Also, while he was seated on the judgment bench, his wife sent him a message, saying, Have nothing to do with that just and upright Man, for I have had a painful experience today in a dream because of Him. – Matthew 27:19 9 (AMPC)

 

When the eight Malawi Catholic Bishops presented their Pastoral Letter during masses throughout the country, barely two days after their audience with former Malawi Life President Dr. H. Kamuzu Banda, numerous officials, political, governing and even private and non-government sectors brought out their megaphones to condemn and denounce the errant bishops. Some went to the extent of breaking their rosaries at political rallies where Kamuzu was present.

Many people expressed their dismay at the Bishops because they had been to Sanjika Palace with the President, where they could have aired the grievances the made in the Pastoral Letter. Other analysists could not make out why the Letter was read in all Catholic churches in Malawi and saw it as part of regime change strategies.

The bishops were harassed and hurled with all manner of insults from stewards that rallied behind Kamuzu.

This was in the one-party era of Malawi.

This was followed by Malawi Congress Party (MCP) relics in the run up to the Referendum vote waxing lyrical, outdoing themselves in front of Kamuzu, and denouncing the bishops and other political advocates of multi-party.

In these past times, mayors of the city of Blantyre and Lilongwe, are on record to have refused political rallies of opposition groups such as the United Democratic Front, the AFORD and others.

In real desperate times, some members of the political groups that later became political parties, tasted a few days behind prison doors.

This was in the one-party era of Malawi.

The situation changed. Or so, we believe. Malawi ushered in multi-party system of government; voted for a new State President and a new era dawned in Malawi, free of the political harassment they faced during the Malawi Congress Party rule under Kamuzu Banda.

To cement the sweet-smelling aroma of multi-party-ism, Malawians converged at the Capital Hotel and crafted a democratic Constitution (1995). This was the constitution of the people by the people for the people. Many of us were members of distinguished delegates; and we spoke up and out on how we desired our elected officials to do, division of labor in elected offices, and erected Constitutionally-based offices such as the Office of the Ombudzman, Malawi Electoral Commission, among others. Recently the Registrar of Political Parties has joined the throng of governing agencies in the Malawi multi-party era.

These government agencies, mandated with serving the people and interests of the smooth running of the affairs of the country in a free and fair manner.

This was in the multi-party era of Malawi.

It is alarming, distressing and disgusting that the Registrar of Political Parties has behaved in all manner and form that is neither free, nor fair. This governing agency, that oversees the registering of political parties in the country is a job that seeks that the agency will keep away, for example a group of Chinese or Azerbaijani’s getting 100 signatures made up of Zambians, Ghanaians and others, and forming a political party in Malawi. It does not exist to prevent legal Malawi citizens to register their political grouping.

The right to form and belong to an association (including political groups or parties) is guaranteed by the Malawi Constitution (2017), under Chapter IV and caption Freedom of association Section 32.1 states that “Every person shall have the right to freedom of association, which shall include the freedom to form associations.”

However, in democratic Malawi this constitutionally-constituted agency, also known as the Registrar of Political Parties, has endeavored to prevent political parties that are deemed as threatening the governing political party of the President from registering. Such politicking was done in 2011 when the Registrar of Political Parties attempted to prevent former Vice President Joyce Banda to register the People’s Party.

This past week, a similar attempt was made, when the Registrar of Political Parties danced around the Malawi political landscape, flexed its muscles, and caused the United Transformation Movement of Vice President Saulos Chilima make a dash to the High Court to get a second and, analysts call, sound and sober opinion on the matter.

Of course, His Honor Saulos Chilima and his followers are not from China, Azerbaijan or any other foreign country, but Malawi – the very country the Registrar of Political Parties serves.

This is a stern call to the Registrar of Political Parties, to stop wasting Malawian’s time, money and psychological availabilities on issues of national importance. Every time the Registrar of Political Parties denies an application for registering a political party, causes the said political party to rush to the High Court to get an overturn of the decision.

This stern call also serves to remind the Registrar of Political Parties and others, that they exist to serve all the 18 million+ Malawians; they must not serve the interests of the few people that are in power.

As Malawians, we are tired of constitutional agencies pandering the wishes of the government officials and political party in power. Today, Malawians are free to roam from political rally to another without any fear of recriminations that were there when political party stewards like Charles Kamphulusa or Wadson Deleza, Dumbo Lemani and other party strongmen maneuvered and caused intolerance ad nauseam to reign supreme all over Malawi.

We want a Malawi that is democratic in every way, Malawians of all political persuasions are treated fairly, and the governing agencies respect and treat all Malawians in the same way.

Long live genuine democracy!

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