Of late, we witnessed an ultimate form of insolence. We saw the values of this nation degenerated over political interests. The police were shaken up, reshuffled, officers thrown around as easy as shooting pool. The army received its own beating when, notably, General Francis Nundwe was thrown out of the way.
The bills duly debated by Parliament were tossed. The recommendations of the Public Appointments Committee (PAC) of Parliament on MEC commissioners, you would think those would be respected, right? There was a hearing, yes? The nation followed and celebrated those findings, true? Well, those too were tossed out of the window like wasted bread and mocked as laughable.
President Peter Mutharika was a demi-god pushing pieces around as if positioning a squad in readiness for war. The nation absorbed this with shock but shifted quickly towards a familiar recognition of abuse.
This is because for some reason, the nation has made peace with the fact that the ruling class will always choose its comfort over the wishes of the Malawian people and the sense of right.
This defeat to our democracy is repetitive and fostered by a weakened accountability regime. The sustenance of this status quo is an insult to our democracy.
The genius of democracy is grounded on the hypothesis that the subjects of a rule are the ultimate power holders. The intentions of democracy are human centric, the focus is that of adherence of the desires of its people and furthering their daily aspirations. It is a notable arrangement upheld by transnational influences and domestic advocacy.
The Constitution of Malawi acknowledged this and raises the adherence to
the desires of the nation to the level of a fundamental principle to guide the conduct of legal and political authority. In basic terms, what the people desire is the holding up of our governance system.
This is for the purposes of serving the interests of
Malawians as the legitimate power holders. A functional democracy should put the general interest of the people as the true north of every decision taken.
The failure to do the same is to defeat the core function of democracy. The decision to turn down the
three bills that Parliament passed at the behest of the court decision is a total disintegration of the law.
This should not be seen as the peak of this abuse. It should be seen as a systemic disposal of democratic value that has only manifested in this time of abundant tension. The attention to this has been drawn because the country is at crossroads, the neglect and side-stepping of the Malawian people in the making of law has been a common practice in this country.
Most controversial bills are not circulated effectively to the public. The public is assumed to be distant and undeserving to provide input in the laws that guide them. The secrecy with which a drafted bill is carried as it comes from the Ministry of Justice to Parliament is strange.
In the world of technology, you would assume such bills be sent on soft copy to the nation but more often than not, they are printed and made available only to the members of Parliament (MPs). And, somehow, the citizens are left in the cold.
You would remember that Billy Kaunda, Kamlepo Kalua and other MPs were bashed by their own constituents in the last parliamentary sitting for opting for an unpopular bill. This is a revelation that there is a clear lack of consultation and attempt to examine the intention of constituents.
Our democracy is a participatory democracy that can only be ascertained and realised through deliberate and focused efforts to create a space for the participation of its people. Otherwise, as it stands today, the participation of people in matters that affect them is subtle and at times negligible. The Malawian people negotiate for an entitlement that is already given to them by the law.