- Govt hits at PAC for inserting resignation call in written report
Government has trashed the Public Affairs Committee’s (PAC) recommendation that President Peter Mutharika’s administration should resign within 90 days if it fails to solve the social and economic problems currently besetting the country.
But Minister of Information Patricia Kaliati yesterday questioned PAC’s motive in including the recommendation in the written report to the President.
While PAC had skipped the recommendation in its oral presentation during a televised meeting with the President held at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe on Thursday, the quasi-religious body’s text carries the resignation call.
The development also comes on the backdrop of indications that PAC was removing the call for Mutharika’s departure as recommended by some delegates at its all-inclusive conference held in Blantyre in February this year.
Thursday’s two-hour meeting only focused on 19 actionable points espousing legislative and policy reforms aimed at revitalising the economy and the governance sector.
But according to a report directly addressing President Mutharika titled: ‘Defining solutions to economic and political direction of Malawi’ whose copy Nation on Sunday has seen, PAC has inserted the call for among the political governance recommendations of the conference.
“Government should resign in 30 or 90 days as it has admitted that it has failed Malawians and does not know what to do,” reads part of the report.
But Kaliati hit at PAC for inserting the recommendation in the final text to the President.
“They had ample time during the meeting to raise this. Nothing of that sort was raised; ask them why they didn’t bring it up. They might be having a hidden agenda. Why present the matter when during discussions it was not raised, we have even reached an agreement on working technical committees,” said Kaliati.
She quashed any hopes that government would respond to the recommendation, calling the whole matter ‘water under the bridge’.
“The pertinent issues are the issues which they raised directly with the President. We gave them a chance to come and engage us because we respect PAC. With all due respect to PAC, because these are our faith leaders, we will not accept and even discuss any other issue now apart from the ones which PAC itself deemed important to raise with the President,” said Kaliati.
In the report, PAC says both the recommendations and actionable plans are views of the public.
“As a country let us not continue to wait till the system collapses politically and economically then we start acting on these observations. Let us act now in order to prevent violent conflict in our country,” reads part of the report.
PAC says Malawians are struggling in villages and poverty has become “a permanent friend to them.”
In an interview yesterday, PAC spokesperson Father Peter Mulomole said while the recommendation has been sent to the President, it depends on him to act or not. He also said the committee has not issued any ultimatum.
“We just conveyed a recommendation on behalf of the delegates. It is not an ultimatum. There is no count-down. Just as in all recommendations, we hope the government will consider taking action, but what action it takes depends on government,” said Mulomole, adding that PAC delegates will determine the way forward on the matter.
PAC executive director Robert Phiri confirmed sending the recommendations that included calls for the President to resign “because the conference agreed that no recommendation should be removed”.
Phiri said the body expects the President to respond to all the recommendations and said PAC will meet again shortly to discuss the way forward following Mutharika’s response to the 19 points presented to State House on Thursday.
The report also includes several other contentious issues not raised at the Kamuzu Palace meeting.
Among them, there is a proposal for introduction of rotational presidency to give each region a fair chance of the presidency, the turning of Zomba State House and Mudi in Lilongwe into health facilities to cut on unnecessary State House expenditures while expanding healthcare.
PAC further wants security arrangements of the president to be reviewed when he travels locally to stop police officers lining up across the roads, describing it as too costly.
PAC also wants government to re-engage donors to resume aid too and calls for adoption of electronic voting to improve credibility of electoral results.n