Who is interfering with MACRA’s mandate?

It’s a sad state of African politics that sometimes influential people attempt to hijack the institutional and democratic processes of doing things, for personal gain. Often money, lots of it, must have changed hands, and you end up with bigwigs attempting to influence or hijack decision-making in matters such as awarding of contracts, in legal or constitutional affairs, when the law is clear about how such things should be handled. This is bad for our countries across Africa, and is singularly the most common reason why our institutions fail to function properly. Leading to abuse that deprives the continent of billions. Because some people are willing to sacrifice the common good. In Malawi, a few days ago a story broke out on Nyasa Times alleging that one Ben Phiri is apparently pulling the strings behind the scenes to influence the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) to award a licence to Lacell Private Limited. Now Lacell has an interesting history in Malawi. In 2008, they failed in its bid for a mobile license because they did not meet the criteria.  Lacell came 5th in the tender process after the other participants were either disqualified or pulled-out. It seems that after months of lobbying politicians (see another link here) they threatened to sue the Malawi government, claiming that they had been led to believe that they would be awarded a license. That they had participated in pre-contractual negotiations and had invested in Malawi, therefore deserved a license. But the ‘license’ they claimed, for which they received some media coverage, never got authorised, let alone gazetted. The Malawi Communications Act 1998 stipulates that a license is not awarded unless it has been gazetted. You can engage in negotiations or receive political promises but unless a tender has been advertised, bids received and reviewed, the bidders vetted and the preferred bidder selected, the succesful bidders are then passed to the president through the relevant ministry…and after some obscure governmental protocols at the highest level, a winner selected. The resulting licence is gazetted, and only then is the licence said to have been awarded under the laws of Malawi. Any contract award that does not follow this set out procedure as laid out in law is in contravention of the law. Thus, for renegotiation with Lacell to begin out of the legally accepted procedure stipulated by the law, outside the tender process, is not in line with the laws of Malawi.

But this resumption of talks is not entirely surprising. In appointing boards of MACRA, the Department of Statutory Corporations [which is part of Office of President and Cabinet (OPC)] issues lists of competent persons which are recommended as members for nomination to parastatals. The President then approves such appointments. But for the current board of MACRA, which was appointed in November 2014, rumour has it that the recommendation list was largely ignored, or the legal process was not entirely observed. Whether this was politically motivated or not is anybody’s guess. What is clear is that when selecting a new board for a regulatory authority, it is required that the composition of the board have people who possess the skills, knowledge and expertise relevant to the functions and mandate for that institution. For MACRA, the Communications Act states that certain numbers from the outgoing board should be retained for continuity. This makes sense because a new board unversed in the operations, intricacies and current affairs need time to adjust. To examine all the issues which the board has been wrestling with, and come up to speed. But when more than half, or all of the previous board have been replaced, what’s to stop a noisy, disgruntled and desperate former bidder who for years has been claiming the moon, to take advantage of the situation and try to bulldoze its claims, perhaps helpfully assisted by some monetary gifts to important people within a newly elected government. This it appears, is where Lacell comes in. Because  the last board of MACRA was replaced in its entirety, and surprise surprise, Lacell, who popped up during Bingu’s regime causing many headaches, who showed up again and again during Joyce Banda’s tenure, has once again showed up.

According to the OPC website: The Department of Statutory Corporations mandate is to ensure parastatal sectors optimal utilization and management of resources, in compliance with Government regulations, thereby contributing to national development. The Department provides financial, administrative and managerial oversight to the parastatal sector. Doesn’t the in compliance with government regulation mentioned in this mission statement mean that MACRA must operate by the law? Why then is Kondwani Nankhumwa, the minister of Information, Tourism and Culture, talking as if a deal with Lacell could be hashed outside the law? Disregarding the lawful processes. And the institutions that have been mandated to police and protect the processes?

Something fishy is going on. President Peter Mutharika would be best advised to put a firm stop to this fishy business, because it is not going to help Malawi in the long run. Our public institutions must be allowed to operate independently, without duress, and in line with the law.

Malawi bans child marriages, lifts minimum age to 18.

Malawi has passed a law banning child marriage, raising the minimum age to 18 in a country where half of girls end up as child brides.

Women rights campaigners hailed the move as “a great day for Malawian girls” and said the law would help boost development in one of the world’s poorest countries.

But they warned Malawi would not end child marriage without concerted efforts to tackle poverty and end harmful traditional practices like early sexual initiations.

“This law is extremely crucial because child marriage is a big, big problem in our country,” said parliamentarian Jessie Kabwila who helped push for the new legislation.

“The country will for the first time clearly articulate that we are saying ‘No’ to child marriage.”

 

More here (Reuters)

10 Reasons to Love Uruguay’s President José Mujica

The following article was originally printed on Counterpunch here

José MujicaPresident José Mujica of Uruguay, a 78-year-old former Marxist guerrilla who spent 14 years in prison, mostly in solitary confinement, recently visited the United States to meet with President Obama and speak at a variety of venues. He told Obama that Americans should smoke less and learn more languages. He lectured a roomful of businessmen at the US Chamber of Commerce about the benefits of redistributing wealth and raising workers’ salaries. He told students at American University that there are no “just wars.” Whatever the audience, he spoke extemporaneously and with such brutal honesty that it was hard not to love the guy. Here are 10 reasons you, too, should love President Mujica.

1. He lives simply and rejects the perks of the presidency. Mujica has refused to live at the Presidential Palace or have a motorcade. He lives in a one-bedroom house on his wife’s farm and drives a 1987 Volkswagen. “There have been years when I would have been happy just to have a mattress,” said Mujica, referring to his time in prison. He donates over 90% of his $12,000/month salary to charity so he makes the same as the average citizen in Uruguay. When called “the poorest president in the world,” Mujica says he is not poor. “A poor person is not someone who has little but one who needs infinitely more, and more and more. I don’t live in poverty, I live in simplicity. There’s very little that I need to live.”

2. He supported the nation’s groundbreaking legalization of marijuana. “In no part of the world has repression of drug consumption brought results. It’s time to try something different,” Mujica said. So this year, Uruguay became the first country in the world to regulate the legal production, sale, and consumption of marijuana. The law allows individuals to grow a certain amount each year and the government controls the price of marijuana sold at pharmacies. The law requires consumers, sellers, and distributors to be licensed by the government. Uruguay’s experience aims to take the market away from the ruthless drug traffickers and treat drug addiction as a public health issue. Their experiment will have reverberations worldwide.

3. In August 2013, Mujica signed the bill making Uruguay the second nation in Latin America (after Argentina) to legalize gay marriage. He said that legalizing gay marriage is simply recognizing reality. “Not to legalize it would be unnecessary torture for some people,” he said. In recent years, Uruguay has also moved to allow adoption by gay couples and openly gay people to serve in the armed forces.

4. He’s not afraid to confront corporate abuses, as evidenced by the epic struggle his government is waging against the American tobacco giant Philip Morris. A former smoker, Mujica says that tobacco is a killer that needs to be brought under control. But Philip Morris is suing Uruguay for $25 million at the World Bank’s International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes because of the country’s tough smoking laws that prohibit smoking in enclosed public spaces and require warning labels, including graphic images of the health effects. Uruguay is the first Latin American country and the fifth nation worldwide to implement a ban on smoking in enclosed public places. Philip Morris, the largest cigarette manufacturer in the United States, has huge global business interests (and a well-paid army of lawyers). Uruguay’s battle against the tobacco Goliath will also have global repercussions.

5. He supported the legalization of abortion in Uruguay (his predecessor had vetoed the bill). The law is very limited, compared to laws in the US and Europe. It allows abortions within the first 12 weeks of the pregnancy and requires women to meet with a panel of doctors and social workers on the risks and possible effects of an abortion. But this law is the most liberal abortion law in socially conservative, Catholic Latin America and is clearly a step in the right direction for women’s reproductive rights.

6. He’s an environmentalist trying to limit needless consumption. At the Rio+20 Summit in 2012, he criticized the model of development pushed by affluent societies. “We can almost recycle everything now. If we lived within our means – by being prudent – the 7 billion people in the world could have everything they needed. Global politics should be moving in that direction,” he said. He also recently rejected a joint energy project with Brazil that would have provided his country with cheap coal energy because of his concern for the environment.

7. He has focusing on redistributing his nation’s wealth, claiming that his administration has reduced poverty from 37% to 11%. “Businesses just want to increase their profits; it’s up to the government to make sure they distribute enough of those profits so workers have the money to buy the goods they produce,” he told businessmen at the US Chamber of Commerce. “It’s no mystery–the less poverty, the more commerce. The most important investment we can make is in human resources.” His government’s redistributive policies include setting prices for essential commodities such as milk and providing free computers and education for every child.

8. He has offered to take detainees cleared for release from Guantanamo. Mujica has called the detention center at Guantanamo Bay a “disgrace” and insisted that Uruguay take responsibility to help close the facility. The proposal is unpopular in Uruguay, but Mujica, who was a political prisoner for 14 years, said he is “doing this for humanity.”

9. He is opposed to war and militarism. “The world spends $2 billion a minute on military spending,” he exclaimed in horror to the students at American University. “I used to think there were just, noble wars, but I don’t think that anymore,” said the former armed guerrilla. “Now I think the only solution is negotiations. The worst negotiation is better than the best war, and the only way to insure peace is to cultivate tolerance.”

10. He has an adorable three-legged dog, Manuela! Manuela lost a foot when Mujica accidentally ran over it with a tractor. Since then, Mujica and Manuela have been almost inseparable.

Mujica’s influence goes far beyond that of the leader of a tiny country of only 3 million people. In a world hungry for alternatives, the innovations that he and his colleagues are championing have put Uruguay on the map as one of the world’s most exciting experiments in creative, progressive governance.

 

Who’s idea was the Cash-filled Envelope?

Last Tuesday something curious happened at Sanjika Palace. Some Journalists and media personalities were invited to dine with president Peter Mutharika, and sometime towards the end of the dinner, blue envelopes purported to contain a booklet outlining the president’s vision on media freedoms were handed out to the guests. They opened them, and were surprised to find a pen, a blank notepad, and K50,000 (about US$100 ) in cash contained inside another envelope.

Then began the drama. What was the money for? Isn’t this bribery? Wouldn’t accepting it open a conflict of interest? Why were they not told about the gift prior to the dinner? Or when the invitations came? Why did the minister of information,Kondwani Nankhumwa, lie to them claiming the envelopes contained the president’s vision on press freedoms? Should they accept it? Can they return it there and then without offending the president? Should it be declared to their newsrooms, let alone to the public? Also, why in cash, why not a cheque – why does the whole thing appear like some secret thing?

In a poor country such as Malawi, I can imagine some of the journalists had a difficult moral judgement to make.

Some of the journalists decided to keep the money, including Raphael Tenthani, the BBC correspondent (they claim they will donate it to charity – to pay towards the medical bills of another journalist, Limbani Moya, who is undergoing a kidney transplant in India). One or two returned the envelopes that same night, but as can be imagined, the whole thing looked questionable. Among the journalists who kept the envelopes were some who decided that if they returned the money, palace officials would just share it amongst themselves, so they chose to keep the money and donate it to charity.

Over the last couple of days people on social media have debated the issue vigorously, claiming it was bribery, dismissing Peter Mutharika as corrupt. Comparing him to Joyce Banda and Bakili Muluzi. Very strong comments about the competency of the presidency have been made. Prominent Malawian legal practitioner and lawyer, Professor Dr. Danwood Chirwa who is a head of law at the University of Cape Town called the handing out of the envelopes crimes under Section 25B and 26 of the Corrupt Practices Act, and urged the journalists to return the money.

However, the question remains, who came up with such a silly idea?

Who was it that said, you know what we should do, let’s get some journalists together at Sanjika palace, lets give them some food and drinks, the president will make a speech, and answer some questions from the floor, then towards the end of the dinner, we’ll give the journalists $100 each? Who came up with that idea?

Although I doubt it, I’m inclined to ask: was it the president’s idea?

Or was it the minister of Information’s plan? Since he was willing to lie about it, maybe it was his idea? Was it concocted by one of the president’s advisers? If so the fool should be fired forthwith, because the gimmick wasn’t clever. It was stupid, and may have violated the law.

If he won’t be fired, then for his/her own self-respect, the architect of this scandal needs to quietly resign. The Mutharika government must stop churning out flawed gimmicks, as the ones we saw in the previous administration. These are the kind of things which give African politics, and African politicians a bad name. How can Malawi ever develop when we hold onto questionable practices, and when we are willing to violate our own laws, even at the highest office?

Further, what was the whole thing meant to achieve? Seriously, did Sanjika Palace really think that in the current polarised political environment that the issue wouldnt come out?

Remember how quickly Joyce Banda slipped down the route of bad decisions, like allowing the 100 days celebration to proceed at the expense of Independence Day celebrations? And how from there onwards it was all a list of disasters and flawed decisions. The massive devaluation of the Malawi Kwacha, South Korea Labour scandal, Jetgate, Madaonnagate, Cashgate…

Mr President, do yourself a big favour, please don’t go down that route.

 

Democracy: At what price?

chibamboOn the day that I saw the above message on Facebook, I also saw this, titled “Malawi, Africa Countries Snub ‘Un-African’ Proposals At UN CSW Meeting” which has the following two paragraphs:

“There were issues of comprehensive sexuality education, and abortion among others and it was proposed that a child should be taught about issues surrounding sexual life from the age 0 – 4, and that the girl child should not be restrained from having sexual intercourse as long as she is old enough,” explained Makungwa.

She added, “So as Africans, we stood our grounds because we found such proposals very un-African and as for other proposals such as that of homosexuality, we clearly told the meeting that as a country, the matter was referred to the public for debate.”

While conservative leaning churches would probably be pleased with these kinds of headlines, to me a more pressing issue is troubling.

Who gets to decide who makes the law? Or rather, who gets to decide who dictates public policy? Is it the people of an African country, its government or the donors and financial backers who must map public policy?

As a black person living in Britain, I’m always appalled when the rights of minorities are denied by popular sentiment, or by religious / perceived pseudo-religious beliefs of the majority. But in this case, I find it extremely difficult to reconcile the fact that when less than 50 years ago the law in the UK forbade homosexuality, you now have what amounts to ‘carrot demands’ by what are probably western organisations pushing young African democracies to legislate or support similar laws to those which in the West took hundreds of years  (and murderous mistakes) to properly form. Irrespective of African culture and other considerations.

It’s a bit hypocritical isn’t it? In my terribly (un)imaginative mind, it sounds a bit like a man mouthing off in the London Underground voice ( ‘Mind the Gap’) : It took us 500 years to overturn these laws, it must stake you less than 40…”  Tasteless.

Further, on the list of what should be priorities (hunger, disease, poverty, education, rights of women, etc) of African leaders, where does LGBT rights feature? Is it really sensible to ask a presidential candidate to support gay rights when half his country’s population is starving, when the country has poor public health facilities, hospitals without medicines, when crime is compratively high (than in most western countries), when illiteracy levels are high, when there are poor educational prospects in the country, an unacceptably high number of women continue to die in childbirth, when unemployment is high, and when corruption is rife in both the public and private sector?

Wouldn’t it be wiser to allow the political leaders of African countries some leeway for what will probably be a slow but organic natural transition? As opposed to applying forced catalysts whose motives are not entirely clear.

How a Canadian-led team is fighting to protect Malawi girls from rape

Via the Globe and Mail

I would highly recommend this post. Fiona Sampson should be commended for the very important work she is doing … excellent initiative, what a great effort!

Excerpts from the article:

Official indifference and outdated laws contribute to a climate of impunity, but misguided myths and sex discrimination are often at the root of the problem. Men in Malawi, and elsewhere in the region, are told that sex with a virgin can also cure disease and reverse the aging process.

Until 30 years ago, a rape conviction in Canada required the testimony of a witness – as it still does in Malawi, whose legal system is rooted in British common law. A frequent problem for the few cases that do get to court is the fact that proceedings are conducted in English, often bewildering participants, most of whom are rural dwellers able to understand only Chichewa, the country’s other official language.

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Slow Justice: delays / inaction of Malawi’s institutions symptomatic of a weak democracy?

There’s a bad habit in Malawi of authorities sitting on cases  (in which shady dealings or suspect conduct had taken place) and piling them on the shelf for years and years. This almost intrinsic dormancy does not only affect formal legal cases. Even others which are strictly speaking neither before a court of law nor pending investigations of impropriety (but are nonetheless issues which in any decent democracy would call for investigations) are simply ignored, or at least not attended to. In Malawi, depending on who is in power, people often get prosecuted only after a new leader hostile to the old regime comes into power. At least that’s what seems to have been happening in the past.

And it’s not because there are no competent bodies to do the investigation or order the prosecutions (there is the Anti-corruption Bureau, the Judiciary or even the Public Affairs Committee to highlight wrongdoing). Yet more often than not, you find issues which should have been investigated or cases which should  have been brought to an end dragging on for years and years, when it is clear (or the suspicions are somewhat overwhelming) that wrongdoing may have occurred.

Obviously, such a state of affairs is undesirable and can only mean one or more of a number of things:  (i) A weak democracy with weak institutions incapable of competently undertaking their jobs for the benefit of Malawians – an unattractive market to any investor. or  it can mean (ii) Political interference obstructing the course of justice – making the market even more unattractive to investors ; or (iii) Under-resourced or overstretched institutions failing to allocate resources or cope with workload …

Among the cases / suspicious issues which call for investigation or are yet to be concluded in Malawi are the following:-

  • Bingu Wa Mutharika’s unexplained wealth  (see another source here)
  • Bingu’s relationship with Mota-Engil
  • Malawi: Ex-President Muluzi’s corruption trial – this trial has had some severe delays partly due to Muluzi’s ill health, and at one point last year, the then head of ACB couldn’t make a court date because he had to appear before a magistrate for a matter the ACB director had been arrested over. (see another source here and additional / alleged charges against Muluzi here)
  • Pioneer Chemicals saga which named Goodall Gondwe (never mind his latest turn back into politics) was dropped by the ACB with little explanation other than that ACB lacked evidence. Why then did ACB make the allegation in the first place?? What did they see or hear that drove them to make the allegation?
  • Patricia Kaliati – Nyika Corruption saga   (See another report here. A further corruption case against Kaliati here)
  • Apollo International fiasco in which Ken Lipenga has some explaining to do
  • Fertiliser subsidy saga which raises possibilities of conflicts of interests affecting cabinet ministers in Joyce Banda’s government
  • The Midnight six – how can people who plotted what was effectively a coup in a democracy be dealt with so leniently? Will they be let off the hook? Will they go to prison? Will the President pardon them? Something doesn’t add up…
  • The Paladin Kayelekera Uranium issue  (see other links here and here).  While Paladin has denied any involvement in paying bribes, to me two questions still remain: How could the government have signed such a bad contract with little or no benefit to Malawi – and how could such an action be justified as being in the interest of Malawians? (ii) Secondly, which Fraud/ Corrupt company ever admitted to paying bribes or doing wrong? (See related document about Paladin’s activities / transparency record here: Radioactive Revenues)
  • Mathews Chikaonda and Hitesh Anadkat –  the K320 million corporate scam, in which investors lost money, and which was alleged to have been a case of insider trading. However, as most Malawians know, president Joyce Banda has a close relationship with the duo, and in one instance was pictured wearing attire with colours of FMB, the bank in which Anadkat is the Vice Chairman.  The scandal was reported on Nyasa Times on March 6, 2012, although interestingly, the story has since been deleted – reinforcing some of the things people on social media have been saying about Nyasa Times’ lack of impartiality. Luckily for those of us who know how to hack our way around the web,  a cached version (which we have downloaded in full) is still available on google (accessible via  this link), as can be seen below:

Chikaonda-Anadkat

  • Dr Kamuzu Banda’s estate – was it really all legally obtained? Don’t Malawians deserve to know? In the bbc article, the writer says a missing death certificate is the reason why overseas financial institutions will not release the information regarding his accounts. My question is this:  if there was genuine leadership in Malawi, wouldn’t it be in the interest of the country, for the government (or the appropriate authority / hospital) to request the issue of another replacement death certificate, to audit the source of Banda’s wealth??
  • Then there are alleged cases of corruption mentioned in links such as these , which names late Aleke Banda, Cassim Chilumpha, Bakili Muluzi, the current vice president Khumbo Kachali and the president herself.

Reading all these allegations, it makes one wonder, if there wasn’t an investigation at the time when the cases were reported, if no one was prosecuted, and there was no clear clarification / acquittal, what hope would there be today of ending graft in Malawi?

In almost every advanced country in the world, institutions such as Anticorruption bodies and the judiciary operate independently of the government. If an official or politician commits what is clearly a crime or is involved in some kind of shady conduct, the courts in collaboration with investigators and the media will often get to the bottom of the matter, irrespective of whether the politician / official belongs to the ruling party or some power bloc.

This fact alone is probably one of the best indicators of a healthy democracy.

But in most African countries, this kind of thing doesn’t happen. Rather, one’s liability to prosecution is influenced by how many friends they keep in high political office, the police , the judiciary and suchlike.

How then can our democracies in Africa progress if our institutions are not genuinely independent of the powers that be?

So, on top of all that pile of cases add Cashgate to the list with its many complex scandals (most recently see  here)…and it starts to become clear that the road to a functional democracy in Malawi, one with effective  institutions that operate independent of the government, will be a very long one…

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Shredding of Public Institutions in Malawi – by Jimmy Kainja

Shredding of Public Institutions in Malawi

law

The Daily Times of Friday, July 26, 2013 had a screaming front-page headline: “JB defies court order”. The story is on President Joyce Banda’s decision to go ahead with elevation of Traditional Authority (TA) Chikowi, in Zomba, to a senior chief on the following Saturday, July 27 in an apparent disregard for a court order stopping the initial installment of Mariam Saiti as a TA.

There is a family dispute on the succession of the chieftaincy. One side of the three families that exchange the chieftaincy placed their faith in the justice system and sought a court injunction through lawyer, Wapona Kita, to stop Saiti’s installation; an injunction was granted, according to Kita but Zomba District Commissioner Harry Mtumbuka Phiri has denied that his officer was saved with the court order, therefore paving way for Banda to elevate the chief.

However, Kita insists that the injunction was saved and “if the court rules that the person who is being elevated is not the rightful heir to the throne then we will start all over again”, The Daily Times quoted Kita. According to the newspaper, Banda is not a stranger to the dispute as she has previously lived with one of the families from the grieved side in Zomba police lines.

“The President is a close friend of our family from way back when we were living together in police lines in Zomba … when we exhausted all channels to amicably settle the dispute, we requested to have an audience with the President to mediate but she ignored all our communication”, Roselyn Mankhwala from the grieved side told The Daily Times.

Disclaimer: I am not an expert on chieftaincy issues nor I am I a legal expert but this case has an important governance issue at its heart, this is way beyond the succession dispute. A lot of public resources will be used for the elevation. The public outcry about the president’s travels is well documented and now you can add this one on the list. This could turned out to be even more wasteful should the court rule that Saiti is not the rightful heir to throne. Public resources wasted and deepening animosity for the concerned families.

President Banda’s knowledge of the issue not withstanding, why can she not wait for the court ruling first? Shouldn’t Banda as a president play a uniting figure in such matters? Here it is irrelevant whether the Zomba District Council was received the injunction or not. It is clear that Banda is aware of the dispute, through the family connection. Even if she was not, does she do these elevations without background checks?

Ignoring a court order is a disregard for basic democratic principle: separation of powers. This is designed to strengthen good governance; it guards against abuse of power, which is seemingly the case here. What if every Malawian decides to do likewise? Is it not a chaotic country we are creating? It is important to remember that might does not make it right.

At the height of the late Bingu wa Mutharika’s short-lived autocracy, the renowned Malawian academic, Thandika Mkandawire, bemoaned what he called the “shredding” of public institutions in Malawi. This looks agonisingly similar, it is now well and truly entrenched into the political system and every caring Malawian should be concerned about it. In his own wards, here is what Mkandawire said:

“DR. Banda bequeathed Malawi three institutions that gave a good start towards democratic consolidation: (A) a relatively independent judiciary, since the political cases were handled by the traditional courts; (B) a depoliticized military since the political side was handled by paramilitary young pioneers and (C) and a fairly competent civil service. It is these institutions that ensured us a peaceful referendum.

 “DR. Banda further gave legitimacy and credibility to these institutions by accepting both results of the referendum and the first democratic elections. Muluzi in his own way strengthened the legitimacy of these institutions by accepting, albeit reluctantly, their ruling on Dr. Banda and the Tembos.  He accepted the parliament’s rejection of his third bid. To appreciate the full value of the legacy one has to consider the cases of many African countries where these were severely compromised during one-party rule.

 “Such countries have had huge political problems with their democratization since they have no credible institutions to adjudicate even the simplest of squabbles. In Malawi all political actors have respected the courts and sought to redress their grievances through the court system. Malawi had more litigations going on than the entire SADC region. One can point to some of the abusive aspects of these litigations but all in all they are partly evidence of the faith in our court system.

 “When Bingu came to power he promised to reverse the creeping trend towards the politicization of these institutions. He specifically promised to strengthen the meritocratic basis of the civil service. What we are witnessing now is the shredding of the legitimacy of these institutions by politicizing them and by implying their daily management of their affairs depends on “orders from above”. The institutions are now being pitted against another.

 “… Those in power now should remember their own future will also depend on how well these institutions are.”

 

This article is cross-posted on Nyasa Times

[Author – Jimmy Kainja]