PAC’s resolution: A petty political poke on Malawi President

Clergy at the PAC conference; Time to reclaim our destiny

The landmark resolution coming out of the Public Affairs Committee (PAC) meeting at Limbe Cathedral is all the more too good to be true. There is no denying that the Mutharika administration has been notoriously brutal, economically unsound, diplomatically immature, and politically unpalatable ever since it got re-elected in the 2009 Parliamentary and Presidential Elections (PPE).

The Mutharika administration has been this bad largely due to the constitutional laxity, the silent opposition parties, and the non-nationalistic mass population. Of more attention-grabbing is the undoubted tsunami of uncertainty and demoralization PAC resolution has sent in the state establishment. Consequently, PAC has presented itself as a fearless, level-headed religious organization with the best interest of the silently suffering Malawi population.

Be good as it is, sadly, PAC’s resolution is doomed to be a petty political poke, as it is readily defeated by criticism from diehard constitutionalists both from government and non-government actors, and, even more sadly, by an obviously lack of revolutionary potential in the Malawi populace.

Constitutionalists argue that PAC has no constitutional obligation to tell government to resign or call for a referendum. Fine and good! Perhaps an inquisitive mind would ask: “Is the Malawi constitution some kind of a suicide pact?” If we answer NO to this question, we would implicitly be accepting the fact that in certain rarest cases the deliberate disregard of the constitution to achieve certain higher order popular needs as demanded by the majority of its adopters is informally constitutional.

At the risk of committing a fallacy, this very practice has been observed to be practiced by the state establishment; with the infamous section 65-budget debate and the passing of section 46 of the penal code being the classic cases in question, though, unlike in the scenario expressed above, to the benefit of fewest, self-interested adopters.

If one accepts the possibility of constitutional unconstitutionality as proposed herein, one would be quick to accept the constitutional ‘rightness’ of PAC’s resolution, if the understanding that the sole aim of a constitution is to serve the individual and/ or collective interests of its adherents is anything to go by.

Even if we accept PAC’s destruction of the constitution for the construction of a decent life for Malawians by holding its resolution worthwhile, PAC’s decision is still more to give no tangible results. This is the case because revolution in Malawi is more readily watched and commented upon than planned and executed. This is perhaps the case partly due to growing tendency to deny responsibility on the part of organizers of the revolutions and partly due to Malawi public’s failure to see the world beyond food.

You would agree with me that the organizers of mere demonstrations are always half-hearted to come in the forefront and claim they are behind the organization of the demonstrations fearing they would be smoked out. On their part, the non-nationalistic poor Malawians are all too fearful to lead let alone start the demonstration albeit willing to participate. Resultantly, the Malawi population cries loudly in their respective eco-political discomfort zones.

Again, though they may be willing to participate in the demonstrations, most Malawians cannot stay more than two days without prying their merchandise or working, for doing so would mean going with an empty stomach for days. Why this is the case is because most demonstration-participating Malawians are small-scale business people who live their life from hand to mouth without an already food supply of more than a day. The middle class who are an exception to this rarely participate though are fast when it comes to commenting how best they could have planned the demonstration and good at pinpointing what exactly went wrong for the demonstrations to go awry.

Interestingly, PAC would want to leave a big footprint on the country’s political land by doing all it can to ensure that it walks the talk. PAC’s insistence, however, would still be futile because there would be frustrating turnout as a result of well-cooked government propaganda and threats targeted at the less-educated, economically disempowered citizens.

The high turnout would be from cities mostly comprising of vendors because they are the most economically-frustrated demonstration-participating quarter of the Malawi population. The demonstration would last no more than two hours as there would be government sympathisers issuing live threats in the streets. The majority of the initial participators of the revolution would quickly transform into spectators once government sympathisers show their ugly faces in the streets. And this would be an announcement that the revolution has been effectively stopped with no signs of it being re-staged the following day. Ultimately, Mutharika stays up until 2014 election time. “How painful!”, some of you might be roaring.

To this end therefore, one would conclude, as the article concludes, that PAC’s Mutharika-should-resign-call-for-referendum-or-else resolution is nothing but a well-hatched petty political poke, best in itself and the media hype it attracts perhaps, but having no iota of hope for the replacement of the Mutharika regime, at least not until 2014.

 * Henry Chizimba, Fourth Year, Education humanities, Chancellor College

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