Government, Pac tug-of-war senseless


I am watching from a distance this tug-of-war between the government and the quasi-religious body, the Public Affairs Committee (Pac).

Let me quicken to say this verbal war, this tug-of-war is useless, senseless and silly and should be avoided at all cost.

The government has its own terms of reference, so has Pac.


Actually, I find the behaviour of the government on this matter bizarre, most wanting and uncalled for.

The other day, I stumbled upon a rumbling press release signed by Information Minister Nicholas Dausi, reminding Pac of its role; what it should be doing and what it should not be doing.

I laughed because I wondered when did the government become Pac’s police; this showed the government, not Pac, does not know the role of the quasi-religious body.


I ask Pac to present its mission, vision and mandate to the government to avoid this unnecessary tension, which should not be there in the first place.

The government has a mountain of problems it needs to deal with; therefore, this war with Pac will only make the government lose focus and vision on its promised agenda to the people of Malawi.

Pac has its own mandate dating back to its inception in the early 1990s.

Pac fearlessly and courageously fought for this democracy.

Soon after the brave Catholic bishops, led by late Archbishop James Chiona, issued the famous pastoral letter in 1992, Pac had been there putting pressure on the then Malawi Congress Party government of one-party state to revert to democracy.

Pac had been as courageous as the Catholic bishops themselves.

When former president Bakili Muluzi wanted to rape the Republican Constitution to extend his stay in office, Pac was there for us, ordinary Malawians.

They put spanners to Muluzi’s move.

They told Muluzi that Malawi was not Kapoloma Estate; therefore, he had no business in clinging to power and it worked, very well for that matter.

When former president the late Bingu wa Mutharika was off track and was becoming increasingly arrogant and dictatorial, Pac was there and stood firm, speaking for the oppressed ordinary Malawians.

I did not see the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in any of the scenarios above and others I have not been able to cite.

After all, in most cases, the DPP was non-existent and no one dreamt that it would hit the political scene.

Therefore, for Dausi and other government officials to stand up and start calling Pac officials names and insults is uncalled for.

This is not the democracy that Chakufwa Chihana and other millions of Malawians risked their lives for.

After all, what Pac is saying is true. Only naked fools would disagree.

Poverty is still rampant, corruption still record high, the cost of living is beyond reach for many and many other problems.

This government seems not to be doing anything to put the situation under control.

Inflation is down yes but with a marginal percentage which has no impact on the real time lives of ordinary people.

If you go to public hospitals, you will agree with Pac that our leaders are in offices just to take care of their bellies.

I am impressed with the brave stance of Pac officials; they are not moved, not even an inch, in this harsh and unfavourable political climate.

They are responding very calmly but with intelligence and wisdom.

What the government can do is to keep on twisting arms of the so-called chiefs; keep on parading them on the state-controlled Malawi Broadcasting Corporation but leave Pac alone.

I have mentioned chiefs because they do not represent the interests of the people of Malawi, at least some of them if not most of them.

They shamelessly defended the one-party system of government, they shamelessly defended Muluzi in his bid for third term, they shamelessly defended the decision by Bingu to change the flag, they shamelessly and ignorantly defended Bingu on the devaluation of the kwacha, they shamelessly defended Joyce Banda on the purchase of presidential jet and the list is shamelessly long and endless.

Our democracy is on solid foundation because of strong organisations such as Pac and the strong opposition.

I am, therefore, upset when I see the government officials in a boxing ring fighting the very same institutions which made our democracy not only strong but beautiful.

The recent survey by the University of Malawi showed that most Malawians trust more their religious leaders than their political leaders.

I know President Peter Mutharika (APM) said the respondents of the survey were house flies. He however, deliberately chose to bury his head in the sand for obvious political reasons.

I am connecting this to the fact that Pac is an organisation of the clergy from different denominations, both Christians and Muslims, the dominant faith in the country.

Malawians have, therefore, more trust in Pac than in government; when I say the government, I mean politicians who run the government affairs. This is a fact, take it or leave it.

I know the government line of defence is that Pac unceremoniously called off President Mutharika’s sanctioned talks.

But the APM appointed team seemed not to be interested in the talks, at least looking from a distance.

The government negotiation team gave flimsy excuses that they were in Parliament, this and that blah blah blah as if Parliament sits every day of the week round the clock.

This shows the government is not serious; this shows the government does not take Pac seriously; this shows this government does not respect democratic institutions and detests criticisms.

The best the government can do now is to extend an olive branch to Pac. This tug-of-war between the government and Pac will not take the country anywhere. This is not the God-fearing nation; a God-fearing nation does not fight men of God; only the Satan-fearing nation can do so.

Let the government ask for forgiveness and the Pac clergy offer them a little prayer. That way, life will go on as the ruling party fulfills its campaign promises than fighting a battle which they can never win!

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