The presidency is an institution, the president is a person, PAC is an institution, while office bearers are people.
Opposition parties are institutions while opposition leaders, are people. State is an institution while government is people.
Constitution is a booklet while the contents are laws of a country.
Parliament is an institution, yet members or deputies are human beings.
If we are not careful to know how to differentiate the titles above, Malawi has a long way to go before she leaves walking in the bush and walk on the street.
The constitution never lies or cheats, but the holder or the person mandated to uphold, defend, and preserve can cheat and lie. The presidency is an institution of leading the nation, but the president can mislead the people and the nation.
Parliament is a house of laws where adoptions, enactments, amendments, and introductions of laws, can be made; but members of parliament can break or half bake laws, including make bad laws.
Just as the president can mislead, opposition leaders can never be saints, they too can oppose misleadingly.
My case today, and I believe is also the case of the entire revolution I’m touching on, is the just concluded PAC conference at Mount Soche hotel in Blantyre.
The weakness of an institution, cannot make a leader or representative strong. In this case, the weakness of PAC will not make Peter Mutharika to change or become a good leader.
Malawi is in a mess, because of the weakness of its institutions and structures. It seems like we are running a jungle nation, mostly because our institutional structures are weak if not completely dead.
Examples are listed but a few; Peter Mutharika being a president with a booklet of the constitution, can bypass the set rules of the book by inserting his own rules. In an instant, where the commoner was caught unawares conducting customary rituals in Lower Shire, Peter Mutharika quickly read the booklet and found powers that he could give a directive that Eric Aniva, be arrested and face jail sentence. On the same note, the justice system, with over 12 volumes of laws, failed to protect the commoner because Peter Mutharika, not the presidency, had directed so.
On the other side of the similar coin, a friend and close confidante of president Peter Mutharika in his government, George Chaponda, was caught breaking the law by piling up huge amounts of money while rumours went viral across the globe that Chaponda is a corrupt mafia in Malawi, Peter Mutharika did not read the booklet that the presidency is supposed to read, so that he can defend, protect, and preserve; he just decided from a personal view, and left George Chaponda free.
It’s almost two months now that Chaponda feels supernatural, with no law catching up on him, even when the obvious is true.
On the part of the judicial system, it also failed to read its volumes when George Chaponda had broken lines of the the law, because the person in Peter Mutharika is more powerful than the institution called the presidency.
The point I am raising is, if we play politics of personality-cult our country will never see the future of hope. We will keep on lagging behind in everything.
The only way our country can move forward in development and prosperity, is only by strengthening our institutional structures.
If our institutions were strong enough, Eric Aniva could be defended and be free today, because his crime is community- and society-based on traditions and customs that are harmful to be precise. Unfortunately, the commoner is paying the price because the president is so powerful more than the office he holds.
Likewise, the Malawi Police Service, the court’s of Malawi, are failing to exercise their noble duties of arresting George Chaponda, because they are afraid of the president “Peter Mutharika,” not the office of the presidency.
Similarly, PAC cannot be expected to do the inevitable, because individuals in Malawi are more powerful than the offices they hold. Who knows what happens to the members of the clergy when invited in secret to have an audience with the president, not the presidency at Kamuzu Palace or Sanjika Palace?
As the country has been blanketed by the plague of corruption, who knows how much dirty money exchanges hands behind the scenes?
No institution has power to exercise it’s given rules and guidelines, because office holders or bearers are stronger than the offices they are meant to hold.
When a country makes one mistake of allowing a loophole to reign, the whole system falls. Malawi is failing to enjoy and be deeprooted to the culture of democracy and openness that has it’s root on the rule of law, because former president Bakili Muluzi as an individual, failed to adhere to the prerogative of the office of the presidency, to uphold the rule of law on “section 65.”
Twenty-three years later, we are a junk nation not knowing where we are, where we are going, because we fail to realize where and what we went wrong.
The track record of Peter Mutharika and his DPP, does not give confidence that the Malawi we lost unknowingly in 1994, can be re-claimed.
The same will happen even if MCP under Lazarus Chakwera, comes into power. In Malawi we need common people that will fear the set laws, we need innocent people that will fear to commit a crime, we need carefree people that care less about wealth, and riches, but to see infrastructure development wherever they go across the country.
However, this character cannot be found in the academics, intellectuals, and technocrats who want to live a life in America or Britain, while in Malawi.
The events that have happened since 1994, must be our reflecting mirror, to see ourselves and focus on the direction ahead.
Since we cannot trust one another on the way our country can be ruled, taking into mind that we have already tried the most educated, and the less educated, can we not try to strengthen our institutions and all its structures so that the laws of Malawi and all its governing principles, be adhered to and followed, so that if Peter Mutharika goes wrong, the law must say so, if Lazarus Chakwera goes wrong, the same law must do it’s work and so is Eric Aniva?
The day Malawi will start being governed by the rule of law, where the president and Eric Aniva, will all be under the law, our country will be a better place to be.
Corruption will seek refuge somewhere in some parts of Africa, for it will have no space in Malawi.
Let us remember anything faulty we see today, will remain faulty if we cannot stand up and fix it.
I call for an Indaba (Mdipiti) or say national symposium, to look back and diagnose our fault as well as discover where our sickness or problem started.
The views expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the Publisher or the Editor.