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Sunday, May 26, 2024

A Democracy That Chakwera Resurrected

By John Saukira

Chakwera taking questions during the session

Democracy, for a governance system that it is, entails that leadership remains accountable and to the citizenry at all times. This obligation is legal in nature meaning every Head of State and Government should uphold this tenet without choice.

However, the past 26 years have taught us that sometimes it takes personal goodwill for a leader to fully abide by the rule of law when it comes to accountability as enshrined in the country’s constitution.

Only Bakili Muluzi, not on all occasions, went to Parliament to take questions from legislators. The rest after him never dared to undertake this legislative requirement.

Malawi was waiting for such a leader who was going to take this legal obligation seriously. If they were going to couple it with personal goodwill, even better.

Chakwera arriving at the Parliament

By appearing in Parliament, President Chakwera was being submissive to both Section 89, sub section 4 of the Constitution of Malawi and Parliamentary Standing Order 70, Part A.

“Not only do I feel honoured to be here, but I also feel duty-bound to comply with the law that requires this and feel morally bound to fulfil the promise I made to Malawians to do so.”
This act puts into positive perspective everything about how servant leadership fits into the democracy narrative.

While serving as Leader of Opposition in Parliament between 2014 and 2019, President Lazarus Chakwera openly expressed disgust and wonder on why the then Head of State and Government failed to appear in the chamber to take questions from Members of Parliament as provided for in legislative statutes.

His consistent schedule of appearing before the House is proof enough that he was taking Arthur Peter Mutharika to task not out of malice or politicking. It was simply the right request to leadership to follow what they vow to do when taking oath of office.

For the third time President Chakwera stood by his constitutional obligation to appear before Parliament, and for the third time in nine months he reminded Malawians why and how this country’s democracy needs to be built on a strong foundation of accountability by those elected into service.

Entrenching democracy aside, the act injects confidence in the citizenry as they get to hear from the nation’s chief executive on some key development issues.

Here was a whole Head of State freshening the commitment his administration made to Malawians when he assumed office. It this this periodic assurance that the country needs as we reformat into a gear of growth going forward.

“We may have to postpone certain activities regarding implementation due to emerging issues (Covid-19) but that doesn’t mean we are suspending anything. We are just adapting or slowing down, once all is clear we will fulfil all the promises we made.” That was his guarantee to the nation.

Information Minister Gospel Kazako listens attentively

Citizens across the board seem to be enjoying and resonating with the President’s periodic availability at Parliament.
Of great awe among Malawians is the ease with which President Chakwera undertakes a task that has been skirted by all Presidents after that single Muluzi appearance in the 90s.

Social commentator Henry Kachaje stood representative of this line of thought through a social media post on his Facebook page.

“Having watched the President answer questions in Parliament this afternoon, I can’t help but wonder: Why were the previous Presidents failing to do this constitutional duty? Why were they so afraid to face Parliament?” he queried, concluding his sentiment praising the President for setting the bar high in this aspect.

Reactions to this post varied but a majority agreed with his sentiments. “When your conscience is clear and clean you don’t fear anything,” read one comment.

Through all his actions, the President is setting a legal and moral habit that must be respected by all future leaders.

Leader of the House Richard Chimwendo Banda
Lilongwe East MP Hon. Ezekiel Ching’oma also listening attentively to the President
Gender Minister Patricia Kaliati also attended the session

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  1. nyalugwe kuchepsa yamnzake koma iye akapha chiwala achita chokoka. taonera momwemo mwambi wa gulugufe woti only going to parliament=democrat. we are yet to see another side of this democrat as we approach 2023.


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