PAC to critically scrutinise Malawi presidential aspirants: ‘Political prostitution affect governance’

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.

Mohamed: Presidential hopefuls need to be grilled
Mohamed: Presidential hopefuls need to be grilled

Transformative leadership

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.”

PAC indaba
PAC indaba

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”.

Political governance

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.

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