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Public officers should be exemplary

Malawi at 53 years of its independence continues to be engulfed in old habits that are shameful and retrogressive to national development and respect for the rule of law enshrined in the country’s Republican Constitution.

This, to some extent, demonstrates how slow we are in acting on issues of national interest and matters that are enshrined in the Constitution.

For instance, it is sad to note that despite the July 30 deadline for public officers who are mandated by law to declare their assets, only 50 percent of them have done so.

News that over 5,000 of the 10,800 public officers have fulfilled the Republican Constitutional requirement is not good to say the least and reflects badly on good governance and democracy.

Surprisingly, the Office of the Director of Public Officers’ Declarations thinks that public officers will have declared their assets come July 30 2017.

What has to be born in mind is that the law requires that every listed public officer should update a declaration within the first 30 days of the financial year – in case there is an increase or decrease in their assets – which ended in June.

One wonders as to how that will be achieved because the same Office of the Director of Public Officers’ Declarations attributes delays to poor sensitisation campaigns on declaration of assets.

The trends of waiting until the last minute should be condemned because at 53 years of independence, various public officers should have known how important it is to declare assets and consequences that come with it.

To some extent, law makers and the presidency offices should be faulted for sometimes not showing passion to declare their assets within a specified time.

This is why even the current crop of public officers, in question, is dilly-dallying to act having learnt lessons from the ruling class.

What should happen, therefore, once the deadline expires, the office responsible should act quickly on those that have failed to abide by the law.

Malawians are tired of mere rhetoric by the authorities on serious and constitutional matters such as assets declaration.

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