Patriarchy, Paralysis and PAC: unlocking the Malawi puzzle

Malawi is gripped by what political scientists call paralysis.

Everyone knows what is wrong, except the leader: and the leader holds the ‘legitimacy’ strings.

And the leader and his cohort think they can stay as long as they like or do whatever they want till 2014. The suffering laws and constitution abiding populace do not know what to do. If they demonstrate they ‘break the law’ and get arrested. If they show anger, their leaders say ‘let’s be peaceful’.

This is all very well except that, as has been seen before in Operation Bwezani (where top army leaders failed to heed the grumblings of private soldiers) and elsewhere in Africa, the masses lose faith in the so called leaders – whether Civil Society, PAC or the usual weak and self-serving opposition.

The risk is therefore that if PAC loses its initiative, the malcontents will become led by ‘lower level cadres’ with the risks of producing Yahya Jammehs (Gambia) and Samuel Doe’s of this world, or at best, the very chaos that civic leaders and opposition are claiming to want to avoid.

Malawi is in crisis and you solve a crisis by acting not saying: ‘tiona 2014’. Even as I write Bingu wa Mutharika claims his DPP will be there till 2023! How!

Mutharika: Says DPP can rule indefinetly

‘Tiona 2014’ is one of those Malawianisms that make me want to emigrate to China. Malawians should be aware that the current crisis is NOT ABOUT POLITICS BUT ABOUT PATRONAGE. IT IS A BATTLE FOR THE RICHES OF MALAWI. We have a president who is involved in business with his supporters.

There are only two alternatives here.

One: Anywhere else, Bingu would be medically examined to see if he is still competent. He has acted irrationally, jeopardised the welfare of his people, breached the constitution, bullied police and civil service heads etc. There are enough grounds for medical examination. Are we Malawians brave enough to get doctors, the United Nations and other agencies to help here? Over to the opposition where th is can be discussed in Parliament. Watch the MPs get bought or chicken out.

Second option:

The PAC, with strong popular, opposition, army, police, and civil society (and anyone who cares for Malawi) support force him to resign through peaceful protest and dialogue.

The police to be told by PAC, opposition, donors, population and anyone else who cares for Malawi, that any abuse now will be investigated later and police officers found liable, prosecuted.

Before the new government comes in we need specifics:

Donors to be engaged to ensure resumption of aid so that people see a difference.

VP to take over for a defined 6 – 12 month non-extendable period.

VP to rule with a cabinet of national unity (not from his party only, but the best men and women she can find, even from outside parliament) – all members of this cabinet to be barred from further involvement in politics (we do not want people to use this transition as a personal base builder).

Similarly, the VP will be barred from further standing as president, for similar reasons.

Police and Army  sections of the constitution to be specifically strengthened to ensure their independence so that the next president does not abuse the police, using them as his political thugs.

Sections preventing MPs from drifting from party to party for money to be revised. This period might also give us a small window of opportunity to tighten up on our constitution. I must say though, there is very little wrong with our Constitutioon; we have weak police chiefs, weak civil service seniors and weak top army officiers who do they told, even if theu know it is wrong for the country.. The trick is to make them liable, as in the USA (Colonel North?) after they are found out.

We might want to go for a one 5 year presidential term in a row.

Politics to be permitted in this GNU phase so that come elections we have party formations that are more mature and policy oriented.

The PAC is our best alternative, let us make it work. Otherwise, get ready for ‘unity, loyalty, discipline and obedience’ once more in a Bingu one party state.

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