Two things betray a possible political influence behind PAC’s regime change agenda: After its conference last year President Peter Mutharika formed a negotiating team to engage it on its resolutions. For no obvious reasons, PAC pulled out of the negotiations. On this, PAC renounced its founding principle of engaging authorities on contact and dialogue on national issues.
When President Mutharika rearranged their appointment with him to end of April, PAC threw tantrums, proceeded to hastily arrange a press conference where they pronounced government as failed. It further refused to meet the President at a meeting slated for end of April.
Secondly, even in the absence of the dialogue, government has implemented a number of the resolutions which PAC brought forward from its last year’s conference.
PAC had demanded that government put in place a mechanism to ensure food security due to the food shortage that hit the country last year.
Government responded by implementing a highly successful massive food aid distribution where affected households received adequate food every month from August last year to April this year. No one has died of hunger.
PAC also urged for speed on electoral reforms, Green Belt Initiative, fighting corruption, ensure national IDs, construction of district hospitals and fixing the economy.
The electoral law reforms commission has submitted its final report which will be tabled in Parliament in November for debate. Malawi Electoral Commission has announced it is ready to implement the laws in 2019 once passed by Parliament.
Government is tabling in this current sitting of Parliament a bill for the formation of the Green Belt Authority for the institutionalisation of irrigated agriculture in Malawi. So Green Belt Initiative is no longer a pipe dream but a reality.
On corruption, in 2016/17 financial year alone, Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has handled and processed 900 corruption complaints this financial year. A total of 200 cases were investigated, out of which 116 were completed.
Out of the completed cases, 30 percent of the cases were recommended for prosecution, 66 per cent for closure and 4 per cent of the cases were referred.
Within the same period, government has acted on abuse of money and authority by bosses at Teveta, at National Roads Authority and Admarc. President Peter Mutharika relieved George Chaponda as Minister of Agriculture to pave way for the law enforcement agencies to do their job without hindrance.
On national IDs Malawians have started registering. The economy is recovering. The improvement has earned commendation from local economic experts, IMF, World Bank and the Economist Intelligence Unit.
In his State of the Nation Address last month, President Mutharika announced construction of district hospitals in Lilongwe and Blantyre. In addition, after 16 years of waiting, Phalombe District Hospital project is starting following a No Objection by project financiers.
Instead of acknowledging government’s efforts to meet some of the challenges, PAC has resorted to trivialise the efforts to justify its move to hold a conference with the express purpose to cause anarchy in Malawi and remove the government.
This unreasonableness has dragged PAC on to the fire from the majority of its mother bodies who accuse it of peddling a political agenda, instead of a national interest one.
The regime change agenda has own constitutionality questions. The current administration did not come in because religious groups gathered and formed a government. Malawians voted in national, constitutionally backed elections. The Republican Constitution backed their vote and installed a government.
No wonder PAC is grappling with serious historic internal divisions as mother bodies accuse the organisation’s executive committee of being held to ransom by opposition political parties.