Civil society advocate Michael Usi has condemned people who say the Public Affairs Committee (Pac) is not relevant and has outlived its worthiness.
Prior to the just-ended Pac 5+1 All-inclusive Stakeholders Conference, top Democratic Progressive Party’s officials convened a press conference in Lilongwe where they lashed at the quasi-religious grouping.
They said Pac is not presently relevant, accusing it of being influenced by opposition politicians.
But Usi, widely known as Manganya, said Pac has over the years stood for the common person and stressed it was the oldest “voice of the voiceless”.
“Pac is relevant because of the issues it brings forward that are always pertinent, objective and the real truth. It is not enough to just say ‘you are lying’, be specific and point out what exactly is wrong, hence, in my opinion, that is what Pac has been doing over the years,” he said.
He said Pac stands out because it does not just voice out issues without taking time to find out what exactly was on the ground.
“Pac does not just rush to conduct such meetings, which is why I say those people that are saying the body is irrelevant are the ones that are not relevant. If Pac was irrelevant, the State President [Peter Mutharika] would not be giving them an audience, equally he would not be sending a government [and party] delegation to such Pac meetings and take resolutions to him,” Usi said.
He said DPP top officials should realise that they would not always be in government; hence, they would one day need the same Pac they are currently talking ill of.
“Pac has not only been up to bring issues against this government but they have been doing this for a long time, since it was established and during the terms of all the presidents Malawi has had. So who can say that Pac is irrelevant? Pac is more relevant because it has always stood its ground to speak for the people,” he said.
However, Usi said the quasi-religious organisation needs to be cautious of some of its stakeholders that attend its meetings since they could be pushing their own partisan and personal agendas.
“It [Pac] needs to be very cautious when it comes to stakeholders that support their agenda that comes to the said meetings. Some of the stakeholders could be coming to enhance their own agendas that are not in line with Pac’s noble task.
“I am saying this because some of the political activists that are well-known as wholesale government critics may not fit well into Pac’s agenda and end up using it to propel their ‘hidden agendas’. It may be ideal if those political activists have their own forum and so that it should not appear as if Pac is their agent or vice-versa,” he said.
Another activist Billy Mayaya concurred that there is need for Pac to be cautious with some stakeholders.
“For instance, when it comes to issues to deal with democratic change and others, when government [and ruling party] delegation is in attendance, usually they tend to manipulate the outcome. Yes, they could attend these consultative meetings but they must not be party to the resolutions as they can influence that process to their advantage and to the disadvantage of Malawians,” Mayaya said.
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