Not long ago our current leader ‘ascended the throne’ after the death of the then President, Professor Bingu wa Munthalika. We all witnessed the smooth and constitutional transition of powers. The (current) president waited and wished that the Costitution be followed. Thank God, not only some ministers from the ruling party of that time(DPP) but also the Army supported her. No doubt the Malawians showed a good example to the world by following the constitution.
I have to, personally, admit that the current government is doing a commendable job of recovering our once tattered economy. The president is, no doubt, big-hearted and very merciful. She is in most dimensions, better than the previous big guys.
However, what boggles my mind is that our constitutionally elevated top boss is trying to select and decide for us which law should or should not be followed. Section 65 is one such good example. The president and her VP are encouraging the Members of Parliament (MPs) to systematically disregard section 65 and focuss on budget. They additionally claim that they don’t have money to use during the by-elections if the seats of the MPs who have allegedly crossed the floor were to be declared vacant. Funny indeed, you would think like the money comes from their pockets.
A pretty good number of people have suggested that those who want section 65 invoked do not wish Malawians any good. Others have unreservedly termed the idea of bringing this section into real action as double-standards. Their evidence is none other than the failure of the previous governments to implement the law.
Actually, I feel like all of the above mentioned lamentations have got some bits of truth, but unfortunately, contain a great deal of hypocrisy. The Constitution unambiguously declares that if a Member of parliament enters parliament through a political party he/she can not leave the political party he or she represents in parliament to join another party.
As a Malawian citizen, I have a strange feeling that makes me think that both the opposition and the government are literally being hypocritical by following the Constitution only when it becomes clear to them that by respecting it will build and strengthen their political parties-otherwise they choose not to follow it. This political saga has absolutely nothing to do with the interests of the ordinary voters.
Those who say that this section should not be brought to its true form, I say to them that, it is not logical at all to commit a sin let alone encourage it just because some crazy dudes before them committed and enjoyed the same sin.
As for those hiding under the cocoon of patriotism and shamelessly squeal through the loudspeakers while telling the poor citizens that the priority is only to focus on budget but not the constitution, I also say to them; had it been that the constitution was not our priority in our country, then we wouldn’t have a president by the name Joyce Banda. In other words the ascendance of our new leader into power is the product of the prioritising process of the Malawi Constitution.
Would you believe it, if during the early days of our receiving of news about the president Prof. Bingu wa Munthalika’s death, someone had to start preaching to people about not making the Constitution our priority but instead, to only mourn the fallen leader for, let’s say, a month? What kind of reaction do you think he/she could have received? I am not talking about that abortive plan that made some few hot headed duffers end up being ‘officially’ graded dimwits-No! I am talking about a clear cut challenge against the law itself.
Anyway, the point is, people should know that making the process of following the Constitution as a priority does not by any means mean no budget discussion in parliament. No country runs properly without the budget.
Implementing section 65 will help balance the kind of multi-party system that we all have been crying for. We want a house full of well-balanced representatives, I mean the representatives who can challenge the government and positively come up with constructive suggestions when it (the government) does wrong.
Can you imagine the credibility of any players who habitually change teams based on whose side controls the ball during the game?
Of all the folks, the president should be the first to understand that respecting the Constitution brings an orderly and successful governance.
My appeal to both the opposition and the government is very loud and clear; do not try to force us choose one of the two issues (section 65 or budget). It’s a must for you to follow the Constitution and at the same time it’s, without any doubt, your job too to discuss the budget constructively. So just bite the bullet and do you job.
By: Abdul Aziz Kaisi, Malawi Muslims Official Website News Analyst
***Views expressed in this article are solely for the author and does not necessary reflect to the views of this website.***