Countries like Malawi, which did not attain her independence through guerilla war or insurgency, do not appreciate the need to have a national intelligence service.
However, security threats that have occurred elsewhere have taught us the significance of national intelligence agency.
In some countries that have experienced terrorist attacks, some analysts and legislators have attributed these events to intelligence failure, especially lack of professional analysts and intelligence practitioners who know the work.
Intelligence is engine of the State and it works perfectly when the intelligence agency is able to retain competent officers with requisite skills to analyse, evaluate and forecast threats.
Unfair dismissals, nepotism, favouritism and cronyism are the order of the day in intelligence agencies whose actions are not regulated by an Act of Parliament.
Where there is also discontentment with public service delivery and a threat of civil disobedience, the intelligence service is paramount to reduce uncertainty in conflicts.
But in a democratic society, the mandate, functions and powers of the service are supposed to be regulated by a piece of legislation.
There is need for members of Parliament to adopt the National Intelligence Service Bill, which is before them, regardless of their political affiliations.
The mandate must be balanced and broad enough to allow the agency to produce actionable intelligence.
But it must also spell out clear limits to ensure that basic human rights and fundamental freedoms of citizens are not violated.
One of the basic principles of intelligence activity and its ethics is respect and compliance with human rights.
However, there must be a balance between human rights and national security.
Still, efforts should be made by enacting a good law to ensure that human rights are not jeopardised.
This could be the reason the framers of the Constitution included Section 44 (2) which clarifies that some human rights are not absolute.
To maintain national security, security agencies are permitted to limit some human rights.
This is why the Intelligence Bill is essential in democracy.
If enacted into law, it will give either the minister responsible for internal security or director general of the agency to apply for appropriate warrants through the courts.
This shall help the service to acquire required information to maintain State security.
Just as legislators unite to fight for their various pay hikes, it is high time that they also spoke with one voice to pass the Intelligence Bill without further delay.
The Act will liberate the service from political party influence and promote professionalism, which is good for our democracy.
One of the disadvantages of having a service whose actions are not regulated by an Act of Parliament is that untrained personnel are recruited who are sympathetic to and promote covet schemes of the ruling party.
These cadres are employed at the expense of qualified candidates on the job market and public officials who work in the interest of the State regardless of the political party in power.
It is a disaster for a country, like Malawi, to rely on inexperienced figures who also lack professional credence to create credible intelligence.
For policymakers to make effective decisions and strategies, they are supposed to be supplied with timely, accurate and reliable intelligence.
Those conversant with the history of Malawi understand why it is important to have a national intelligence service which is independent of the police service.
Once the Intelligence Bill becomes a law, it will help the country to have a modern, efficient, reliable and professional intelligence service free from political intrusion.
In the recent past, due to the politically motivated decisions, our National Intelligence Bureau has lost the most loyal, highly trained, skilled, experienced and professional personnel who produced timely, reliable, accurate and actionable intelligence documents for the good of the country. n