On Friday, May 20, the Public Affairs Committee PAC met former head of state and Progressive Party (DPP) leader Arthur Peter Mutharika at his PAGE Residence in Mangochi
According to the media statement issued after the meeting, the main item on the agenda relates to the growing concern of the DPP’s failure to provide checks and balances on the current administration
“Effective checks and balances on government policies and actions are better executed by opposition parties. The current situation provides an opportunity to DPP to effectively play this role,” reads part of the statement.
As a religious body and true custodian of democracy, good governance and rule of law, PAC is acting within its mandate to see to it that the opposition political players check on the excesses of the ruling elites. Since PAC was formed in 1992 it has never slept nor blinked. Together with the Catholic bishops, PAC has been vigilant in safeguarding democracy.
PAC was there during transition from one party era to pluralism, PAC played a significant role in thwarting the ambitious Bakili Muluzi from prolonging his stay in power through the infamous open term bid. PAC was there when Bingu grew headed in the second term and threw away the goodwill he received from Malawians in his first term. This religious grouping was there moderating when the Constitutional Court was handling the 2019 disputed elections which almost plunged this country into crisis. It is therefore understandable to hear that they had an audience with the embattled DPP leader.
Their intervention could not have come at a better time that this when President Lazarus Chakwera has been encouraging alternative views in shaping the progressive Malawi. But as much as this government needs vibrant opposition, it will be a wild dream to think that DPP can offer that. In fact, to anyone who has been in Malawi, Mutharika’s passiveness is hardly surprising.
For the first time in Malawi history, the country experienced a very underwhelming leadership under Peter Mutharika.
Mutharika literally slept on the job to the extent that his cronies became so powerful. They issued presidential decrees and took laws in their own hands. Some even became laws themselves. The former President was on record saying that he was not aware that his security aide Norman Chisale, was using his (Mutharika’s) MRA Tax Payers Identification Pin to smuggle cement worth MK5 billion into the country. He said he only was made aware of Chisale’s “behind the back” actions when he was out of power. This only demonstrates that Peter Mutharika was not in control of affairs of this country.
Is it even surprising that his party is crumbling while under his watch? The leadership wrangles have in the DPP have reached fever pitch with his challenger, Kondwani Nankhumwa showing no sign of relenting until he wrestles power from Mutharika. This point to one thing: weak leadership. Rightly so, PAC and all Malawians are justified to be concerned. If anything, what could have been Malawi become if Gwanda Chakuamba, John Tembo and indeed Lazarus Chakwera were as sleepy as Mutharika during their time as leaders of opposition in the past twenty-six years?
For argument sake, perhaps we have to give the benefit of doubt. Within their fold they have people who are intelligent enough to understand the maxim which says:
“He who comes into equity must come with clean hands”
One would not expect people who fooled the IMF by cooking figures fail to grasp this maxim. One would not expect people who doctored election results to not understand this doctrine. The DPP knows that they messed up things and the “period we are in” being referred in the PAC statement is a reflection of the ruins the DPP left.
This far, everyone can agree that everything about DPP smells foul and deceit. From the way the party was formed to how they doctored the 2019 presidential election results to how they falsified figures to IMF represents crookedness. The DPP came into existence on deceit. Maybe we need to be told of a scenario in history where a presidential candidate dumped the party which sponsored him to power and formed another party while in power and call it a ruling party. We all know the trick played on Bingu on UDF. The once mighty party UDF was condemned to the opposition and they have never recovered from that betrayal.
This is a party that can do anything to stay in power even if it means staging a constitutional coup through the midnight six to subvert the spirit of the constitution from reigning supreme. This is a party which crookedly found its way into government in 2014 elections when all the evidence pointed to the fact that they lost that election. This is ta party whose candidate was hurriedly sworn in as state president at the High Court on that chilly Saturday morning in 2014.
The truth is that leaving the fate of this country in the hands of DPP has never been the best of choices. The UDF was rule was described as the “lost decade because of poor handling of the economy. On the other hand, DPP was administration was tragic because of its sustained impunity and gross violation of human rights no wonder they lack moral authority to provide checks and balances on Chakwera administration.