So the 5th All Inclusive Stakeholders Public Affairs Committee (PAC) conference ended without any realistic and tangible resolutions apart from ultimatums which have become a symbol of PAC for years now.
PAC has had such meetings several times, but each time the outcome is the same. Ultimatums that clearly show lack of seriousness on the part of the organisation are issued but never followed up. Once the conference ends, everything else is forgotten and only resurfaces when it is time for another gathering.
What was meant to be a meeting to bang heads and come up with solutions to the economic, social and political woes Malawi is facing turned out to be a battle field and a platform to outwit each other—opposition, government and delegates all trying to prove who was the loudest speaker.
But that is of little concern. What is of major concern is that outcomes of PAC meetings have become so predictable. It is also easy to predict the behaviour of opposition parties at such meetings—they usually call for the resignation of the sitting President, give a specific number of days to step down and then the President doesn’t step down, and nothing happens—we go back to the usual.
PAC seriously needs to come up with a better approach to holding our leaders accountable because the current approach isn’t working.
Year in, year out ultimatums are issued but nothing changes. Perhaps the reason these ultimatums fail to achieve their intended purposes is because the ultimatums are issued without much thought out into them.
Take, for instance, the 30-day ultimatum issued by People’s Party (PP) and Malawi Congress Party (MCP). Is this realistic? What can one possibly do in 30 days? We all agree this government has failed us, but even if all the resources were at their disposal, I do not think they would do anything meaningful within 30 days.
It’s not possible to buy maize and distribute it to every corner of the country in 30 days. Let us just start with logistics such as sourcing transporters—that alone would take a month or two.
PAC and all delegates need to be realistic in their demands. It is not wrong to demand that which is possible, and not impossible. Obviously, this 30-day ultimatum will die a week from now, defeating the whole purpose.
It is tiring to hear same message every time PAC meets. Yes, you are doing a good job of reminding our leaders of their role, but I believe you can do better by being better organised yourselves.
So far, ultimatums are not working. n