A human rights lawyer and constitutional expert Justine Dzonzi said the issue about MPs agitating for GPF when government is struggling to repay their other loans can be looked at from various levels.
“The normal standard way of regulating that relationship is that the employer provides conditions of service for the work that the employee is going to render and the employer is going to pay ‘x’ to the employee,” he said.
Said Dzonzi: “If the conditions of service say that they are entitled to this and that, then they would be entitled to raise that issue with the employer to honour them following those conditions because they are in the conditions of service that apply to them.”
He said this means if the employer fails to do that, he or she is breaching the conditions of service, and that means you have forgotten the national role that the MPs play.
“But when you put into the equation the fact that the MPs in essence represent the people of Malawi, the Constitution in Section 12, requires that they exercise their powers for the benefit of Malawians, then you begin to realise that they cannot insist on their conditions of service, if by insisting on them, they are not going to represent the best interests of Malawians,” he said.
He said the best interest of people of Malawi is funding in education, health and infrastructure. If government spends that money paying MPs’ arrears and other emoluments, then the same money will not find itself in the hospital where the ordinary person is expected to get drugs.
Under those circumstances then the MPs are under judicious duty to protect the interest of the people of Malawi first and let their personal interests take a second place, because that’s the requirement of trusteeship, said Dzonzi.
He said when you are looking at an MP as an oversight institution that over and above approving the budget it is also supposed provide policy guidance to government in terms of its management of public resources, it would make it impossible for the MPs to use their power for the purposes of benefitting themselves. Then they will not be able to represent people of Malawi.
Dzonzi said the law under trusteeship would require that any trustee in that position must step down because he has lost the capacity to represent the interest of the beneficiary. n