(The Public Servant Union of Malawi wants the tribunal to declare that a statement by the Minister of Finance is inconsistent with the spirit of free market economy, therefore, unprogressive)
Court clerk: All rise! The honourable justice Mbadwa now takes his seat (everyone in the courtroom stands). We can now take our seats. As the court is in session, we demand total silence. Those who fail to observe this order and those who have not switched off their phones or put them on silent, if caught, will be charged of contempt of court. Thank you.
Mbadwa: Mr Chatera Chiwuluke, President of Public Servants Union, you should address the court. Today I was expected to give guidance to the chairperson of Makobola Transparency and Accountability Committee on the charges his committee should lay against presidential aides who led to the missing of Mapuya’s luggage recently. But because the matter brought before me by the union of public servants is equally important, I will allow Chiwuluke to briefly present the summary of grounds they want this court to arraign the Minister of Finance Gado Gandall for.
Chiwuluke: Thank you My Lord. We civil servants of this country are angry at remarks made by Minister of Finance honourable Gandall at the launch of a Business Climate Survey.
We feel the statement that some private sector executives are getting obscene salaries was a mockery to us public servants who are paid peanuts. We believe the statement was an indictment of how lowly the government, in which honourable Gandall serves, regards us public servants.
Coming at the time we are asking better perks from government, we believe the statement is masking their intention not to raise our salaries to match with the high cost of living whose genesis is the same government’s bad economic policies.
My Lord, what the minister said at the launch can be likened to a husband who complains that neighbours’ wives are being smartly dressed by their partners when his wife is wallowing in abject poverty. No one should prescribe rags to the masses because you are failing to dress your spouse.
My Lord, the minister and his colleagues should not justify low perks they give to teachers and the majority of civil servants by poking fun at salaries of executive of the private sector.
If people in this country, or civil servants like us cannot have the ambition of living ‘like we are in America,’ then why is this government claiming it wants to improve the economic status of people yet its standards are such low?
My Lord, the statement the minister made was, if I may be allowed, retrogressive and dangerous; hence, has to be withdrawn and he must apologise forthwith.
Mbadwa: If the private sector decides to pay their bosses obscene salaries from the money they make, what business has government to do with that? Doesn’t the same government benefit from collecting money in taxes from these obscene salaries? I don’t think this is one desperate way government wants to raise money by putting a cap on salaries of big people and imposing a certain tax on figures that go beyond that prescribed mark.
Prescriptive economic policies implicit in the honourable minister’s statement run counter to principles of free market economy we subscribe to. Yes, I agree the minister’s statement is counter-productive.
He should first look into his plate before he starts claiming that others are having large shares of food. Why don’t you honourable minister borrow a leaf from the private sector and put a plug on unnecessary expenditure so that you start paying your public servants well?
By the way, why are Cabinet ministers and most of their principal secretaries living as if they are in America when the majority of the people they serve live in abject poverty? Is it because their boss also came from America already a millionaire and they want to have a taste of that life? I might have digressed but this court demand an immediate withdrawal of the minister’s statement. n