NO NEED FOR PARLIAMENTARIANS TO APOLOGIZE
Politically speaking, the Malawi democracy has not been interestingly eventful after the failed third term bid. The time between the unconstitutional third term bid to the time of the last budget session has been arguably a silly season, so to speak. Interestingly enough, the last budget session gave Malawi’s nascent democracy a new life. The interface between personal and political vested interests heading for a fatal crush with the national interests was laid bare to the extent that everyone-intelligentsias and ignoramuses alike-could give an insightful analysis of what became the order of the day in the house. The strongly-worded personal verbal exchanges, the unparliamentary foul-mouthing words, the out-of –orders and all that jazz in the house between the government benches and the opposition side-- all played a part to placing Malawi’s fragile democracy at a crossroad.
The opposition parliamentarians were demonized, slandered and threatened. Almost all adjectives in the lexicon having the denotations ‘evil-hearted, selfish’ could rightly qualify them. Having said all this, in there any need for opposition parliamentarians to apologize to the Malawi public for their behaviour in the house? The opposition parliamentarians should, first and foremost, not apologize. There is utterly no need for them to apologize because they stood up for our hard-won democracy when it was at the brink of being defiled.
The issue of section 65, itself a constitution provision, had to be defended at all costs. The opposition was hell bent towards doing this. Yet, paradoxically, instead of commending the opposition for a job well done the Malawi public wants to bring it to its knees. Much as we accept the self-evident fact that party-politics was at the heart of their tabling the section under question, it should be noted that their argument was both reasonable and constitutional, and, further to this, logically tenable. The framers of the constitution, having envisioned how easily opposition parliamentarians can be persuaded to the government benches in search of the greener pastures one is assured there, thought it wise to include the section 65 legislation so that party prostitution be minimized or done away with completely.
It is upon this visionary thinking of the framers of the constitution that the opposition parliamentarians based their argument in tabling the section to achieve what the framers of the constitution, in unanimously coming up with that section, whole-heartedly wanted to achieve. If at all, apologies have to be made then it must be the government for not towing the constitutional line drawn by the framers of the constitution on the said section. Why this should be the case is because what the government did was rightly a deliberate political move to trample the constitution to suit its own vested political interests.
Obsessed with the propagandistic phrase ‘budget ndi ndalama a Malawi’, the local masses ignorantly betrayed the opposition parliamentarians-their chosen watchdogs for government’s actions -frogmarching them to pass the budget without the implementation of the section. The government on its side chose to pay a blind eye to the section always arguing vehemently against its implementation. It even went as far as seeking a second court redress after the Supreme Court of Appeal, the highest court in the land, argued for the constitutionality of the section. The issue of impeachment tabling in the house by opposition members of parliament also attracted a considerable dust of strongly couched emotional sentiments. The government was convinced that the impeachment move was an elaborate and systematic plan by the former head of state, Dr. Bakili Muluzi, to ouster it. With this conviction spread to all its supporters and sympathisers alike its claim that the impeachment move was a political manoeuvre by the ex-president to settle old scones with him gained considerable support from people uninterested with Muluzi’s avowed desire to stand for the 2009 parliamentary and Presidential elections as a UDF torchbearer.
The grounds for the impeachment as reported in the media were clear and needed no disambiguation. But the government through the state-controlled MBC radio One and Malawi’s only television station, Television Malawi, sought to misrepresent the facts of the grounds in order to buy public sympathy something it badly needed. The sympathy gained through the disinformation, misinformation and distortion of the grounds and stand of the opposition parliamentarians made the opposition’s side to be lent deaf ears. Some disinterested political commentators, political analysists and journalists saw the rationality in the grounds the opposition based their argument for the tabling of the impeachment motion. It could be seen that what the opposition was pressing for was in line with what the constitution provided for.
Their major reason for doing that was that the Mutharika administration had flouted the constitution in choosing to be indifferent to section 65. This was both selfless and constitutional to the true sense of the words ‘selfless’ and ‘constitutional’. It would then be unreasonable and unwise for the opposition to apologize for something that has the constitutional backing even if the argument that their tabling the impeachment motion was politically motivated holds. What should be clear to political players is that any happening on the political scene, much as it cannot have overtones, has political undertones just as any dispute about land should better be settled at the farm.
The foul-mouthing, unparliamentary words that reduced our honourable members of parliament to rambunctious kindergarten kids born from ethically disoriented families became the most fundamentally degrading eyesore in the history of Malawi’s parliament. This being the case however, there is no convincing reason as to why the parliamentarians should apologize for whatever was said in the house was in response to the demands of the time. Even a patient understanding man would be emotional if the force needed to keep his emotions in control gets used up, and this is a simple fact of life.
However, our honourable parliamentarians have to be disillusioned and be taught a single, simple logic of logical argumentation: emotions and personal interests do not guarantee truth, what guarantees truth is reason and evidence. However hard and mad we can be on an issue or about someone else we should know for sure that that argument is doomed to fail but with mutual respect and selfless interests at heart every argument has a conclusion-an amiable conclusion. Having analysed what became the order of the day in the last budget session, it is convenient, safe and tenable to say that the parliamentarians in the last budget session should not apologize for whatever they said or did was in response to the needs and demands of the house then.