The past catches up in Malawi

The adage which says that  ‘no condition is permanent’ makes a lot of sense especially when one looks at governance. Whether one talks about  the recent Arab uprising in north Africa or the change of government in Malawi,  they both stand as examples that no condition is permanent.

Having said the above, it is surprising that most political leaders especially those in power seem t o have a misconception that they have been anointed to permanently remain in their leadership positions. Worse still they behave as if they are above the law and therefore propagate and support  bad laws.

During the recent 2012/13 budget session of parliament, Section 65 of  the Malawi Constitution  which talks about crossing the floor took center stage.

DPP leading men: They want Section 65 applied now but never wanted it when they were in power

To start with the importance of section 65 cannot be over emphasized as far as multiparty democracy is concerned.

One can remember so well  how opposition leader John Tembo was ridiculed, booed and called names by the late President Bingu wa Mutharika and his party, DPP. All this was because Hon Tembo was asking the speaker to apply section 65 on MPs who had defected to DPP.

It is so strange that the same MPs who were saying that Tembo did not know what he was talking about , are up in arms  just because defections have caught up with them. Some DPP MPs have shown interest to join the ruling Peoples Party  (PP). Obviously when Mutharika and his DPP MPs were arguing that Malawians cannot eat section 65, did not expect that a day would come for them to be out of power.

The other thing that opposition DPP is complaining about and seem to think it is being witch hunted is the loss of jobs, transfers and arrests of top ranking individuals who were appointed by President Mutharika. According to media reports the complaints are centered on the fact that President Joyce Banda’s administration seem to target people from the same tribe as that of Mutharika.

Fair enough people have the right to complain. However,  it makes more sense that before blaming President Joyce Banda, one should ask why people mostly from Mutharika’s tribe  were put in top jobs? Honestly, they might look like victims but on the other hand one cannot be completely wrong to suggest that they are experiencing the bad side of nepotism. In short, effects of nepotism  has caught up with them.

The problem with nepotism is that  Presidential  appointees behave as if they are not answerable to any one or any law except to the appointing authority. As a result there is usually total abuse of the office. Taking law into their own hands their main activity seems to be perfecting the art of converting public resources into personal fortunes. Before long the are seen extremely rich. When power changes hands such people face the law.  President Joyce Banda’s administration is doing just that with the few officials who have faced arrests and other changes.

Any sensible leader must know that he/she is just a custodian for a limited time  of the affairs of the country . It is now unbelievable to hear Peter Muthalika apologizing to Malawians for the suffering they endured during the DPP rule. It is one thing to believe him.  It is likely he might also have been caught up by the wind of change. But what he must know is that people can forgive but to forget can be difficult especially when one remembers how President Mutharika and DPP could have a field day castigating and demeaning Malawians.

Malawi has had enough examples as a warning to current and future governments that what leaders do , always lives after them. Therefore the bottom line is to follow the rule of law.


Emily Mkamanga         Email  [email protected]

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