2009 too far
by GEORGE KASAKULA
Should we now wait for 2009 for the feud that is going on between the government and MCP and UDF to be resolved once and for all? Does it mean this is the penalty that the country has to pay for Bakili Muluzi’s mistake to impose a minority government on the country after he imposed Bingu wa Mutharika on UDF and the president left the party with some MPs?
I am saying all this because it is now clear that it will take something to break the impasse that is rocking the country. Government refused to sign the Memorandum Of Agreement facilitated by the clergy which, among other things, could have ensured that the budget is discussed now and passed as soon as possible, something that government wants.
In turn government could have made sure that Parliament is not closed until Section 65 is applied as the opposition MCP and UDF want.
Yes, Parliament has started discussing the budget but I say here it is all cosmetic and we have a long way to go before we have a full 2007/08 budget. Hasn’t MCP gone to court to challenge government for withdrawing from the Consolidated Account. Don’t they want an injunction stopping government from spending? It can take anything to spark another row and we would be back to square one.
You just have to see how MCP and UDF behaved just before they were outmanoeuvred and forced to discuss the budget. Led by their commander John Tembo, they demanded that government brings a financial resolution to validate its unauthorised spending before they could discuss the budget.
It is only pro-government MPs who responded to the budget on Tuesday before MCP and UDF fell into line on Wednesday, something that does not inspire confidence at all and does not bode well for the future.
The question is for how long and how much is the country going to pay for the personal feud of Muluzi, Bingu, and Tembo. Is it until 2009 (or is it sooner as Bingu is suggesting)?.
The budget and Section 65 are only a means for UDF and MCP to get even with Bingu. For how else do you explain an opposition that is constantly looking for excuses to block the budget at all costs. What was their interest for the tune to change from Section 65 to financial resolution to normalise the expenditure? Of course, expenditure must be legalised but why not do it by discussing the whole budget? What crime have we committed in the eyes of UDF and MCP not to have a budget two months after a new financial year?
My conclusion. We have not committed any crime. We are merely paying for Bingu’s "crime" committed to leave UDF and its Muluzi. The penalty of the "crime" cannot be paid in full until 2009 when the three will sort each other out at the poll. Some of my readers think it should be earlier and I understand them.
One of them, Matthew Timms wrote: Malawi needs a general election now to give the victor genuine authority...a mandate from the people.
Another one, Grant, was even forthright when he wrote: To Backbencher, Raw Stuff and My Diary. The truth of the matter is what the Bencher has written that JZU and Bakili think they can get the presidency. Even our children know the problem. That is why come 2009 Malawi will become a one-party state if UDF and MCP do not change leadership. The gentleman had no roots until when the issue of Section 65 was given preference.
The sad part is that before 2009 (Bingu wishes it were nearer), the feud of the three people is causing great damage to the country and in turn affecting all of us?
There is already a paralysis in some institutions like Malawi Electoral Commission which has no quorum as the commissioners Bingu appointed are being challenged in court by MCP and UDF who argue they were not consulted during their appointments. There is also paralysis in the Judiciary as this arm of government has no Chief Justice. Government is afraid of bringing nominee Lovemore Munlo to Parliament for fear of his being rejected like so many other worth Malawian men and women before him who were merely rejected for nothing else apart from the opposition throwing weight around and getting even with Bingu. So too was Steven Mchenga for auditor general, Tumalisye Ndovi for ACB director, the list is endless.
These innocent men and women were casualties of a war they do not have a clue about. They are being denied the honour of serving their country in various capacities simply because of a personal feud of three people.
While all this is happening, the donors are watching. We cannot access their free money unless there is a budget. And yet MCP and UDF are clearly unfazed. Why should they when their plan to squeeze Bingu and get even with him is working perfectly? They do not care what happens to the rest of us.
We can only wait for 2009 so that all this is settled once and for all for the people. But it looks is a bit too far for comfort.