What the Public Affairs Committee (PAC) did by holding an all-inclusive meeting in Blantyre was not out of the ordinary, Malawi is a democratic country, which means the government is for the people. As such, if need arises, people from all sectors of the society must come together to look at challenges they are facing. This is what democracy is all about.
Based on the numerous challenges that Malawians are going through, the PAC meeting was long overdue. Whether or not it had achieved its objectives of finding solutions to the current economic and socio/political woes is yet to be seen. But what is clear is that it has activated public debate on national issues. People have had an opportunity to hear the reaction of stakeholders on topical issues being discussed.
At the PAC conference, government had a high powered delegation of Cabinet ministers and other top officials. Most people might have thought that the government was ready to listen as well as convincingly answer queries and clear some misconceptions. Above all, the government was to show leadership qualities in charting the way forward.
Unfortunately, what transpired at the conference was a total display of anger towards government, which, too, could not take the anger lying down, but had to be defensive through-out.
Honestly speaking, the situation in Malawi now can make even the calmest person angry. Imagine, Malawians cannot even access the most basic need, which is food, let alone accessing medicines at government hospitals. Security has gone to the dogs as people are being robbed or killed by thugs every day. Joblessness is the order of the day. Against such a background, who cannot be angry with APM’s government? In fact, any government in power would face anger from its people if the situation in the country is getting out of hand as is the case in Malawi at the moment.
The DPP-led government under President Peter Mutharika is in–charge; therefore, people look to it for solutions. The government has to take care of the people and not dwell much on how the problems came about. For example, it is no use reminding hunger-stricken Malawians that floods and drought robbed them of their maize. It is also useless for government to repeatedly come up with statements that there is enough maize, when they know there is nothing.
In fact, the anger that people took to the PAC meeting was justified and it seems the government, too, expected the hostile reaction. From government’s reaction, one could not be wrong to conclude that it was not there to listen and take advice, but to show that it is wrong to blame it for the woes in the country. What the government and its leadership seem to forget is that it is a waste of time and will benefit nothing from its war of words with critics. Government should know better that by running a successful government, critics would have nothing much to say against it. Currently, the government seems to have failed hence so many critics expressing their opinions, which, of course, is their constitutional right.
Lastly, President Peter Mutharika and his administration should know that they are running a government for the people. Therefore, all Malawians across the country have the right to demand better services. If they are denied, it means those in power have no idea what government is all about. This is why Malawi is in such a predicament. n