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Pac set for another conference

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As the government and Public Affairs Committee (Pac) are failing to reach any agreement on the resolutions made during an all-inclusive meeting in February this year, Pac is expected to convene a follow-up stakeholders’ conference next month.

On April 21, Pac met President Peter Mutharika to update him on the resolutions made during its February 17 to 18 all-inclusive stakeholders’ conference in Blantyre but both sides walked out unsatisfied forcing Mutharika to form a five-member technical team to engage Pac on the report.

But since the issue of dialogue team came in, government and the quasi-religious body have been exchanging blame game that has resulted in no dialogue meetings between the two parties.

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Pac Spokesperson, Father Peter Mulomole, said the meeting which will, tentatively, take place towards the end of September was already on the quasi-religious body’s plan of action.

“It is not even that we are just thinking of convening a conference but we have that conference on our schedule. This conference is part of the resolutions that we presented to the President.

“It is a follow-up conference. We already planned to update the stakeholders on what has happened between February, when we met them, up to the time we will be meeting them,” Mulomole said.

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He said the Pac board members were meeting yesterday to prepare for the same conference.

In an earlier interview, Chancellor College-based political commentator, Boniface Dulani, described the action between the government and Pac as zero-sum-game.

A zero-sum-game is a game in which the total of all the gains and losses is zero.

Dulani said the behaviour between Pac and government is common in the country where the actors believe in approaching issues confrontationally.

“This is not only between Pac and the government. Even the opposition and the ruling party practise this kind of approach which we call zero-sum-game. That is, the kind of approach in which one says if you have this,  then I cannot have it. You could clearly see from the meeting that the President had with Pac in Lilongwe, that it was really a kind of confrontational approach.

“It is that kind of politics that lacks compromise and under those circumstances, it is difficult for a group of people to reach a consensus even if it means two people. On one hand, we have Pac accusing government of lacking seriousness and on the other hand, we have government coming in with claims that it is too busy for a meeting with Pac,” Dulani said.

He said it is surprising that the government wants to throw its weight around and think Pac can be waiting for it instead of pushing for its own agenda.

Two weeks ago, government Spokesperson, Patricia Kaliati, released a statement which accused Pac of trapping itself in the cage of unrealistic deadlines in handling matters of national importance.

That time Mulomole said Pac was surprised that the government continues telling the nation that Pac withdrew from the dialogue.

Mulomole also said Pac feels the government thought being involved in dialogue was not important enough compared to other government issues, so what the committee did was to report to the public that it would continue with its activities.

“How can they say we withdrew from the dialogue when we did not even do any dialogue? We have had one meeting which was just a preparatory meeting and not dialogue. We submitted the report to the President and we have done our part. Now it is up to the President and his government to see whether what we submitted makes sense or not and whether they can take it or leave it. So, it is not like we haven’t done what we were supposed to do,” Mulomole said.

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