The once-mighty Public Affairs Committee (PAC) is dead.
Its latest attempt to prove relevance and resurrect its public backfired again when PAC tried a press conference on Thursday afternoon at Mount Soche Hotel in Blantyre.
PAC is said to have requested another audience with President Peter Mutharika who agreed to meet them. But when the President shifted the meeting forward for a better time in his diary, PAC reacted by convening an immediate press conference to vent out their anger.
What we have now is a group of men of collar whose ego does not tell them that they are confused and useless, busy mistaking politics for public affairs.
Religious leaders who are the trustees of PAC have publicly and blatantly railed at PAC because it has been hijacked by anti-government politicians who use it for a regime change agenda instead of a robust and fair pursuit of democratic process and governance in Malawi that the body was known for.
When religoius leaders who make up PAC met President Peter Mutharika in Mangochi last week, they expressed concern with how the organisation has lost direction in terms of democratic discourse.
The leaders explained how PAC is increasingly serving political interests, away from the public affairs it was established to serve.
PAC’s signature activity has been the so-called all-inclusive stakeholder conference which is meant to pass resolutions to shape the direction of democratic process in Malawi.
But one of the religoius leaders at the Mutharika meeting, Bishop Brighton Malasa who is also head of the Anglican Church in Malawi, exposed what a sham these conferences actually are.
He said PAC now invites politicians or people with vested political interests and biases to be its key speakers and presenters and PAC takes what these politicians say as resolutions of the conferences.
“We are concerned with the way PAC is operating these days and it needs reformation,” he said.
It is not surprising that the conferences no longer hold the weight they used to.
The damage this politicking has done to the body is so unkind that not only has the body lost public trust but also financiers. A major sponsor of its conferences, a global organisation, has withdrawn funding the conferences after noting that they are platforms for PAC to practice politics. That is, PAC is now a quasi-political party or a front of some politicians who have no nerve to come out in public on their own and declare their interests.
And in the clearest sign yet of its new-found agenda to play politics, the body is out to malign President Peter Mutharika. The issue is that PAC booked an appointment for a meeting with the President this week. The President granted them their wish but preferred another day soon as his diary is already crammed. What does PAC do? They go fidgety like a vain child and in a betrayal of their political objectives and expression of their irrelevance, they rush to hold a press briefing one of whose agenda is to claim that the President is avoiding them. As we write the press conference is in progress.
We are yet to find out with the Registrar of Political Parties whether PAC Political Party has already filed its papers. That other PAC that championed multiparty politics in 1993 is dead.