We applaud the Public Affairs Committee (PAC) for taking the major issues that transpired at their last all-inclusive stakeholders’ conference to the Speaker’s office.
That is how things should be; taking them to rightful offices and seeing to their logical conclusions.
We are saying this because most conferences of this nature only end up as travel and paper presentation opportunities as well as talk-shops while issues die with the closing speeches. In many cases, recommendations just gather dust either at organisers’ secretariats or destination institutions.
For example, it is valid that Malawians still be told what Section 65 of the Constitution that regulates crossing of the floor by Members of Parliament in the House is all about or doing in the statute books, when we see a lot of MPs criss-crossing the floor almost on a regular basis these days. Yet the crafters of the supreme law of the land meant it to curtail such traffic in the interest of the country’s multi-party politics and greater democracy.
Yes, the Speaker has given his side of the story, at least for now. But we would like to know what his office is doing about it because we know injunctions do not last forever. They can be over-turned or challenged, especially when at stake is a larger (public) interest; in this case, Malawi’s democracy.
We also wished the PAC delegation set its eyes and feet on other offices in Capital Hill, notably the ministries of Finance, Economic Planning and Development as well as the Reserve Bank of Malawi, among others, where the list they drew could be adequately given practical audience.
Issues such as the current economic hardships being felt by constituents may indeed be the preserve of parliamentarians in as much as they represent the people. But we believe other government agencies must directly be taken to task as well, particularly on actions being taken to address the challenges.
Of course, there are recovery or growth plans in place, but there ought to be accompanying action on the ground, which moves things.
This is what PAC needs to report back at the next conference, not what people already know.