Why is the opposition failing to read the writing on the wall?
BY The Daily Times
09:31:07 - 18 July 2007
Malawians with the welfare of the people at heart ought to be disappointed that the opposition continues to pay a deaf ear to the cries and pleas of the people on the importance by the National Assembly to prioritise discussing the national budget before Section 65.
Unbelievably, both MCP and UDF leaders Tuesday also said they are disappointed that the Government side in the House has not capitulated on their demand that the House should first deal with the Section 65 issue before the budget.
The consequences of the impasse between the two sides, that is, the failure by Parliament to pass the budget, although not yet being fully felt now, will be disastrous in the not-too-distant future.
For now, some of the things that are already suffering are that ministries and government departments cannot make long term plans on development projects since they are being funded on a month-to-month basis.
Unfortunately, this looks like will be the case for the next few months. With the nation entering the second half of July with no idea of when the budget will be discussed and delivered to people's doorsteps, it is very likely that government will have to engage another stop-gap measure.
The development also means that government cannot also begin to take the budget to the people through paying the new perks for civil servants and chiefs as well as implement tax measures that are meant to help certain sectors.
In fact, it is hopelessly disappointing that the opposition cannot listen to the pleas and wishes of the people, chiefs, leaders of non-governmental organizations, students, the clergy, lawyers, etc., who want the MPs to serve the people they represent and not to behave like their masters.
UDF and MCP MPs as law-makers are expected to be better informed about the need to exhaust the processes in the application and interpretation of the law.
What is happening now is a continuation of the application of the ruling on Section 65. The opposition cannot claim the government side in the House is gagging the Speaker by obtaining an injunction restraining him from declaring some seats vacant.
Anyone, including the MP who got the injunction, has the right to seek legal redress through the courts on issues they feel they have been unfairly treated. If the MP did not have that right, the courts, whose job is to interpret the law, would not have granted them the reprieve they got. What we see, on the other hand, is a desperate bid by an estranged opposition to usurp the role of the Judiciary.
The opposition should let the judicial process take its full course, which will evidently take time because there are no shortcuts in legal and judicial processes. But that process is, surely, underway.
In fact, some MPs such as MCP president John Tembo, have previously benefited from same legal processes in the past when they were thrown out of the same House after being convicted on contempt of court charges. Tembo and former MCP secretary general Kate Kainja were saved by the same courts through a similar process. So what is the problem now?
As we have said before, the opposition is digging their own graves. They will need the same people whom they are victimising now to put them back into Parliament in 2009.
By now, the opposition should have read the bold and clear writing on the wall and swallowed their pride. They should not be deceived that people will forget. No way.