By Gwentha Mpinganjira
On 2nd of March, 2021, the Senate Intelligence Committee of the United States of America summoned the Director of Federal Intelligence (FBI) ,Christopher Wray to appear before the Committee to answer some important questions concerning the insurrection that happened on 6th January 2021, when the both Chambers of the House in USA were scheduled to certify the General Elections results as the law of the land prescribes.
Unfortunately, things didn’t go the way it was planned because some people stormed the Capitol which is the soul of American democracy because they believed that election results did not reflect the will of USA majority voters. And we know that former President Donald John Trump was impeached for ‘inciting’ violence that preceded to the insurrection but Trump was later acquitted by the Senate mainly on technical grounds. His lawyers argued that impeachment was designed for sitting public officers and not ex- presidents and others and that his statement is protected by the Bill of Rights( commonly called First Amendment) and for that he can not be censured. Having said that, Trump’s image was crucified in the market of public opinion as someone behind the Mayhem.
The people who designed the constitution of Malawi(our founding fathers) believed that separation of powers is very important in a democratic society like ours where the three branches of government,judiciary, executive and legislature must have a watch dog role to play against each other to avoid abuse of powers. This is well stated in the constitution of Malawi in sections 7,8 and 9 and roles are also indicated in those chapters.
In Malawi, the Police Service is under the Executive arm of government which is headed by the State President.
The Inspector General of Police shall be appointed by the President and confirmed by the National Assembly by a majority of the members present and voting, but the Public Appointments Committee may at any time inquire as to the competence of the person so appointed to carry out the duties of that office and as to such other questions as may have direct bearing on the performance of the duties of that office.
As the Section states above, you will agree with me that this chapter as designed by our founding fathers like Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika, Professor Edge Kanyongolo, Mordecai Msiska and many other law scholars of international repute to make sure that the President does not abuse his powers by appointing someone who must be dancing to his tunes only rather than serving the Nation with due diligence. This is so in many democratic systems like in USA. When the president has nominated someone he or she must go through the senate for interviews as a vetting method. The questions may range from his tender age just to check his background information in case someone has a criminal records but not noticed by the President and the society at large.
The Public Appointments Committee of Parliament in Malawi therefore in Malawi has been given a very important oversight role on all appointment done by the President do that vetting or veto that appointee before his name is taken to the plenary floor for debate.
The same provision that I have cited above does give the same Public Appointments Committee a role to subpoena the IG for his poor service delivery at any point the Committee wishes so.
Regrettably, since the robbery that took place at the office of the Vice President sometime back, nothing we have heard from IG and that the PAC is viewed by many that it is certifying impurity in this country. It’s simply put: PAC is not doing the watchdog role as mandated by the constitution.
By now, we could have heard already if we were in USA that PAC has subpoenaed the IG Kainja to appear before the Committee to answer questions on why the office of the VP was ransacked twice and sparingly no arrests have been made when we know that, the VPs office has CCTV and all first grade police mobile forces to guard his office.
I intend to believe that the PAC is shielding the IG in this manner as criminally is seen as ‘aiding and abetting’ those robbers who stole the equipments at Dr Saulos Chilima office. By now, the IG could have provided answers to Malawi in front of the camera that why is he not arresting these thieves? Why is not disciplining those officers who were on duty on that day? But does PAC know that the international community is here watching this? Does PAC know that donors can pull out COVID-19 aid due to this recklessness by the IG? Must Malawians suffer because of one person in the name of George Kainja? PAC, give us a signal.
In short, PAC, IG, President, and the robbers are in the same ‘whatapp group’ sleeping on duty while typing on the phone.
PAC has to rise up to challenge. Demand resources from the office of the Speaker to summon the IG. We need a PAC that is there to not protect the political and public servants. PAC don’t play start digitalising the 2025 tripartite elections now as the basis of punishing the VP. He is a human being and he he kids too who don’t want to hear their dad being a target for political reasons.
PAC , where are you?