Honourable Folks, MP Alfred Mwechumu (UDF) probably spoke for many of us when he described DPP opportunists who are pledging their support to President Joyce Bandaâ€™s government as being â€œworse than thieves, looters and liarsâ€.
A good intention may look as mere posturing if done without regard to the sensitivities of the time. DPP cadres were ready to kill for President Mutharika, now that he has passed on, the least they can do is pretend they are grieving until after his burial.
But those advising the President to keep such people at armâ€™s length for fear they will mess up her government as they did Mutharikaâ€™s are also being naive.
Most of those pledging support to Madam Banda are MPs who have a power base in Parliament where the Presidentâ€™s Peopleâ€™s Party (PP) doesnâ€™t. People claim PP has three MPs now that Khumbo Kachali has been appointed Vice-President.
It is the kind of thinking that disregards the letter and spirit of Section 65 of the Constitution. Unless those MPs were fired from DPP, they can only belong to PP if they first resign and win again on PP ticket. Otherwise, we are encouraging our new President to start flouting our own laws.
Those telling the President to ignore the MPs who are pledging to work with her government should, therefore, consider how government bills would pass in Parliament should she heed their advice.
My take is that Madam Banda should borrow a leaf from the great son of Africa, Nelson Mandela. He suffered terribly and was incarcerated for 27 years for fighting apartheid but when he became president of South Africa, he did not send his enemies to drown in the ocean.
Instead, he included them in his government and his pragmatism made for a rock-solid foundation for the process of unifying the people of South Africa.
I suggest Madam Banda should form an inclusive government which does not preclude DPP, MCP and UDF cadres despite that all these parties failed us in the past. Some have suggested the inclusion of technocrats while others are suggesting the Cabinet should not exceed 20.
True, the Cabinet should be lean but without compromising the interest of unifying our divided nation. We need unity so each one of us can pitch in and play a part in the development of our motherland. They call it pulling in the same direction.
The President also needs unity so DPP or any other party represented in Parliament does not play the bad loser and use its MPs to frustrate crucial government business.
Malawians and our development partners expect a reversal of DPP policies and bad laws. There are also some folks who may have taken advantage of their proximity to President Mutharika to indulge in fraud and corruption.
We expect that Madam Bandaâ€™s government will fish them out and let the law take its course. Of course, while dealing with historical corruption, we shall expect that she will also not shield anyone in her government who may try to reap where they did not sow.
Such a daunting task becomes easier in an atmosphere where trust reigns and acrimony is in the decline. Simply put, for the next two years when DPP, MCP and UDF are the parties in Parliament, Madam Banda can best serve the interest of democracy and development through an inclusive government.
It is good that MPs who were not elected on PP ticket are pledging to support Madam Bandaâ€™s government. Letâ€™s hope this does not mean blind support to the government of the day.
Madam Banda can best be assisted if Parliament does what it is supposed to doâ€”provide checks and balances to the other arms of government and pass bills after thorough scrutiny to ensure they are not only beneficial to Malawians but are also in tandem with the Constitution.
DPP MPs should admit they failed Mutharika and helped destroy his legacy by giving him blind support. Now we have to start mending our strained bilateral relations with donors and neighbours and start all over again to fix our economy which was growing at over 6 percent for five or six years that preceded the zero-deficit budget.
I can only bet that for these blunders, some of them could have been recalled had it not been for the repealing of the Recall Provision in the Constitution. Now is the time to help the President by telling her the truth and serving the interests of the electorate.