CIVIL SOCIETY AND CONCERNED CITIZENS STATEMENT DEMANDING JUSTICE, INTEGRITY AND INTRA – PARTY DEMOCRACY ON THE PART OF MALAWI CONGRESS PARTY (MCP) AND ITS LEADER DR. LAZARUS CHAKWERA ISSUED AT A PRESS CONFERENCE HELD IN LILONGWE ON 22ND MARCH, 2017
We, concerned civil society leaders and citizens of this beloved country Malawi, have been moved by recent unpalatable developments within the main opposition political party, the MCP and we have resolved to issue this statement pursuant to our deep-seated desire to protect our hard earned democracy and political rights which Malawians so gallantly fought for during the transition from the brutal single party dictatorship to the current pluralism and democratic dispensation.
To begin with, good leadership should work together with good governance. Where good governance is not adhered to, there is no good leadership. 2 Good governance is accountable Accountability is a fundamental requirement of good governance. An obligation to report, explain and be answerable for the consequences of decisions made on behalf of those represented. Good governance is transparent People should be able to follow and understand the decision-making process.
This means that they will be able to clearly see how and why a decision was made – what information, advice and consultation was considered, and which legislative requirements (when relevant) were followed. Political Parties are largely the products of modern complex societies whose activities could no longer be handled by a small caucus of people. It is indisputable fact that all leaders of democratic political parties possess some means and ways of disciplining their members, but there is considerable difference degree to which this is done.
Though Malawi as a country has gone through democratic transition, the Malawi Congress Party has not yet evolved and established truly democratic processes in managing the affairs of the Party under the leadership of Dr. Lazarus Chakwera. We are all made to believe that Malawi Congress Party’s ideologies boarder on four corner stones of Dr. Banda namely; Unity, Loyalty, Obedience and Discipline.
One would wonder and ask: Where has the unity in Malawi Congress Party gone? What about the most spoken discipline and obedience? Leadership is the single most important factor in the success or failure of any company or business. Your ability to step forward and lead your enterprise to success in competitive markets is both essential and irreplaceable. The better you become as a leader, the better you will be in every area of your enterprise. Fortunately, leaders are made, not born. ‘‘There may be such a thing as a natural born leader, but 3 there are so few of them, that they make no difference in the great scheme of things.’’ Leaders are primarily self-made, self-developed. They work on t hemselves continually, learning, growing, and becoming more capable and competent over the years.
Leaders usually emerge to deal with a situation that requires leadership skills. A manager can work successfully at fulfilling his responsibilities and getting the job done for many years. Then a crisis occurs, and leadership is required. At that time, the leader steps forth and takes charge of the situation. He or she becomes a different person and fulfills a different role. Against this background, it is very clear that MCP leadership has failed to demonstrate good qualities of leadership by not being democratic enough in most of the decisions the party has made.
The firing and suspension of top Party leaders demonstrates a total politically malnourished leadership in Malawi Congress Party. Most of the things in MCP are not just undemocratic, there is also lack of transparency and accountability from the leadership. A vibrant democracy requires an accountable government. Similarly, an effective democracy requires an opposition which runs on principles of integrity and practices and embraces the tenets of good governance within its internal system.
Sadly, we observe that the main opposition political party MCP has betrayed our democracy by increasing displaying lack of integrity especially in its leader Dr. Lazarus Chakwera. We are aware that people being fired from the MCP have been questioning the integrity of the leader and his accountability on several issues within the MCP. The critical issues relate to the following; (a). Hon Dr. Chakwera has failed to be accountable in the use of party resources and distinguishing the party and church activities.
The MCP leaders 4 has failed to account for the resources that the party gets from Parliament and from well-wishers and most time has benefitted him as a person. It’s a pity that for MCP has no single vehicle while the leader has a fleet of luxury cars at his disposal
(b). We have information in our possession that Hon Dr. Chakwera has been victimizing church leaders and pastors vis-a-vis party members of the Malawi Congress Party. We are gravely concerned as this behavior does not augur well with a political leader who professes integrity and preaches love. We are ready to divulge details relating this uncivilized conduct on the part of Dr. Chakwera as we have little wonder since Dr. Chakwera is leading a party which is still trying to shake off its torpor of the dark and violent past.
(c). Hon Dr. Chakwera has been questioned about use of party resources for personal benefit and turning property of the party into personal property. This is the same as it was when he was turning church property into personal property as is the case with the Sheaffer Conference Centre. Dr. Chakwera should explain real ownership of the place in Lilongwe whose original ownership is in the name of Assemblies of God but was diverted to his own establishment in a step that has almost personalized ownership of such a magnificent facility
(d). Recent remarks and statements made by Hon Dr. Chakwera have clear traits of dictatorship and he portrays all signs of a potential dictator who cannot be trusted with any national leadership responsibilities. His recent calls for a revolt are most unfortunate as they are contrary to the cardinal principle of rule of law which is one of the main iota of our democratic constitutional order.
(e). We also demand accountability on the sources of funds that Hon Dr. Chakwera is using to construct a multi-million Kwacha mansion at Area 6 in the City of Lilongwe. We also have information on other houses that Dr. 5 Chakwera is building and we demand answers from Dr Chakwera as he is a public official by virtue of his position as Leader of Opposition which runs on tax -payers money.
(f) Dr. Chakwera has to also explain all the firings and suspensions of party leaders which is flouting party constitution. As an alternative Government, the MCP in fighting, the firing of any dissenting views and showing traits of nepotism which they equally oppose is sickening. It’s sickening indeed that the MCP cannot stand on higher moral ground and accuse the DPP of nepotism yet within its ranks, the nepotism it’s for all to see.
The vast majority of the members of the MCP Executive are from Lilongwe district where the President of the Party comes from. MCP should also explain the status of its Secretary General Mr. Gustav Kaliwo who was democratically elected at the party convention. The SG position is central to intraparty democracy and internal governance.
(g). MCP has failed again and again to stand on higher moral ground of which it wishes for other political party especially the DPP. It’s a pity that while the party preaches about issue of corrupt free Malawi and not abusing offices, then you have senior party officials involved in the infamous tractor-gate including MCP Vice President and Speaker of Parliament Right Hon. Richard Msowoya.
(h). When MCP preaches about fiscal discipline and at any given time expose President Mutharika as being extravagant, the scenes of what had happened in Salima rally few days ago and love of the same luxuries in the MCP leadership smacks a lot of hypocrisy. It’s high time that the MCP embraces intra party democracy, tolerance and able to take criticism if it is to be trusted as an alternative government and show Malawians that it’s capable of change. Otherwise the current traits in MCP 6 does not bring confidence that if given the power it will not abuse the very same system that it should protect.
In conclusion, we demand that relevant accountability and integrity institutions should probe the wealth of Dr. Chakwera and in particular we call upon the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to swiftly summon Dr. Chakwera to a hearing so that Malawians are well informed about that state of integrity or lack of it on the party of the MCP leader. We also say this considering that Dr. Chakwera is a man who is aspiring to lead Malawians. The position of Head of State demands that the person must be of unquestionable repute, dignity, and integrity.
Therefore Malawians have the right to know all accountability issues surrounding Dr. Chakwera as he too is not above the law just like any other leaders. We also call upon fellow CSO leaders and fellow citizens to continue fighting corruption not only within the Executive, but also within the Opposition leaders and in all branches of Government. We wish to emphasize that Integrity must reign in all arms of government and Opposition leaders too should not be spared.
They are the government-inwaiting and therefore must prove honesty and demonstrate accountability while they are serving Malawians in their tax-funded opposition capacities. Lastly but not least, we wish to strongly indicate that we will mobilize the citizenry to mass actions and protests until Opposition leaders demonstrate integrity and corrupt-free behavior. – May God Bless Malawi – 7
Fryson Chodzi, CSO Leader
Phillip Kamangirah, Representing Concerned Citizens