It is undeniable that Malawians have faced more problems under DPP-led governments than any other government in democratic Malawi. In fact, the Peter Mutharika administration seems to be the worst of them all. There is no accountability in government, since those in positions of power tend to think that they are not answerable to anyone. Sadly, this mindset has been the genesis of rampant corruption and ‘Cashgate’. This is getting worse all the time, which is a clear indication that government no longer cares about it. Instead, the majority of leaders have mastered the art of converting public resources into personal fortunes.
It is no longer a secret that the government thinks that it is not accountable or answerable to anyone, therefore, it finds no reason to consult people before making its decisions. Unfortunately, leaders, including chiefs, have followed suit. As Malawians are counting down to 2019 Tripartite Elections, there has been a lot of defections from other political parties to the ruling DPP.
This has nothing to do with DPP having an attractive ideology about development of Malawi, but has more to do with the belief that DPP, as a party in power, has limitless access to government resources, including money which can also help the defecting legislators to have successful campaigns.
MPs usually say that there is nothing wrong with defecting to other parties because they have the freedom and right to associate with any party of their choice.
They may be right, but what is not right is that they do not consult people in their constituencies. It is even doubtful if at all MPs bother to brief their subjects before going to Parliament so as to get issues from them to raise in Parliament.
Needless to say most MPs represent their own interests rather than those of the people who voted them into power. This is why every now and again they irk their subjects for being on the wrong side when voting in Parliament. To this effect, people of Mzimba North East Constituency must be highly commended for having courage to summon their legislator, Olipa Muyaba, to express their dissatisfaction at her voting against the 50+1 Bill without consulting them. The people wanted her to vote ‘yes’ for the Bill. MP Muyaba had no excuse and could not defend herself. Therefore, she had no choice, but to apologise, and promised to write the Speaker of Parliament to have her vote reversed in the Hansard, if possible.
This was a courageous move by the legislator. Honestly speaking, it is a gesture worth being emulated by both MPs and people who voted them into power. It can be mentioned here that most MPs seem to have no time for the electorate just because they are protected by the absence of the Recall Provision in the Constitution.
Most MPs feel that their terms of office will just be smooth-sailing, whether they deliver or not. What happened to Muyaba is definitely a wake-up call that legislators must know that they are answerable to their constituents. In fact, this Mzimba North East incident has proved that Malawians have power to make their MPs—even the President—to be accountable for their actions.
Most leaders live with the assumption that they know better than the people who had voted them into power. This is what has destroyed Malawi. Any sensible leader must know that people have priorities and choices. For example, it is doubtful that the Shire–Zambezi Waterway and Nsanje Inland Port were a priority for Malawians. Bingu wa Mutharika just imposed it on the people. No wonder it is now looking abandoned yet a lot of tax payers’ money has already been spent on it.