The shambolic and incompetent manner in which our parliamentarians have approached their responsibility to represent the interests of Malawians in serious matters demonstrates a parliament more mindful of where its next “Mbewa” and “Zitete” (Zicheche my foot!) will come from and not the interests of Malawians as such. Perhaps it is already time to declare that this is a parliament unfit to represent Malawians, and a parliament that Malawians do not want and must get rid of in the coming elections.Parliamentarians need always to remember that they hold their positions in trust on behalf of the people, and that it is the interests of the people of Malawi that should be their prime and supreme concern. They are not in parliament to fill their own bellies of to complete their heretofore-unfinished house projects
When the people of Malawi are concerned with the leadership of the country, the activities of their president and the ruling party, the MK577 billion Cashgateand the killings of people with albinism, for instance, they look to their parliamentary representatives to provide the needed leadership or at least have the balls and the mettle to do the necessary and the needful.
Before members of parliaments start boycotting sittings and prioritising their salaries, remunerations and emoluments, they must first demonstrate their commitment to duty by bringing to account the people that matter, and ask questions that unravel the issue and explain the mysteries. There should not be a need for a fellow parliamentarian to march naked in the streets in order to bring to their attention a national concern of grave importance.
Sadly, Malawi is country that still desperately needs all the help it can get to ensure that voters who elect these leaders are not susceptible to manipulation due to poverty of the mind, of the tummy and of the pocket!
Malawi is currently ranked among the top ten poorest countries in the world. About 55 percent of the population lives below the poverty line of less than a $1 a day.
There are many economic indicators and statistics thatexpose Malawi as an awfully vulnerable country being overcome by extreme poverty.
These conditions clearly affect the selection of leaders, whether for parliamentary representation, or for the executive leadership itself, that can change the status quo for the better in Malawi. A population that is largely formed by uneducated, less empowered and less independent households remain highly susceptible to manipulation.
This is what makes the electoral process in Malawi one of the most corruption-littered activities. Leaders are voted into office less for their ideas and policies but more for how much they offer materially to the voters.
Considering the fact that the largest voting block in Malawi is made of the vulnerable, the likelihood of having wrong leaders in office, who just buy their way, is beyond any level of doubt.
Additionally, virtually all political parties in the country are still struggling to entrench intra-party democracy. Decisions follow a top-bottom approach and supporters are not the key stakeholders of the parties, but largely merely hand clappers and cheer-troupes! In Malawi, politics follows a football fanatic mentality, where support is supposed to be guaranteed, unwavering and aggressive regardless of whether one’s team is winning or losing, playing well or just utterly hopeless.
And because many parties are still suffering from the founder or funder syndrome, where the leader who founds or funds the party is seen as almost omniscient, subtle dictatorships are entrenched with the leader imposing his preferences and choices on the people.
It is tragic that this is the mentality that is filtering through from the executive side of government to parliament. The greed that we are accustomed to seeing in the executive has found its way to the people’s elected representatives, and self-centeredness has taken over. Parliamentarians are putting self-enrichment before the people, demanding that salaries and money for their pockets be the first priorities of debate in the house.
At a time when the country is desperately in need of true leadership to captain the country through severe economic storm and tempest, the people are looking to president Mutharika and the executive, and finding only Cashgate and self-centred spending, failure of legitimate prioritisation and a leader that is nothing but a party puppet. When they turn to parliament hoping that perhaps will provide the desperately missing leadership, they find only parliamentarians too intimidated to take a stand on bringing the presidency and the executive to account, too self-serving to have any real principles on important social issues, and too greedy to conduct place national interests before self-enrichment.
If ever there was a time for true patriots to make a stand and claim a stake in providing true leadership for this nation, that time is now. If that kind of transformational leader stands up, I will stand with him or her. Make no mistake about it!