Blantyre, Wednesday, May 12, 2021
LET’S PRESERVE OUR HARD EARNED DOMOCRACY BY DEPOLITICISING PUBLIC APPOINTMENTS; A CALL FOR SOBER APPROACH TO ISSUES OF NATIONAL IMPORTANCE!
The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) and indeed all Malawians of good will, have followed the events surrounding the rejection of the Ombudsman Martha Chizuma as the newly appointed Anti- Corruption Bureau (ACB) Director General (DG) by the Public Appointments Committee (PAC) of parliament.
It is worth pointing out right at the onset that CDEDI is a non-partisan organization that represents and speaks on behalf of the voiceless and the marginalized Malawians.
Secondly, CDEDI does not side and support any conduct or actions that pose a threat to the survival of our democracy and interfere with the rule of law.
In the interest of transparency and accountability, CDEDI would like to inform the general public that we already wrote Madam Chimuza on April 30th, 2021, congratulating her for coming out successful in the strenuous interviews and her subsequent approval by the President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera.
In the letter, CDEDI did challenge Chizuma to desist from the tendency of applying the law very selectively, a route that she seemingly took by focusing on the ills of the immediate past ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and those associated with it.
In our congratulatory message, we outlined a number of issues to the fearless Ombudsman, which were waiting for her on her desk as the new ACB Director, which included the unanswered questions surrounding the plunder of the MK6.2 Billion Covid-19 funds; the now forgotten 6th July independence celebrations expenditure report, which Dr. Chakwera promised to make it available to Malawians within a month; the National Oil Company of Malawi (NOCMA) fuel supply scandal; the State House Crossroads Hotel accommodation scandal; the dubious awarding of contracts of unjustifiable huge amounts of money to very suspicious contractors by the current administration; among other issues.
Following the public reactions to the ratings by the PAC, CDEDI has been forced to make the following observations:
1. Some sectors of the society have reacted to Chizuma’s rejection as if it is the first time for PAC to reject someone, by conveniently forgetting that not a long time ago the very same PAC rejected appointment of the Financial Intelligence Unit Director;
2. The attacks and demonizing of PAC and its membership defeats the very same purpose for which it was established and the separation of power notion;
3. It is becoming a trend to demonize statutory committees and constitutional offices when some sectors of the society are not happy with the decisions they have made in relation to their mandate and laws governing them and the republican constitution. This is a breeding ground for dictatorship. The same can be said about President Chakwera who does not want to listen to dissenting views, and is continuously ignoring legal advice from the office of the Attorney General (AG), whenever such advice is not in his favour!
4. Looking at the composition of PAC, it is very clear that Tonse Alliance Government enjoys majority membership thereof, it means both the ruling and the opposition camps are not comfortable with Chizuma. We should, therefore, be afraid as country, because we have a crop of MPs in parliament who are paying lip service on the war against corruption, and that includes the current Tonse Alliance administration;
5. Much as there is politics involved in the issue, PAC members did not break any law since they have used their conscious to rate Chizuma, the very same yardstick they used to measure all other appointees in the past;
That said, CDEDI’s position is that all the insults and backlash on PAC are uncalled for, unwarranted, unjustifiable, and very bad for democracy and should not be condoned at any cost! Let us respect the rule of law by acknowledging the separation of powers. Madam Chizuma is just a victim of deep trenched corruption in the country in both the previous and the Tonse Alliance Administration.
It is our hope that parliament will this time around take time to think about the poor and the marginalised, by considering scrapping off the punitive taxes which have resulted into the high cost of living in the country; the skyrocketing prices of basic commodities and goods such as cooking oil, sugar, fuel, water, and electricity; the unfulfilled Tonse Alliance promises such as the one million jobs for the youth, reduction in passport fees from MK 90, 000 to MK14,000, the MK15,000 monthly allowances promised to the senior citizens aged 65 years and above; etc.
Lastly, but not the least, CDEDI would like to warn Malawians of good will to be vigilant all the time to stand up against all unpopular decisions that have the potential to drag the country back into dictatorship. We should also let all the statutory committees and constitutional offices to discharge their duties without undue pressure and unnecessary influence! Finally, as a nation, we should at all cost desist from emotional appeals when dealing with matters of national importance.
CDEDI EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR