda  may  have  a  big  impact on  your  administration. We believe  these  elections  will give Malawians power to run their own affairs  and  will  enhance  participation  of  the  community  in  developmental  work, ” he said.

Economic Situation

On  economic  PAC representatives asked the president  to  put  adequate  measures  to  lessen the  hardship that has been brought about because of the devaluation of the local currency.

“We  wish  to  emphasize  the  fact  that  devaluation  has  had  a  big  impact  on  people’s  lives. The  government  should  therefore  practice  austerity  measures  to  redirect  savings  towards mitigating   the  impact  of  devaluation”.

Don’t’ politicize charity

In conclusion. Sitima asked President Banda to handle the charity work she is doing without presidential groves to avoid denting her personal image.

“We note that you are distributing food in the villages.  This is a brilliant initiative.  We  know  that you  are  a  champion  on  charitable  work . No doubt about this. However, now you are a State President.  As  you  do  charitable  work people  have  different perceptions  on  the  way  you  are  distributing  food.

“People feel that it is being politicized. There  is  yet  another  perception  that  the  state  resources may  be  used  during  the  distribution  exercise.

“We  are  not  saying  that  you  are  doing  a  bad  job  in  Malawi  but  perhaps  you  need  to adequately  explain  to  Malawians, and  indeed  tread carefully  so  that  you  do not  dent  your image”.

He suggested that it  would  be  better  if  she  identified  alternative  ways  of   giving  charitable food.

This was the first time PAC engages the President Banda since she assumed power in April this year.

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