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Tragedy of Malawi democracy: Where is Judiciary when the Executive and Legislature unite in stealing from people?

Professor Blessings Chinsinga and Dr Boniface Dulani taught us well, at Chancellor College, about how our three arms of government must operate to sustain a functional democracy.

Finance Minister Goodall Gonder under fire over K4bn MPs payout

They said these arms—the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary—must work independent of each other.

The underlying reason for this independence is to ensure that the three are able to provide checks and balances on each so that none, among them, amasses too much power to undermine the others.

This, they argued, is good for protecting local Malawians, from whom the authority to govern derives.

I repeat: this is according to what Prof. Chinsinga and Dr Dulani taught us.

But did the two prepare us as to what would happen to the functionality of our democracy when two of three arms of government decides to unite for the cause of stealing from their people?

Or did the two prepare us as to what would it mean for the isolated arm in events where the other two arms unite in strength to abuse the local Malawians?

Well, that is the question facing us, as a nation, and, most importantly, the functionality of our democracy today.

Look around.

The Executive, through Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe, wanted to make an unexplained pay out of K40 billion from undisclosed sources to few MPs, the Legislature, for reasons not yet clearly shared with the public.

Some MPs, in the spirit of providing checks and balances, raised the alarm against the payout. Caught pants down, the Executive, through Gondwe, thought of conspiring with the Legislature by extending the pay out to all MPs.

If our arms of government are really functional, as Professor Chinsinga and Dr Dulani taught us, we could have expected the MPs that stood up against the payout to remain vigilant.

To the contrary, the noise from the Legislature simmered—a potent symbol of a malfunctioning government system operating not to the letter but to the pocket.

When the Executive, through Gondwe, not once but thrice, stammered generously to explain the payout, we knew, by and then, that something was terribly wrong.

Indeed, we know now, that the payout was an idea by the Executive to spoil few MPs—using hard earned taxpayer’s money—who helped them shoot down the Elections Bill. Now we know.

With the cat out of the bag, the Executive had to find a way out of getting the cat back.

That is why they rushed to the altar of the devil and entered into a marriage of thievery with the Legislature.

Great Machiavellian move it was by the Executive and we all hold the truth, today, and we are self-evident of the apparent grand union of two arms of government in defrauding and stealing from their people.

It’s easy, of course, to get lost in the scheme of unfolding events and lose focus. But it must be underlined, here, that we are experiencing another critical juncture in the life of our democracy when two arms of government unite to defraud its own people.

In such instances, our political thinkers, even legal ones, need to school us as what should be the way forward. We need to know, because we must, as to where, as citizens, should we go to seek redress.

Already, in the chaos of panic and disillusionment, I am reading that some Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have petitioned the Executive on the matter. Though in pain, this move calls for laughter for obvious reasons—the Executive schemed this thievery.

The question we need to face, today, is on how the Judiciary, an arm of government, can be moved to address the issue at hand.

Is there a way the public, CSOs included, can move the Judiciary to hold this joint grand scheme of thievery by the Executive and the Legislature? Is there a way heads of these two schemes be held to account for a move that is apparently premised on defrauding unsuspecting Malawians?

That is what Professor Chinsinga and Dr Dulani, or law Professor Edge Kanyongolo, should enlighten us, as the public.

Because if  we remain silent, as we always, we are building a dangerous precedent for our democracy.

We cannot afford a government akin to a den of thieves.

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