By Nenenji Mlangeni
LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-May 21 this year, Malawians are again given power to make right decision for the next five years; choosing a curse again for social-economic-ills or blessings for total foundation of transformation.
Malawi now needs insightful leadership that takes tough decisions to serve the interests of local citizenry not a few selected individuals or particular family leaving the rest grappling with urgent poverty.
The nation has the resources at hand to uplift peoples lives in all aspects; health, education, infrastructure, road networks, tourism, agriculture and food security but this is not possible without insightful leadership.
Proper governance policy direction propels insightful leadership that spare any one when come conflict with the law especially of public theft, corruption, fraud among others.
Now, All major political parties contesting in the May 21 polls; UTM Party, Malawi Congress Party (MCP), Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and United Democratic Front (UDF) have made their Manifestos to the public that needs scrutiny.
Looking closely into the Manifestos apart from UTM Party governance issue is being lab-stamped particularly on the presidency office powers when embroiled with corruption, fraud.
Most public resources Malawi has lost is through corrupt leadership that connive with the enemies of the state.
This has been witnessed through “state capture” where powerful business tycoons making fraudulent deals thereby hard earned-taxes end up into a few individuals pockets.
DPP led government
Malawi has high levels of corruption. Under the 2018 Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, Malawi is ranked 120th out of 175 countries, a worsening position compared to number 112th in 2015.
Corruption is one of the major factors affecting economic growth.
A strange union through corruption, of the politician, the public servant and the entrepreneur has developed. State coffers are hemorrhaged to benefit the few in this union.
The local construction industry has been a major conduit of corruption through the plunder of public resources under dubious construction contracts.
So, MCP, UDF, DPP have not clearly stipulate on how will tame their leaders (President office) who might be caught on corruption, fraud among others.
Why is that so? What are they afraid of? The answer is, want to protect their interests, their masters, families and friends not Malawians.
Only, UTM Party Manifesto has told the nation clearly on how it will deal with corrupt leadership.
Here is what the party will do to make sure that the president office not messing up with Malawians resources to their own interests;
UTM shall empower the National Construction Industry Council (‘NCIC’) in the enforcement of the National Construction Industry Act and the Code of Ethics for the construction industry sector.
Secondly, UTM shall support civil society initiatives such as those under the Construction Sector Transparency Initiative (‘CoST’) in working with State enforcement agencies such as the Anti–Corruption Bureau (‘ACB’), the Auditor General and the Office of the Director of Public Procurement by ensuring accountability and transparency in the award of construction contracts and that infrastructure projects, in fact, meet the standards set by the national construction law and policy. In this way,
UTM shall commit to curbing corruption in the public service and the construction industry.
The selective and slow prosecution of high-profile cases and lack of political will to provide meaningful independence of the ACB exacerbate the negative perception of, and actual corruption in the country.
UTM shall ensure that the Office of the Director of the ACB (and the entire institution) is free from political or any other interference.
Malawi must have an independent Bureau to effectively combat corruption. Corruption in the country has also manifested itself in various forms including nepotism, bribery, rent seeking, especially when seeking jobs, contracts and obtaining services from public institutions.
This has, in turn, reduced efficiency, increased costs, discouraged development and, hence, reduced economic growth and development for the country.
UTM recognises that the status quo worsened post–1994 during the first post– one party State Administration.
A robust public service must be based on the following ideals: Hierarchy, Merit, Continuity and Team Work. UTM shall restore these ideals in our quest to eradicate corruption in this country.
UTM is committed to an open, accountable, transparent and corrupt free government and State.
UTM shall do the following to curb 2019 Manifesto 21 corruption, impunity and nepotism in the country–
(a) Amend section 91(2) of the Constitution to remove the immunity of the President from criminal prosecution while in office;
(b) All public officers, including the President, and all public institutions shall account for all public moneys and other resources in accordance with public finance management and other applicable laws;
(c) Review the composition of the Public Service Commission to ensure that it is robust, independent and free from political or any other interference so that the Commission confirms an appointment of a Director of the ACB through a public interview and confirms the removal of the Director following the rules of natural justice;
(d) Re–open the debate on the financial and operational independence of the ACB;
(e) Strictly apply the Corrupt Practices Act and other related laws;
(f) Give a 30–day amnesty that shall be declared for the restitution of proceeds of crimes;
(g) Strictly apply protection orders and forfeiture orders under the Financial Crimes Act;
(h) Operationalise the Access to Information Act by bringing the Act into force; (i) Maintain partnerships with regional and international anti–corruption agencies in the fight against corruption;
(j) Review the anti–corruption law to provide robust protection of, and provide incentives to, whistleblowers;
(k) Establish a standardised mechanism for merit–based recruitment and promotion in the public service and public offices in order to end cronyism and nepotism;
(l) Establish a transparent and publicly auditable public procurement system;
(m) Embark on transparency in provision of services, as well as focusing on automating systems in the public service.
(n) Engage the Judiciary to explore the possibility of specialised and expedited trials of pending and new criminal cases of corruption;
(o) Provide timely and adequate funding to the ACB; and
(p) Encourage individual lifestyle audits, which shall be guided by the due process of the law.
UTM shall ensure that Malawi is among the 50 least corrupt countries in the world and ten least corrupt countries in Africa under Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index
Looking into above stipulated governance policy direction UTM outclassed the rest of political parties hence the nation support.
Malawi is in a state of flux. Our country was among the first cohort of countries in Africa to gain independence from colonial rule.
The promise of progress we had at independence has swiftly dissipated. We have been independent for a little over five decades.
We have never experienced civil war or other debilitating national conflict. Yet, the country is engulfed in a dire socio– economic status quo.
A status quo that is affecting every woman and girl, man and boy from all walks of life. Malawi is, according to several respectable indices, the poorest country in the world.
This is unacceptable. Low GDP estimates reflect increasing poverty, closing of business enterprises, job losses and unemployment.
Together with poor management of the economy and the country, the low economic growth has led to sub–standard social service delivery to the people of this country in such areas as health and education, to mention a few.
This status quo abounds amidst a culture of getting rich by a few at the expense of the majority, through corruption, nepotism, and outright theft of public resources.
Malawi continues to experience entrenched and institutionalised corruption at all levels of our society; deepening poverty; and persistent hunger and starvation for the masses.
It is time for a paradigm shift in the administration and management of Malawi.
“We, at UTM, present to you our Manifesto which is premised on three main pillars: Anti–Corruption Drive; Economic Transformation; and Governance Transformation.
“We have complemented the three pillars with a ‘mindset change’ philosophy. We have called this philosophy the ‘Tsogolo Lathu’ Culture,” concludes 2019 UTM Party Manifesto to the nation.