Malawi short of leaders – PAC


The two-day Public Affairs Committee (Pac) all-inclusive conference ended on Wednesday in Blantyre with an observation that Malawi is in short supply of leaders who can transform the fortunes of the country.

This is one of the issues in the communiqué which among other things outlines twenty-three observations in terms of the country’s political assessment.

Informed, among others, by presentations from Chancellor College academicians, political expert Blessings Chinsinga and law expert Edge Kanyangolo, the conference noted that the country has what it called “transactional leaders”.

“It was noted that Malawi has a critical challenge in the demand and supply of leadership.

“We have transactional leaders and not transformative leaders. Besides, the country seems not to have a vision,” reads an observation on the political situation.

The communiqué makes a political assessment in Malawi based on a presentation by Chinsinga titled ‘Malawi’s Contemporary Political Landscape: Marching on or moving in cycles’ and Kanyongolo’s presentation titled,’Constitutionalism beyond 2012?.

Pac observed that Malawi’s current leaders are engaged in “political harlotry” and that state institutions in Malawi seem to have been captured by the executive arm of government.

As a result they have lost autonomy and impartiality in the discharge of their duties.

“It was noted that political harlotry by the politicians has eroded the confidence of the citizens in the leadership and this has, consequently, disenfranchised the would-be new comers into the political arena,” reads another observation.

Pac noted that Parliament is critical to constitutionalism in Malawi because of its authority to define legal limits of power through legislation and enforcing accountability.

It is important, therefore, that Parliament acts within the law, reads the communiqué.

“It was observed that the repealing of Section 64 of the Constitution in 1995 has caused a Constitutional gap in the accountability mechanisms to check the effectiveness of the Members of Parliament,” it reads in part.

Pac called on government to respect the autonomy of the state institutions.

The delegates also agreed to restore Section 64 to the Republican Constitution with safeguards for recall and procedures as well as restricting the power of the President to prorogue Parliament.

Delegates also recommended that the doubling of MPs as cabinet ministers should end, observing that this creates a serious conflict of interest in the discharge of their duties.

On the economic front, the conference proposed a Permanent National Planning Commission as a matter of urgency.

The commission would steer the economic vision of the country which “must be insulated against any political influence”.

The resolution followed a presentation by economist Matthews Chikaonda who made a number of recommendations to help in recovering Malawi’s ailing economy.

In his presentation, Chikaonda said for exchange rate reforms not to be economically and socially disruptive, there was need for some foreign exchange reserves.

“The foreign exchange reserves would be essential to meet the need for strategic fuel supplies, social support package and outstanding arrears on foreign bills,” said Chikaonda.

According to the communiqué, the current economic challenges are historical and a problem with national mindset.

“We do not have a national think tank that will prepare a shared economic road map and insulate it from political disturbance,” the communiqué states.

The two-day conference ran on the theme, “Time to Restore Democratic and Economic Governance”

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