By its mandate and composition, the Public Affairs Committee (PAC) ought to be more proactive as opposed to reactive in its scope of work. From its mandate and composition of its executive members, PAC is supposed to speak for all Malawians, regardless of their race, colour, tribe, creed, social status and on all governance matters. It should not only train its eyes on Government or the State President but on all elements that stand in the way of democracy and good governance in the country.
I could be ignorant about what PAC does on a day-to-day basis. But it looks like the only time PAC works is when it wants to talk to or about the President and his administration. And one such time was this week when PAC had an audience with President Lazarus Chakwera.
During the meeting, PAC chairperson Monsignor Dr Patrick Thawale read a statement which I would say ably tackled quite a number of pertinent issues which rightly condemned nepotism, corruption, the President’s supposed intransigence in fixing the economy, his failure to fulfill his promise to reshuffle the Cabinet.
PAC also criticized the President for allegedly surrounding himself with incompetent people at State House and in the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC), some of whom, the quasi-religious body said should have been fired a long time ago. PAC then issued what sounded like an ultimatum. While we all know that appointing members of the Cabinet is the President’s prerogative, PAC ordered President Chakwera to reshuffle the Cabinet within 90 days.
A few days before the PAC meeting with President Chakwera, there was a serious assault on the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) director general Martha Chizuma personally and her office. (For obvious reasons I will avoid mentioning names). Someone with an inflated ego has given Chizuma seven days to disclose certain information her office is investigating or resign. Failing which, this man has promised to shut down the ACB offices.
His reasoning is that ACB is doing Malawi a disservice by cooperating with a UK-based organisation which is investigating issues concerning businessperson Zuneth Sattar and bordering on the country’s security. Why this man should be so angry with ACB for what it is doing in the investigations, as to issue the threats, beats logic.
And so after these threats on the ACB director general, which are a direct attack on the country’s fight against corruption, I waited with baited breath for PAC to come out guns blazing condemning the threats in the same manner the grouping condemned President Chakwera. But nothing. I am still waiting for something from PAC.
PAC should not only fight State House or President Chakwera and his administration. It should fight all undemocratic elements in society and from all quarters that stand in the way of good governance. Just as PAC admonished the President for firing former Labour minister Ken Kandodo and sparing Kezzie Msukwa both of whom were embroiled in similar issues, PAC should also have poured cold water on those issuing the ACB director with threats.
It is not rocket science to conclude those against the noble job Chizuma is doing are enemies of good governance. I wish to conclude by saying this man who claims to be speaking for Malawians is actually a wolf in sheep’s skin. His statement against ACB and Chizuma has confirmed our long held belief that he is speaking for his financiers who are not comfortable with the ACB’s investigations.
Luckily we have ECM whose Bishops have also seen the folly in the threats against Chizuma and ACB in general and advised the President to protect her and her colleagues from the attacks.