Time for political change in Malawi

Experience has shown that forming committees to handle various issues is not necessarily a solution to national problems.

Malawians may be aware that the Bingu wa Mutharika government is so fond of coming up with various presidential appointed committees for this and that. This is in addition to personal advisors to the President. Just imagine, despite having a 41 member cabinet, President Mutharika still feels he needed to appoint a committee to advise him on development. What more advice does he want that the cabinet with the help of Principal Secretaries cannot provide?

As is the case, members of development advisors group include individuals who have been very critical about Mutharika’s alleged poor governance. Appointing such critics is obviously seen more as a way of silencing them than anything else. The question is, since the President has never listened to their critical viewpoints then how do they suddenly expect him to listen to their advice? This is why nothing much, has ever come out of this so called development advisory team. They have simply joined the rest of Malawians to watch and wait as the country continues on its downward spiral to destruction.

Mutharika: Change or change will change him

At the moment, President Mutharika has appointed a Presidential Committee on Contact and Dialogue. This is to engage both government and civil society leaders to discuss the issues raised in the 20th July 2011 petition given to the President for action. With all due respect, this dialogue committee is another irrelevant team. There is already Public Affairs Committee (PAC) in this country which was formed to sort out problems between government and the people or between political leaders.

In the past, PAC had tried and failed to bring contact and dialogue between President Mutharika and former President Muluzi. It is very clear that President Mutharika and his government are not for dialogue. His dialogue appointed team is just a window dressing exercise.

Meanwhile, it must be said that dialogue is a question of give and take. The problem in this country at the moment is that there is a government and leadership which are not ready to take anything from anybody. Apart from President Mutharika being not ready to listen to anyone, his government does not accept responsibility for any wrongs. The government does nothing wrong!  For example, lack of forex and fuel is blamed on all manner of people and organisations ranging from Asian businessmen in Malawi to IMF and World Bank.

The opposition parties and Civil Society organisations are being blamed for exaggerating the problems the country is facing. President Mutharika claims that they do this because they want to overthrow him. With such negative preconceived ideas, how can there be meaningful dialogue to address issues raised in the petition? What is also laughable is that while the dialogue meeting is in progress, DPP and government spokes persons are busy answering some of the queries on the petition. Can such comments and answers not influence the outcome of the dialogue?

It is against what is stated above that one of the sensible suggestions is to call for a referendum on having early Presidential and parliamentary elections. The constitution can be changed to allow for this. It is time for Malawians to stop skirting around problems and think that solutions will just rain down like Manna. Any sensible person should know by now that having some dialogue here or there is just a waste of time.

This country is being systematically destroyed by the day. Nothing seems to work. Arguing that the problems Malawi is facing are not unique to Malawi only does not make sense. Just because there are war in most African countries, does not mean that Malawians should smile when the President dishes out war threats. It is very sad that the President wants to attack the very same people who voted him into power. The defence that the President mentioned the word war in a figurative way is the most bizarre excuse. In his speech the President sounded angry. So, how can it be figurative? In the same speech he said that he is now going to arrest his critics. Was that figurative too?

Malawians should find a long lasting solution to the problems the country is facing. It does not need a space scientist to know that the DPP led government has failed. Problems are just piling up with no solution in sight. What is mind boggling is that the government is so good at passing bad laws and yet it has no clue to solve even the simplest problem such as the Chancellor college saga.

Time for change is now. Failing which people will no longer mind about who takes over provided the failed government is voted out.

Emily Mkamanga email [email protected]

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