I read with interest but also disappointment references to the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) manifesto which featured on the front page of The Nation dated Monday 7 April 2014.
I was interested in the references to the youth because I remember with nostalgia the Malawi Young Pioneer (MYP) regime established all over the country.
We often hear some people say the youths are the leaders of tomorrow. The MCP ancient regime, in fact, gave the youth roles in leadership through pioneer bases.
In the book History of Malawi Volume Two by D.D Phiri you will read of the good and bad activities of the MYP. On balance, the legacy of the MYP deserves to be revived minus the security branch which was notorious. Reopening bases might not prove easy under the multi-party dispensation which has fragmented society politically, but still it is worth trying.
I wonder whether the present leaders of MCP were old enough to take part in politics 20 years ago. Those who were old enough that time may remember that the four corners of Unity, Loyalty, Obedience and Discipline were part of the grievances some people had against MCP. They said these corners were restrictions on what the people would do but places no restrictions on the leadership.
They demanded from the next governments conditional powers that there should be Separation of Powers, Rule of Law, Human Rights and other manifestations of universally recognised democracy. In implementing the cornerstones, there had been countless human rights abuses such as people disappearing without trace.
Not only the MCP but other political parties ought to include in their manifestos people’s right to life, liberty and property. Promising them enough food and other bodily needs is not enough.
The Joyce Banda administration has got entangled in some budgetary expenses which are a burden on the common persona who needs greater access to public hospitals and other public services. As a result of the decision to terminate the services of some technocrats who had been appointed by the preceding regime, the PP administration has received huge bills for compensation. These bills when paid will make the recipient’s overnight millionaires while patients are dying in the hospital for lack of drugs.
The law regarding compensation in such situations should be revised so that those affected should be compensated for only six months instead for the whole remaining period. A lean budget cannot afford to pay two salaries for the same job.
Other court issues if handled without utmost skill could cost the public coffers hefty fortunes in damages. We already have cases concerning DPP top people. If Cashgate cases are also rushed to courts this could drain the coffers of the State at the expense of the treasury. Let us take the advice of the British auditors and our officials not to divulge names of suspects until July this year having done cross-checking.
Meanwhile, will government do a thorough job? Let us not forget Chinua Achebe’s bird in Things Fall Apart which said since people have learned to shoot without missing I have also learned to fly without perching.
Because suspects are hiring teams of lawyers to rescue them, the government should also hire lawyers (including those from Britain) who cannot lose cases on more technicalities.
Public confidence is at stake. Philosophers like Thomas Hobbes, John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau taught people entering into social contracts with themselves to be under rulers who would protect them from dangers of a society with a government.
If people live under what they regard as their government and yet some of them are disappearing without trace, those who have robbed the state billions of dollars are acquitted and then demand reparations.
When political institutions are strong, justice may prevail. Miscarriage of justice is a function of failed States and weak governments. The Cashgate took place because of weaknesses in the fabric of the bureaucracy.