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Open Perspective: Democratic Progressive Party on trial

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The papers during the past few weeks have been a depressing read. It has all been lamentations over fleeting hope of revival for a nation in excruciating emotional pain and real threat of falling into permanent receivership.

Michael Usi is right that the administration has lost direction in dealing with critical issues not least the raging hunger. John Kapito is justified to express shock that government has no strategies to deal with the hunger crisis.

A recent MCCCI statement advises agility, warning in the same breath of threats resulting from ineffective economic governance or deliberate efforts not to implement relevant reforms. What indictment of a government!

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Malawi is in trouble like never before. This is why Open Perspective puts DPP and its president on trial. The summonses have been all over the media.

Will the defendant please rise: Mr President your Party and the government it formed have preached austerity but much travel, large entourages, free rolling expenditure have persisted. There is public anger at recruitment of hordes of aides costing treasury heavily; all this against pledges of frugal resource management.

On charge one of uncontrolled spending at the expense of poor people how does the defendant plead?

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When the country experienced the worst floods ever in January 2015, government put up a gallant performance of coordinated leadership. Amidst this five star performance, guidance poured in for government to plan well in advance for the lean months of January to March of 2016. This was never heeded. Due to a nonlistening attitude and inadequate planning 2.8 million Malawians now face hunger, indignity and death without much hope in sight. Both grain and flour are in short supply as prices escalate unstoppably.

On charge two of ‘criminal negligence’ likely to endanger innocent lives how does His Excellency plead?

The people of Malawi, donors, experts and Malawians in the Diaspora have raised voices of reason for government to reform or discard the so-called Fisp. Many more have advised investment in large scale commercialised irrigation.

Meanwhile, what actions your government has taken in response have been slow, inadequate and half-hearted. Millions are now in avoidable jeopardy.

On charge three of nonresponsive leadership likely to breach peace how does the President plead?

Turning to the economy your government is presiding over a collapsed economy, but again not much by way of policy redirection can be shown. All this is happening under His Excellency’s daily watch. Meanwhile the cost of living has plummeted as basic materials are increasingly beyond reach of poor people. Advice goes unheeded.

One charge four of negligent leadership likely to destroy the economy what plea does the defendant enter?

Your government pledged radical public reforms to make Malawi an efficient productively active society.

Progress notwithstanding your government has failed to develop robust enough financial management systems to check corruption and increase productivity in the public sector.

The public is unhappily aware about continued leakages of scarce resources and a further delay of prospects for donor support by another 24 months as a direct result of lack of determination to achieve change.

On charge five of breach of promise and trust of Malawians likely to compromise public sector efficiency how pleads my President?

The DPP government has a duty to prepare and submit to Parliament for debate the Access to Information Bill. However, your government has prevaricated and procrastinated over this matter for no sound reason. Calls from Malawians, development partners and civil society have been ignored.

On charge six of seeking to deliberately curtail democracy by protecting the executive from scrutiny how does the DPP Leader plead?

In her recent Sunday entry Emily Mkamanga wonders if Malawi government ever listens.

Of course not! Not only does government not listen, it doesn’t learn either. It was the same with the last administration, with dire outcomes still haunting many.

Yes, not one has learnt the ‘bloody cost of executive negligence’ over matters affecting people’s livelihood.

None seems to understand the course of public logic. Nor can any accurately read the mood of the nation.

In spite of all the guidance and early warnings governance still entails the same fire fighting and back foot correction of mistakes that should not have been made in the first place had somebody only listened.

It’s sad actually, very sad indeed! Even the simple moral that hungry people are angry people cannot quite sink in.

Take what is happening in Admarc depots for example. Any government should understand the regularity of ‘get rich quick schemes’ and set up timely surveillance to catch vendors or inside dealers prospecting large ‘illegitimate’ purchases.

Incidentally, what law does a vendor contravene in buying say 600 bags from an open public market like Admarc? Is breaching ‘rationing guidelines’ exactly criminal. It may be ‘outrageous and a moral recklessness’ but that’s all it is – moral recklessness.

I think government is only being negligent, deliberately as MCCCI argues. If Malawians disappear millions worth of essential drugs even as thousands of fellow Malawians die they will certainly buy tons of maize. Malawi is a ‘live and let die society’ this I keep advising you.

To borrow John Kapito’s words DPP government is clueless, reactive and helpless. If this be the case indeed then citizens are in dangerous hands.

Things are done and said that defy moral logic. Malawians are suffering the ignominy of rations as Ministers preach a one meal a day policy. Even with one meal a day does DPP think that Malawians paid MK15, 000 a month, who must buy 25 kg flour at Mk8, 000 for families of five, will manage?

DPP has consigned our economy to hospice care. Public reforms left in thieving hands won’t work. Malawians are reduced to food beggars. And freedoms are threatened. What next?

As presiding judge, I find the defendant guilty on all charges.

I hereby sentence you to three years – suspended – and ban you from exercising any leadership of similar or higher demands. That is my judgement.

All rise. Court II is adjourned.

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