The advent of multiparty democracy about 20 years ago brought new challenges like finding ways of sustaining democracy to avoid backsliding into the system which was rejected in the 1993 referendum. None one will be a winner if we go back to the system which served its purpose in the past.
The provisions of the bill of rights and the offices like the Anti-Corruption Bureau, Ombudsman, Malawi Human Rights Commission in our constitution was meant to promote the rule of law and good governance. It is therefore not reassuring when at times we hear of under funding or mere usurping of the powers that these bodies ought to have to ensure democracy thrives. There have been cases when the people who are supposed to run these institutions are either not replaced or dismissed without following appropriate procedures which in turn attract donor funding and in the process rendering these crucial agencies inoperative and grossly under-utilised by the citizens.
We should definitely know the value that these constitutional bodies play in growing our democracy .It is therefore disheartening that we have to be reminded by our development partners to respect these agencies by ensuring the officers who run them do their job. It is commendable that once in a while they jog us into action when we seem to be ignoring our laws. The story that these agencies – Anti-Corruption Bureau, the Ombudsman and Malawi Human Rights Commission have not been allowed to run independently as required by our constitution. Arguments have been floated that some of the provisions in the Acts that created these bodies have flaws which need amendments for them to attain true independence sadly we don’t seem to be in a hurry to effect these amendments, in the process we have allowed them to not just slacken but even fail to serve us better.
We wish to agree with the sentiments from a representative of one o f our development partners which seems tells us not to relax if we want to advance our democracy. Relaxing should read as denying these bodies resources and ignoring their recommendations on various governance and human rights issues. It is less easy to destroy what we have built than to set a new one. These agencies should truly be vigilant but they need support to fulfill their mandates.