Pac worried with government delays on action to implement issues
The government’s delay in implementing 19 points that the Public Affairs Committee (Pac) made President Peter Mutharika to affirm is worrying the quasi-religious organisation.
Pac Executive Director, Robert Phiri, said while his organisation was assured that the government was examining some of the points, the deadline for some of the issues has passed.
“PAC continues to monitor what the DPP government is doing in line with the 19 issues. In November, 2014 we followed up with the President on issues of the establishment of a permanent planning commission, electoral reforms and constitutional review among others.
“We are aware that the government has already started examining the issue of constitutional review. There is a certain level of progress on the issues we raised but it is slow, not the way we anticipated,” he said.
In the run up to the 2014 Tripartite elections, Pac met 12 presidential candidates to impress upon them to adopt 19 key issues if they would be elected into office.
Among the points were the review of Section 65 of the Constitution which has stirred controversy over the years, calls for the return of the repealed Section 64 (recall provision) the unshackling of Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) and Malawi Communication Regulatory Authority (Macra) from the whims of the executive arm of government.
Also the formation of a permanent planning commission backed by the Constitution within six months from the day of assuming office featured prominently.
So far, Pac and the government side have met thrice to discuss the progress on the issues with Pac chairperson, Reverend Felix Chingota, appealling to President Mutharika in March to take action on other emerging issues which included debate over the relevance of the DPP/UDF coalition and federalism.
Chingota, in one of the meetings held in February, 2015, told Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe that the country is lagging behind in terms of development due to lack of strategic direction.
“We realise that Malawi has seen several policy developments over the past years but most of these have not effectively operated for lack of mechanisms to insulate them against constant changes.
“Each leadership has proposed new policies while some good existing policy reforms remain in shelves of different sectors. This has led to politicisation of developmental initiatives which if they had been insulated against partisan politics , Malawi should have benefitted,” said Chingota.
Government dissolved the High Level Development Council (HLDC) which was set up by former President Joyce Banda.
Information Minister, Kondwani Nankhumwa, said all the issues highlighted by Pac were being considered at the highest level but said he had to liase with appropriate authorities for a comprehensive response.
“As for the issue of MBC as government, we have embarked on a mission to review the Communications Act. We believe this is key to solving this problem because that will go beyond political will in as far as freeing MBC is concerned. With a conducive legal framework, MBC will always work independently,” he said.
Nankhumwa added that there is movement in the process of passing the Access to Information Bill as the Ministry of Justice has handed the bill back to his ministry with comments before it goes to the next stage.
Pac generated the 19 points through its All-Inclusive conferences that it conducted between 2013 and 2014.
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