Kachali, too, has a track record of successful leadership in other walks of life. He held a leadership role in the Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) when he was much younger. The late president Mutharika found it fitting to appoint him second vice-president of DPP, thereby acknowledging that Kachali has leadership qualities.
Before anybody ascends to the position of Vice-President and President, they must have had a stint in other fields such as education, business or faith, where they would have gathered experience in human relations.
I find it pointless for someone to be asking the legality of the President appointing a Vice-President. In 2007 and 2008, people in all walks of life participated in writing a new constitution of Malawi. The writing of the new Constitution had been made hurriedly and had too many loopholes. And yet, we are still running the country on the basis of a botched constitution.
Several times, I enquired why the new Constitution had not been brought to Parliament for debate, amendments or approval and in the last resort, why it had not been put to a referendum as was the case in Zimbabwe and Kenya. Much to my surprise, nobody responded to the question. Not the Ministry of Information, not opposition parties and not academics. Only recently, two gentlemen have indicated they are interested in an up-dated Constitution. These are Mr Harry Thomson and Reverend McDonald Sembereka.
Most likely the revised Constitution contains clauses which threatened the establishment both on the side of the DPP government and the opposition. Is it because it refers to recall of non-performing MPs? Whichever the case, the Cabinet should not behave as if it has the final say in whether we should continue to live under the old Constitution or not.
In his acceptance speech, Kachali said there had been equity in appointing him in that region, tribe or religion had not been the major considerations. He is the first northerner to occupy the highest but one public office. I am sure that there are many northerners who are pleased with the fair-mindedness of the President in appointing someone with whom she had shared ostracism. Those who face hardships and persecutions together should not forget each other when better times come around.
I am told that in a quiz conducted by one of the radio stations on who should be appointed Vice-President, most people mentioned someone from the Southern Region. They forgot the need for equitable distribution of top positions. When the late president Mutharika appointed Madam Joyce Banda, most people did not object because she was a lady and it was necessary for women to be represented in the very top. If he had appointed a man from the Southern Region, many people would have objected.
In Nigeria, there is a convention that when the President is from the Southern Region, the vice-president should be from the North and vice-versa. This is done to prevent some people seeing themselves as dominated.
People who handle public affairs should be sensitive to the feelings of others. The Nkhoma Synod traditionally is not given to questioning government policies bid, recently within a short space of time it has issued pastoral letters lamenting the alleged unfair treatment of the Central Region in the allocation of top positions such as those of principal secretary.
Politics is the art of the possible. You do not implement a law just because it is in the Penal Code. You have to consider the consequences. The laws of Malawi say that whoever commits murder should himself be hanged but how many murderers have been hanged in the past 17 years or so.
Let us not quibble over the legality of appointing a Vice-President. Just introduce the new Constitution in Parliament and make the necessary provisions. Public business must be on the move all the time. Nature hates a vacuum.
Now that it has been decided to hold the African Union (AU) meeting in Malawi as planned, our government should appeal to the AU Secretariat to persuade the president of Sudan to send a representative, instead of himself coming. We cannot afford to offend the US Government.