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Editorial CommentOpinion & Analysis

Our Members of Parliament must, for once, be sensitive

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We cannot agree more with Minister of Finance, Goodall Gondwe, who has made it plain to Members of Parliament (MPs) that the government cannot entertain their demand for a 70 percent pay hike but, instead, the legislators will, just like the rest of public officers, earn a 10 percent increment.

We wish we had patted the government on the back, but we will not because by making such a response to the MPs, Gondwe has not done anything extraordinary, let alone done anyone a favour but rather this is what was expected from any reasonable controller of the national purse.

But we have very serious issues with our MPs, who are among few Malawians that earn K1 million monthly in addition to a sitting allowance of K50,000. The K50,000 alone is gross pay of a graduate clerk in town.

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It is becoming increasingly clear that our MPs have lost their moral campus, every unreasonable demand they make on their remuneration just proves that these men and women are very detached from the reality with the masses they swore to represent.

Having successfully pressed for state-of-the art laptops that drained hundreds of millions of tax payers’ money, and also made other many demands, the MPs are not done yet.

Their latest demand just proves this. We are in trouble with these men and women who, to be honest, sometimes spend their time in the House, swearing at each other, handclapping, playing games on their laptops and arguing over petty party politics that does not bring food on the table of the electorates.

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Get us right. No one is disputing the fact that our MPs deserve better pay.

After all, our MPs carry the burden of the communities they represent as they are expected to meet expenses for every need in the villages—from buying coffins, paying school fees to ferrying patients to distant hospitals. Surely, this is a weighty responsibility.

However, for whatever justification, our MPs must, for once, sober up and learn to share the financial burden with the masses, instead of craving for luxuries such as laptops and, two months later, expect a 70 percent pay rise.

The MPs are supposed to learn the meaning of sacrifice and suffer with the people they represent.

The MPs must represent their people in good and bad times, and there is nothing in the country suggesting that the country is swimming in money.

If you accept to represent the people of your constituency, you must be certain of the commitments you are getting into and be innovative enough to source funding for developmental projects, otherwise if you do not deliver you will be forced to dig dipper into your pockets.

This is the biggest problem with our MPs. They make their way to power on the strength of many promises and handouts which they struggle to fulfil and sustain once elected.

Time has come for MPs to campaign with ideas so as not to raise false expectations from the electorates once elected into power.

It is, therefore, unreasonable for these honourables to turn Parliament into a gold mine. Being an MP is not and should not be a career but rather a service to the nation.

The point we are making is that the timing of the MPs’ demand is so ill-timed and insensitive that it sends wrong signals to others such as the University of Malawi support staff, Lilongwe City Council and Admarc employees who are on strike, demanding a better take-home.

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