Government rests on the twin values of inclusiveness and accountability. Inclusiveness means equal participation and equal treatment.
This is more a reason since Malawi adopted multiparty system of government in 1993, various stakeholders have been calling for a radical political transformation in Malawi and the adoption of a new constitution based on the principles of participatory democracy.
And to ensure that democracy takes root in the country, a number of steps designed to consolidate and institutionalise the newly gained political system and improve governance have been taken.
As part of the process of consolidating democracy and as a strategy for realising the country’s development goal of poverty reduction, for instance, the government expressed its desire to decentralise political and administrative authority to district level.
It is apparent that the manner in which the transition to multiparty was managed has had serious repercussions for constitutionalism in Malawi.
The haste with which the Constitution was adopted entails that there was insufficient time for proper and broad-based societal consultation and negotiation on its terms.
Realising this, Public Affairs Committee (Pac) and other concerned institutional bodies have been pushing for electoral and local government reforms.
The sole objective is to make our democracy an epitome of representation and accountability.
Not surprising then that Pac recently wrote the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) requesting for an audience with members of the Cabinet Committee on Legal and Parliamentary and Constitutional albeit meeting other stakeholders before.
Pac had prioritised removal of Members of Parliament voting powers at council level, recruitment of chief executive officers and district commissioners of the council as well as proposing the 50 + 1 system of presidential elections as key issues to be discussed with the committee.
Unfortunately, the government which is preaching public sector reforms with one corner of the mouth is saying contrary through the other corner and has categorically through the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) declined to meet Pac on the same.
OPC remarks, that Pac has already engaged various stakeholders on the matter, hence the proposed meeting may not be necessary because there is nothing new that the board may discuss with the Cabinet committee at this point in time, is steeped not only in irony but absurdity.
Is not reasonable that the Cabinet could allow to meet Pac and raise their points or concerns therein rather than turning down the quasi-religious body’s proposed meeting?
By declining to meet Pac on the reforms, the government has just confirmed that it is not ready to transform this country.
Political institutions shape the rules of the game under which democracy is practiced. The government must act for the good of the country rather than being selfish and arrogant.
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