The Public Affairs Committee (PAC) has called for an end of politicians changing parties when government changes, saying the development affect governance.
Sheikh Imuran Shereef Mahomed, acting chairperson of PAC, a civil society, interfaith organisation made up of the main Protestant, Catholic and Muslim faith groups in Malawi, said on Wednesday at the opening the committee’s annual general meeting in the commercial city of Blantyre.
“The practice of crossing the floor when governments change and failure to listen to the wishes of the people remain deep-rooted problems in Malawi,” Mahomed said.
“We must closely check the political processes because that is where governance lies. The political processes are where the underlying causes to political and economic governance emanate,” he said.
Mahomed said PAC has identified two strategies focusing at national and local level .
“The first will focus on Presidential Candidates whereby they will be interrogated on issues Malawians want to see changed or transformed (Presidential Candidate Interface, beyond 2014) and the second will focus on imparting issues interrogated with the Presidential Candidate and qualities of a good leader to the communities through PAC Structure,” he said.
Mahomed said PAC, will work on both demand and supply side of the electoral process to realise transformative leadership.
Said Mahomed: “The issues raised with presidential candidates will require specific time-frames when they can deal with them; so that those who win in 2014 should account to the public on the promises made during interface discussions.
“The office of the president should not just go with a blank cheque. This [new] approach will help us to have benchmarks for follow-up with our future presidents.”
He said “PAC cannot fail to change the political and economic landscape it they were able to change the political system 20 years ago [from one party system of government to multiparty.]”
Fair and balanced
PAC wishes to achieve the a initiatives to enhance transparency and accountability.
He said to achieve this, members attending the AGM currently under way must ensure that they elect new executive committee members that are not involved in partisan politics.
Mohamed said it has been noted previously that when PAC members support specific political parties, the organisation has suffered massively and even development partners have run away.
“The most difficult situations we have witnessed in PAC is where the Board gets divided and confidential issues go into the [news] papers. This should not be repeated. Let us learn from past mistakes. “
“We are aware that at all times politicians will approach us. But it takes courage and respect for PAC values to reject offers from governments,” said Mohamed .
He called for PAC’s “objectivity” during the electoral season as Malawi goes to poll next year.
‘Lest we forget’
Mohamed also called on Malawians to observe June 14 as a special day for the country’s democracy
“Next month will be the month when Malawi ushered in multiparty system of government 20 years ago , and yet we have never taken pride to celebrate the month or a day when Malawians took courage to change the system of government through referendum.
“There are times when Malawians celebrate individual successes in our politics, and yet as a nation we have failed to recognize 14 June as a day when we brought in political change. It is perhaps time now that Malawians should consider the month of June and in particular the day we voted for multi-party system of government . We may not have the resources but definitely authorities and other stakeholders should reflect on this important day . “
Mohamed said the day could be celebrated under the theme : “Lest we forget”.
University of Malawi’s Chancellor College-based law professor Edge Kanyongolo said the country’s leaders, who hold power on trust, must be accountable, responsive, and transparent and allow people from where their power derives from to question their decisions.
He said when he made M a presentation on political governance at the PAC indaba.
Kanyongolo said governance requires political leaders to respect human rights and allow the public access to information they hold on their behalf.
He pointed out that there has been slow progress on political governance with occasional backslides, but no prospective of reversal of the fundamentals.
Kanyongolo said there is also inability to reduce donor dependency, predicting that the ruling elite is likely going to centralise power and shrink the space for non-state actors.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :