Written by PATRICK MWANZA
If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride but don’t make the mistake of thinking that our members of parliament are as destitute as beggars who can’t have what they want as the idiomatic expression suggests. Our MPs aren’t needy. It’s the people they serve who are in need of all the help they can get to move ahead in life. That help of course isn’t in monetary terms but in the form of what government can put in place for people to realize their potential.
But our spoilt members of parliament are at it again, resurrecting a four-year old issue. Yes, you heard right, they’re spoilt MPs some of whom are lucky to be in their current lucrative positions. Many of these lawmakers don’t qualify to be leaders but they made it to parliament anyway. Not satisfied with what they make, they want more. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong in seeking better remuneration for your work; that’s natural and it should be expected, all things being equal.
What’s surprising however is a lack of common sense. These MPs should be the first to know how the Malawi economy got to where it is today. As Pres. Joyce Banda has pointed out – she had to as some of them just don’t get it – they helped to mercilessly beat up the economy which they left in ruins.
The demands the MPs are making today were rejected by Pres. Banda’s predecessor, the late Bingu wa Mutharika, who rightly argued that the government couldn’t afford it. The mess left by Mutharika after his death last April has to be cleaned up by someone else and that someone is Banda. There’s no attempt here to say that she’s made all the right moves since she assumed power as her government still acts in ways that make one wonder where its head is.
Still, the MPs have no moral justification for wanting to milk the cow to death. Pres. Banda said at a public rally she wasn’t going to fall for the awkward antics of the lawmakers who responded by threatening to boycott business in the House.
Edge Kanyongolo, a top public intellectual from the University of Malawi, said Banda was wrong for speaking in such a way.
Senior Comrade Kanyongolo and others who hold that view, they're way off base on this one. When reason fails to convince the MPs who really are trying their best to reap where they didn’t plant, the president has every reason to take the case to the court of public opinion and build up enough public pressure on the spoilt lawmakers.
While Banda’s numbers are weak in parliament which could affect passage of legislation, nobody but the president has the bully pulpit. This is the stuff good politicians live for. The next election will be held in April 2014 and the president needs to speak directly to the people to put the fear of God into the MPs whose bark is worse than their bite. Without a doubt, the people are with the president on this one and she must relentlessly pound her message away. She’s right and they’re wrong.
For showing some backbone against the bullies, kudos to the president.
The author who is MaraPost's editor wrote in his own capacity