Thursday, April 26, 2007

FUTURE OF SOUTHRN AFRICAN ECONOMIES DEPEND ON STRENGTHENING OF THE REGIONAL BODIES: A CRTICAL ANALYSIS

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INTRODUCTION
Southern African economies, over the past decades have been on crisis. As a matter of fact, the economic situation has been deteriorating in this region up to the revel that Malawi is now ten times poorer than it was a decade a go (The Lamp # 14:1). In general, Africa is worse off than the time of independence. The situation does not seem to be improving, and economically, the region is in deep crisis. Long term growth is needed to move Southern Africa out of its economic trap into a sustainable economic path. Many strategies are being put in place to achieve this. One of the strategies having been introduced is the establishment of regional bodies like Southern African Development Conference (SADC) . Some development proponents have argued that the future of Southern African economies depends on strengthening these regional bodies. This article gives a critical explanation of my viewpoint to see how valid this proposition is. It looks at the subject of strengthening regional integration as one way of moving the region out of its crisis.

This article has been divided into six phases. The first section gives a brief over view of Southern African economies. The second part focuses on some of the factors that have led the region into its present scenario. This section traces both external and internal factors. Having looked at the economic situation that the region has been trapped in, the article in its third part introduces the concept of regional integration which results into regional bodies. The article will also give some of the advantages. There after, the article looks at SADC as one of the regional bodies that were set up to encourage regional integration and with an aim of removing the region from its economic crisis. Having looked at SADC as a case study, the article gives some of challenges of regional integration in Southern Africa with a focus on why despite having SADC, the region is still in crisis. From this outlook of region integration, the article gives a critical appraisal to see if the future of Southern African economies sorely depends on strengthening of regional bodies. This part also gives some recommendations of what ought to be done if regional integration has to be successful. Thereafter, the last part is the conclusion.

SOUTHERN AFRICAN ECONOMIES IN CRISIS
Southern African region seems to have come into a full circle to a position of real promise in the four decades since most countries in the region attained independence. At independence there were great expectations of rapid economic and social progress. However, no any great economic improvement has been achieved ever since. The region is in great economic crisis. As a region, Southern Africa is economically at the crossroads. Regardless of the economic strategies that are carried in the region, it remains the poorest region in the world. According to the UNDP’s 2000 human Development Report, of the 43 countries on its least of developed countries, 29 are in SSA, and 74% of the low human development on the HDI belongs to this region. Southern Africa, which is part of the SSA, has both economic and human development declining. Ahmed and Cleeve (2004:15) describe Southern African region as the “the only major region where per capita income…has declined over an extended period of time”. Southern Africa is the only region where economic development appears to be moving in reverse with different development strategies failing to halt the spiral (ibid). Malawi, a country in the region, according to The Lamp# 14(1), is now ten times poorer than it was a decade ago. No wonder, the region continues to have economic indicators that are among the worst in the world. Economically, this is partially with the economic crisis as growth stagnated in the 1980 and although a number of countries in the region undertook far reaching economic reforms, the region’s aggregate economic performance remained disappointingly weak, with falling real incomes per capita (Ahmed and Cleeve, 2004:12). Economically, it is therefore indispensable that the southern African region is in crisis. No wonder the region is the poorest in the world since income is highly linked to the development of any nation . All in all, the region is economically in great economic crisis.

FACTORS FOR THE CRISIS
1. SOME EXTERNAL FACTORS
There are many factors that have led to the present economic situation. Both external shocks and domestic factors contribute to the overall poor economic performance in Southern Africa. On the first place, it should be pointed out that there are many external factors that have contributed to the economic crisis in the region. Firstly, the present economic situation has its roots beyond colonization era. Josef D. Zalot critically asserts that “the intention of colonizers was not to develop the continent…but to exploit Africa ands its resources for their own personal wealth and [that of the] mother nation”. Furthermore, colonialists followed a labor intensive and seized land from their indigenous people who ended up being homeless. Thirdly, the colonialists followed the monoculture system. African countries continue to have focus on a single product as the primary means of moving into prosperity (ibid). Malawi highly depends on tobacco, which is deteriorating on the world market. This follows that in terms of price devaluation, the region has no any other income generating product. Additionally, since many countries in the region retained the monoculture system, their economic fortunes are tied to the prices they receive for their goods on the international markets.
A. FOREGN INVESTMENT, AID and DEBT
Further more, some external factors that have risen to the crisis are the decline in the levels of foreign investment and unintended effect of foreign aid and debt. On the first hand, in the 1980s net foreign investment in Africa fell by over 50% from US$1.22 billion to $ 498 million. The region is characterized with low investment rates (15-20%) and lower saving rate (10-15%) (Page, 2000:34). Aid also declined in years that followed tremendously. Official development aid to Southern Africa had fallen to US$12.3billion by the end of 1999 from US$17.2 billion a decade before (Ahmed and Cleeve, 2004:22). The region therefore lacks finances to service their deteriorating income which is left to keep on declining. Additionally, when donors give out aid they have target areas where the aid is directed, thereby addressing some of which have no any capacity to generate income. In most cases, such aid is just wasted without improving the economic capacity of the countries. On the other hand, Africa is in crisis because of the debt. When African countries were gaining independence, they ventured into extensive borrowing to provide people with expectations as well as with an effort to shore up their deteriorating economies and shrinking domestic resources base (Ahmed and Cleeve, 2004:13). However, given the very low and declining rates of return on public outlays plus increase in interest rates, external debts often became unsustainable. No wonder, arrears accumulated and the amount of debt to be repaid reached unbearable level. External indebtedness shows that from a starting position of MK980.6 million in 1984, Malawi descended into a deep pit which stood at MK 373, 219.63 million in 2005 (Hajat, 2007:7). Debt serving for Malawi, before the debt relief, comprised of MK152.6 million in 1985 and rose to an untenably high figure of MK10.8 billion in 2005, whilst interest payments rose from MK 62.8 million to MK3.2 billion during the same period . This follows that African countries, especially the high borrowing countries which are found in the Southern African region, repay more on debt than they got. It is therefore not surprising that Zalot (ibid) critically states that “the international community, unethically demand repayments of debt that exists primarily as a result of increase in interest rates”. However, over years the economic problem that plunged the Malawian economy, just like in many African countries, saw the country move into a negative GDP growth rates ranging from -4.4% in 1980 to -5.2% in 1981 even in the presence of heavy borrowing (Chilowa, 1991:2). The foreign debt for Southern Africa reached US$ 290 billion in 1992 making it the most debt-distressed region in the world (Ihonvbere, n.d:130). Debt affects the economic status in Southern Africa because its servicing began to drain massive economic resources from the region with US$ 26 million paid out in 1991 alone (ibid). Expenditure on other economic strategies continues to decline drastically since focus is on debt servicing.
B. FOREGN POLICIES
Most importantly, Southern African Economy is in crisis because of the foreign income policies that have been pursued in the region. The donor community mostly dictates policies that are not applicable to the region and respective countries. As for the donor community, they follow a principle of ‘a policy that works in one country works for all’ ignoring the differences in development levels and availability of resources of different countries (ibid). The countries in the region, just like other poor countries in the world over, accept these policies so as to qualify for the aid and debt. The most common inappropriate economic policies to have been carried in the region are the Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs). As it became apparent that the economic borrowing could not be alleviated by high levels of borrowing, the Government of Malawi embarked on a program to deal with its structural problems and by 1981/82 period a broad-based structural adjustment program was launched to restore economy to some levels of sustainable economic levels (ibid). SAPs were implemented and designed in such a way as to give incentives to the production of tradable, rationalize government expenditure and strengthen key institutions (ibid). This was with a view to set up the stage for sustainable macroeconomic growth. Trade was to be liberated, subsidies were supposed to be removed and companies be privatized. However, SAPs have been criticized from the word go. Devereaux and Cook (2001:1) critically assert that “[SAPs], as conventionally designed and derived, leave the [economic] needs of the poor countries in adequately addressed”. The IMF and The World Bank transplanted the SAPs in Southern Africa “without taking the views of the people in the poor countries, hence SAPs had little adaptation to local realities” (ibid). SAPs reflected the experts’ priorities rather than local realities. The common principles for SAPs were the need for market liberalization and privatization with a premise of increasing economic efficiency . However, market liberalization and removal of subsidy has resulted into high prices. Secondly, privatization process which is an ingredient of SAPs, has led to high unemployment levels and reduction of real wages as private entities could not mange a concentrated company in the country. Privatization does not provide any restraining or alternative opportunity because SAPs force government to trim their budgets . In short, SAPs have failed to achieve in most southern African countries as it has increased unemployment rate, lowered income for people in the informal sector and expenditure on development services like education and health in the name of lowering public expenditure hence lowering the levels of HDI. This resulted into the worsening of social indicators. Significantly to note, just like in almost all countries in Southern Africa where the policies were set, SAPs failed to lead the country into a significant structural change in the economy (Chilowa, 1994:33-34). Weeks (1996:101-2) sees that SAPs have failed to transform Southern Africa “by all relevant criteria as it focused on state stabilization and not growth”. It was based on the presumption that countries operates independently of each other. SAPs regarded poor countries as mere recipient rather than the actual agents of change . Modern integration must therefore consider the poor countries as the protagonist of the integration process if economic growth is to be sustained.
Like SAPs, capitalism has also a hand in the economic situation in Africa. Just like SAPs, capitalism encourages market liberalization, a strategy that failed during SAPs. SAPS forced Africa to unilaterally liberalize their trade regimes, a development that has failed Africa. All in all, externally, the most important factors that militate against Southern African economies is the forced repayment of debt which approaches levels of GNP and the imposition of SAPs.

2. INTERNAL FACTORS
Apart from the external factors, Africa is in crisis because of some other internal factors that, like the external factors, have a hand in causing the present income scenario. Firstly, the Southern African region is identified with poor governance. It is factually proved that poor governance work against income growth because of resource misallocation (ibid). There were rampant cases of corruption and intolerance, which are all signs of poor governance, over the past decade in the country. Another important internal factor is economic and political instability. There have been cases of high political instability and economic inflation in many countries in Southern Africa like Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi. The Kampala Declaration (cited in Ihonvbere, n.d:125) clearly asserts that “the erosion of security and stability is one major causes of [Africa’s] continuing crises and one of the principal impediments to the creation of a sound economy and effective intra-and inter-African cooperation”. The increase of political violence in the region chases any sort of investors. No investor is motivated to invest in a country where the probability of an eruption of wars is high. The region has been characterized with civil wars. A very good example is that Malawi’s economy began to weaken in the late 1970s because of the disruption of trade route through Mozambique where there was a civil war. All in all foreign capital flows into countries that show signs of stability and progress (ibid).

Additionally, another important factor is the brain drain. Sefa Dei and Asghrzade (2002:31) explain that “basically, the brain drain entails the transfer of human knowledge, experience, skill and expertise from one area…to another”. Eventually, the movement is oriented towards the most highly developed countries. However, this has resulted into the shortage of skilled and potential human resources that could develop the region economically. Just like the slave trade, Southern Africa is left with less productive citizens that can produce economic results. Related to brain drain, Southern Africa economies face its greatest challenge in unbearable rise in the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Ahmed and Cleeve (2004:24) observe rightly that “the spread of HIV/AIDS threatens any income development strategy since the victims are potential and productive citizens in the region”. This follows that the region does not improve economically and remains in crisis. Further more, a lot of money is spent on buying drugs the AIDS related diseases instead of being allocated in other areas where they can generate high profits.

All in all, the causes of these crisis, aggravated by severe drought of the past several years plus the above factors , by and large, southern African countries apart from few like South Africa, less developed than those countries on other countries (White head, 1986). The region has also suffered from deteriorating terms of trade. Altogether, sub-Saharan Africa’s terms of trade have declined by approximately 13% since 1977, with each 1% costing these countries about US$200 million in lost net export earnings (ibid).

Due to the above factors, Southern Africa, in all economic indicators, has made very little progress since political independence in the 1960. Ihonvbere (n.d:125) states that the region lags very behind other developing regions, not only in economic indicators but also ink other indicators of development.

REGIONAL INTEGRATION
With an attempt to remove Southern Africa from the economic crisis trap, many strategies have been introduced and pursued in the region. One of the most popular strategies being pursued in the whole region is Regional Integration. The concept of Regional Integration is a very complex concept and it has so many meanings. Wikipedia (2006) defines regional integration as “a process in which state enter into supranational regional organization in order to increase regional cooperation and diffuse tension” . A critical point in this definition is that countries come together to form a community and function for the benefit of the whole regional society with un understanding that various countries in the region are essential elements in for the development of the whole region. Secondly, Lee (2003:8) critically agrees that regionalism, which results from regional integration, is an ambiguous term. She goes on to define regional integration as “the adoption of a regional project by a formal regional economic organization designed to enhance the political, economic, social, cultural and security integration and/or cooperation of member states”. This definition is such a critical one as it also includes other spheres in integration apart from the economic that most scholars assert. Regional integration, as seen in this definition ranges from economic perspective to any type of social activity among actors in a particular region. This is why the term also becomes ambiguous, that apart from having so many definitions with no exact meaning, regional integration also results due to some other social needs. It must therefore clearly be pointed here that regional integration involves interaction of different societal forces within a region. By analyzing the above definitions, in this essay regional integration means the “process by which states within a particular region enter into a cooperation to increase the levels of interaction with regard to economical, security, political and cultural issues”. Bach (cited on Lee, 2003:8) explains that formal regional integration is “represented by institutional forms of cooperation or integration” and is defined as the aggregation and fusion into broader units of existing territories or field of interventions. As for the informal network, Bach (ibid) states that “it is represented by trans-state and results in the exploitation of dysfunctions and disparities generated by existing boundaries with debilitating effects on sate territorial control”. It is the inform way of rectifying trans-state problems in an informal way.

A range of different set of ideas explains integration. As for Africa, Lee (2003:22) observes that regional integration has largely been pursued within the context of three theories. Firstly, regional integration has pursued in the form of market/economic integration. According to Lee (ibid), this is a strategy that SADCC members rejected when it was being established but it was later adopted and is being pursed by the current transformed bloc. This strategy refers to different degrees of integration in the same linear progression. Market integration has different forms which include Free Trade Area (FTA), Customs Union (CU), Common Market, Economic Union Total Economic Integration and Political Union. The second theory that explains regionalism in Africa is regional cooperation. By adopting this strategy in 1980, SADCC was attempting to enhance the development of the region in order to bring about regional structural transformation (ibid). The primary concern was altering the economic structures of dependence that existed between SADCC member states and apartheid regime in South Africa as enhanced regional trade though market integration was to be a future goal of the body. Lastly, development integration is another set of ideas that explains Africa’s regional integration that focuses only on social development (ibid).
· ADVANTAGES
Regionalism is viewed by many as an ideal possible way for Southern Africa to arrest its economic crisis and Africa’s further marginalization within the world economy abet through pursuing a “new regional agenda”. Regional integration is considered as a very important development in transforming the region’s economic situation. Firstly, regional blocs make it inevitable to bring about strengthening of transnational trade and finances in order to achieve meaningful economic growth and development (Olubomelin and Kawonishe, 2004) . Successful regional integration reduces transaction costs. Olubomelin and Kawonishe (ibid) observe that “the same commodity is expensive at a [Malawian] market than at the South African market”. This is so because South Africa has ports and no transport expenses and no internal tariffs are added to the commodity while all these are added in Malawi (ibid). As a result of these, goods are expensive in the interior landlocked countries. However, with regional bodies, these tariffs are removed for member countries and good costs almost the same price regardless of how far the country is from sea ports. Further more, regional integration allows economies of scale, attracts direct investments and makes macro economic coordination easier (ibid). This is because, due to integration, countries become like one since integration results into a community of countries. Olesegun Obasanjo, the State President of Nigeria, in support of this fact, asserted that
“regional economic cooperation and integration make it possible for African countries to collectively build integrative
infrastructure in transport, communication energy and [any trade infrastructure]] which would otherwise be too costly for individual, small and fragmented African countries to undertake. Above all, in the ruthlessly competitive world of globalization and [market] liberation, cooperation and integration offers [African states] the only chance to be relevant and to speak with one voice in international negotiations” (cited in Olubomelin and Kawonishe, 2004).
This follows that economic growth for Southern Africa can be achieved with collective action. This follows that strengthening of regional bodies is ideal to achieve economic growth since integration removes trade barriers.

· CHALLENGES
Even though African governments began creating regional blocs with a view to enhance economic growth and development, up to date, these objectives have not been achieved. This is because regional integration in Southern Africa has faced different challenges. This phase of an essay provides a brief overview of some challenges of regional integration in the region.

Lack of commitment is the first most important challenge that is ruining the successful of regional integration in Southern Africa. Different countries don’t have the political will to put the common agenda of the region as their priorities. Shams (22003:16) into the economic observe that this is partially “due to different political ideologies of the member countries and their external alliances, and also due to the problems arising from the distribution of gains from integration”. Countries that follow different government ideologies can hardly integrate. This is why South Africa was being excluded in SADCC, and joined SADC when it moved from apartheid to multiparty democracy. Furthermore, just as globalization has been criticized, gains obtained from regional integration are unequally distributed among the member states. This forces other countries to fully participate in programs of regional bodies in Southern Africa.

Secondly, regional integration fails to succeed because of overlapping of membership in regional blocs that have similar goals and objectives (Lee, 2003:235). This is possible because countries lack the political commitment to regionalism and end up taking part in different regional blocs. At present Malawi belongs to both SADC and COMESA. Even though this might results to increase trade areas, overlapping of membership prevents the successful of implementing goals and projects which becomes problematic (Sham, 2003:16). Member countries would be unwilling to implement goals which would not fully address their needs when the other bloc has programmes that are ideal for their need. All in all, the overlapping of membership, just as Lee (2003:2) asserts significantly, undermines regional integration as a result of the inevitable regulations and commitments because they are obliged to blocs with similar objectives. because

Most importantly regionalization has failed to be rooted in Africa because most of the regional blocs have no common value (Nathan, 2004:92). As a result most individual countries have different values among that sometimes conflict those of regional blocks. As a result, it becomes hard temperament operations in the region. So far, efforts at regionalism have been an elite affair as countries lack different agendas (Ihonvbere, n.d148). Further more, as evident in SADC, regional integration is not succeeding in its programmes because member countries are reluctant to surrender a measure of sovereignty in decision making (ibid). As there is great absence of political will and common goals in regional blocs in Southern Africa, mutual trust and shared vision is also no present. As a result countries prefer working on an individual basis to address their needs.

Additionally, region integration in Southern Africa has highly been undermined by NEPAD. Melber (2004:87) points out that “NEPAD undermines regional blocs as programmes [it carries in the region] are implemented mainly by countries and not by regional blocs”. The significance role of regional bodies is therefore not felt as important. This can also be seen in the African Union’s idea to be the supreme voice of development economic strategies within the sub-regions, a role which is supposed to be carried by specific regional bodies. Ihonvbere (n.d:134) also notes that “intra-trade cooperation has been impossible as a precipitate of lack of security and instability, as consequently, instability and economic crisis in one country reduces the stability most all other African Countries”. As already indicated, Southern Africa is best with macroeconomic instability because of mismanagement, corruption and economic policies which are imposed by the donor countries (Lee, 2003:3). In Additional, Southern Africa is also in economic crisis because of globalization. Nye (in Lee, 2003:15) defines globalization as a “state of the world involving networks of interdependence at multi continental distance. Globalization has resulted into the proliferation of regional blocs, market economic policies spreading around the world, market liberalization and privatization (SAPs). However, the major beneficiaries of this strategy have been the core countries of the world economy. Prices and economic policies are mostly predetermined either by the World Trade Organization or by high-income superpowers. Malawi and other poor countries in the region do not have a say on export prices like tobacco

In addition that regional integration has deteriorated in Africa is the argument raised by some other proponents that regional blocs for the region should highly depend on South Africa. Chinsinga (2001:1) wrongly asserts that South Africa “being both a regional economic and political power, [it] is better placed to guide the integration of Southern Africa sub-region towards the highly competitive and volatile global market”. In as far as South Africa can play crucial role in engaging the economic forces, it also has its priorities at the expense of other countries (see Tambulasi and Kayuni). Economic and state driven integration is obsolete (van Nieuwkerk, 2006:8). By focusing only on trade, most of the integrations have ignored other facets that have caused the crisis. These facets are left to accumulate. Ochwada (2004:73) therefore argues that “while strategies for regional integration have [had] good objectives, they…certainly remain attractive on paper if other social factors” that contribute to the economic crisis are not considered as crucial in the integration processes. There are many facets of factors that have contributed to the economic crisis of the region.

SADC AS A REGIONAL BLOC
This phase, having looked at the general over view of regional integration, gives a practical framework of SADC that will allow us to see if indeed strengthening of regional blocs is ideal for the future of Southern African Economies. Regionalism in Southern Africa has a long-standing tradition. Ochwada (2004:76) highlights that “integration schemes in Africa predates pre-colonial times as people coexisted and lived mutually without regard of rigid political boundaries. Furthermore, Tambulasi and Kayuni (2005:147) agree with Ochwada by indicating that “ubuntu is the basis of African communal life hence a basis of cooperation…[as it] brings the nature of African image of supportiveness and cooperation in the interests of regional building”. This follows that regional integration is rooted in the African culture. In southern Africa, the political appeal of regional integration has historically been strengthened by apartheid regime in South Africa. The Kampala Declaration, which is a result of African Leaders Forum in May 1991, acknowledges that “the sovereignty of every African state and …the development of every African country is in inseparable linked with those of other African state (cited in Ihonvbere n.d: 134). The declaration calls for the common agenda because “Africa can not make any progress on any other front without creating collective agenda”. The “Cooperation Calabash”, an aspect of the Kampala Declaration, no wonder affirms that “African countries cannot expect to compete or develop individually, in the evolving international economic system dominated by regional economic blocs and globalization” (cited in Ihonvbere, n.d: 145). This assertion is calling for collective regional cooperation.

There are many regional bodies in southern Africa. These include SADC, COMESA and SACU. This essay focuses only at SADC. For the sake of this essay, we will only look at SADC as a case study. SADC was formulated in 1980, as SADCC with a primary objective to reduce economic dependence Southern African Countries on apartheid regime of South Africa (Chinsinga, 2002:3). SADCC was formed as a strategy to counter apartheid destabilization strategies and promote decolonization in Southern Africa region. Lee (2003:4) clearly indicate that by focusing of this agenda “SADCC’s major function was political so as to mite the region against the apartheid regime of South Africa”. In this regard, the agenda could only be achieved through regional cooperation. This objective was political in nature. However, the objectives were not achieved since, instead of being independent of South Africa’s economy, with destabilization policy in South Africa, member states increased their economic dependency by 1989 (ibid:45). This makes it clear that countries in southern Africa could not survive economically without South Africa . SADCC failed since the strategy of regional cooperation was not deep and changes were not accomplished regarding key issues (Lee, 2003:23). Because it failed to achieve its objectives, through the Windhoek Treaty of 1992, SADCC was transformed into SADC in 1992 (Shams, 2003:22) with trade as its major agenda of its regional protocol so as to establish a Free Trade Area (FTA) (ibid). This transformation was enhanced by destabilization strategies followed by South Africa and by globalization . Member states of SADCC felt that Market integration was a necessity equipment to avoid further marginalization on the world market and reduce the economic dependence on South Africa (ibid:7). Unlike SADCC, which was designed to make a greater political statement rather than an economic one, SADC’s major objective was therefore to foster market integration, making the objective be trade oriented. Ever since the transformation it SADC, intra and international trade has been encouraged.

However, the economy situation of the region has not been improved. Southern Africa remains the poorest region in the world with 40% of 600 million people living on less than a dollar a day (ibid: 1). The number of poor people in the region has tremendously increased and deepened. Most of the poorest countries in the world are from this region, with Malawi being the 11th poorest country (the World Bank Report, 2006). Southern Africa is significantly worse off today than they were at the point of freedom from colonial domination, [forty] years ago (The World Bank, cited in Ihonvbere, n.d:129). Even in the presence of SADC, economic conditions are not improving in the region.

FACTORS HINDERING SADC
There are so many factors that hinder SADC, just like any other integration to transform the region economic condition. Firstly, high economic growth is needed. Blaauw and Bishchoff (cited on Chinsinga, 2002:12) infer that “the region must create at least 8% annual economic growth rate if is to make substantial roads into the reduction of its economic crisis”. This is a huge amount in as far as economic growth is concerned and Chinsinga (2002:12-13) clearly asserts that “the prevailing circumstances [in the region] make it unrealistic to think that SADC could reach, let alone sustain this level of growth”. Secondly, member states lack the political will to implement the objectives of the bloc. Countries have no common value and are reluctant to surrender a measure of sovereignty in decision making . Most countries in SADC have individual goal as a result of this political will. The lack of political will to foster the bloc’s agenda can easily be seen in South Africa’s idea to venture into an agreement with the EU without the consent of other member states of the region . South Africa made unilateral negotiations with the EU on Free Trade Agreement without consulting other members of SADC (Bischoff, 2003:15). In addition, SADC lacks the economic tool to remove dependence syndrome on the international economy and in particular the deleterious economies and social effects of SAPs (Pallotti, 2004:592). Furthermore, the neo liberal market pursued by SADC in 1990s has worsened the economic condition (ibid).

The transformation of SADCC into SADC has actually meant the loss of any regional capacity to ably promote the structural transformation of the economies in the region. Pallotti (2004:515) critically observe that the “transformation however…did not elaborate any program and strategies [and up to now] member states have not reached an agreement on new industrialization strategy”. This is why liberalization of intra-regional trade has become the only pillar of economic integration strategy promoted by SADC.

Additionally, SADC is failing to succeed because of the high levels of political and economic instability. Dr. Bakili Muluzi, then Chairman of the SADC, argued that SADC’s economic goal will be irrelevant unless the region achieve peace and economic security”. Peace and economic stability are prerequisites for economic growth since it attracts different investors. However, fledging democracies in Malawi, DRC and Zimbabwe undermines SADC’s effort to integrate Southern Africa into an economic bloc. No wonder, economic growth is failing to be increased as there are great resource mismanagement in the region and also great political violence. Economic and political instability in the SADC region also poses major challenges to the implementation of a successful strategy of regionalism, hence regionalism is not rooted in the region.

All in all, regionalism has failed because the region lacks the prerequisite of good governance. Leaders in the region highly undermine the provisions of the constitution which is the principle of good governance. This can be seen in the delay of local government elections in Malawi (Nkhoma, 2007:15) and in the undemocratic top-down approach that political parties follow which floods into the government system at large (Nkhoma, 2007:8). It is therefore inevitable to have bad governance since undemocratic procedures seem to be rooted in people in the region at a large as seen in Malawi and also Zimbabwe. Good governance is a prerequisite for both regional integration and sustainable growth.

RECOMMENDATIONS
The task to transform the Southern African region into a haven of prosperity appears quite a significant challenge. A lot must be done so that regional integration assists in the development of the economic environment in the region. Most importantly, for programs to succeed, regional integration objectives must be clear, and more important, national interests, regional goals, and sovereignty issues should be balanced and harmonized a buy-in by Africans at grassroots levels, including civil society and the private sector. Regional integration should not only be a building of the state presidents . Countries must review all other challenges that SADC has faced like lack of political will so that they pursue a common agenda in its program. Within the context of strengthening regional integration in Southern Africa, some of its regional economic hegemony like South Africa must avoid tactics used by triad blocs to enhance their access to regional markets by creating special economic relations with these countries in the form of Free Trade Agreements (Lee, 2003:41). Other facets also need to be considered because there can be no growth and integration without peace, security and stability as seen in this essay. The ultimate objective, as seen from this essay, should be to integrate the region into some sort of an indigenously managed regional order with a participatory bottom up approach (Ochiwada, 2004:76). Income growth is a result of both political as well as social factors rather than trade alone. All in all, there is a long way to go to place Southern Africa on a sound economic path. Regional Integration should incorporate other social services rather than trade alone. Since trade-focused market integration schemes have failed in Africa, a regional strategy that deals with economic and political realities of the Southern African region should begin by unequivocally rejecting market integration (ibid). Governments should also come up with the strategies for enhancing trade without adversely affecting the weaker member states, without imposing income policies. In addition, consideration can be taken of the prospect for increased intra-regional trade without creating a free trade area or common market (Lee, 2003:237).

Deep regional integration should also include the informal sector if it has to succeed. Reattaching the informal sector to the informal economy would itself lend to more potential for enhancing economic development and regionalism. A good example is that if half of Malawi’s trade with its neighbor takes place in the informal trade sector, it can be concluded that a high degree of integration exists (ibid: 238).

CONCLUSION
From this essay, it can therefore be inferred that strengthening of regional bodies can hardly succeed in the getting lid of the economic situation. There are so many facets that contribute to the economic crisis. Unless regional bodies are formulated to address all these dimensions, nothing tangible can be achieved by the strengthening of regional blocs. In conclusion, this essay has tried to explain my viewpoint to see if the future of Southern African economies depends on strengthening of regional bodies like SADC. We see that to remove Africa from its economic crisis, a lot has to be done. From the essay, we see that regional bodies in Southern Africa leave a lot to be desired, hence economic crisis can hardly be eradicated with strengthening of these blocs.

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Globalism

Hajat, R (2007) “A Look at Malawi’s Economic Landscape”. In The Lamp, N64, March-April 2007pp6-7

Haralambos, M and M. Holborn (2004) Sociology: Themes and Perspective, London: Collins

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Nationalism? In 21st Century African Review: A Journal of Issues in the African Community, Vol1#1.



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Multifaceted Relationship with the Rest of Africa. Unpublished

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Nkhoma, P (2007) “Muluzi can Bounce Back, Only if…”. In The Sunday Times, March 18, 2007p8.

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Civil Society”. In African Development, Vol.xxix.No.2pp53-79

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Africa. http://www.ssnflinders.edu.au/global/atsaap/conferences/2004proceedings.Olubomehin.PDF
Retrieved on 29th March, 2007

Page, S (2000) Regions and Development: Politics, Security and Economics, London: Frank

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Political Economy # 101:pp513-31

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Course in Africa. Available on
http://wb.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/COUNTRIES/AFRICAEXT/SOUTHAFRICAEXTN?0,,contentMDK:212314 Retrieved on February 22, 2007

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the African Brain Drain”. In African Issues, Volxxx/1.pp31-36

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HWWA Discussion Pape#251,November, 2003. available on www.hwwa.de. Pp1-35

Tambulasi, R and H. Kayuni (2005) “Can African Feet Divorce Western Shoes? The Case of ‘Ubuntu’ and
Democratic Good Governance in Malawi”. In Nordic Journal of African Studies, Vol14/2pp147-161.

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http://www.acton.org/article.php?article=144 Retrieved on 29th March, 2007.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regional_integration Last Modified on 17th February, 2007.

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Studies, Vol.22.No.1, March 1996.pp99-117.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

MBUYA: CLINGING TO THE LAST THREAD OF A ROPE

By Pacharo Felix Munthali
Primordially like a prescription issued by a doctor, with no traits of drugs traceable in pharmacy, it was like a sheer witticism when one Kajiso Gondwe, UDF governor for the north stunned the nation, coming out of his cocoon to bring to light, the issue that myriad of UDF gurus were dilly-dallying to comment on, that the first president in the first years of democracy, come what may, will make a come back and take part in 2009 presidential elections.

As if other regional governors and some politicians were impetuously waiting in wings, putting every action and reaction under the microscope, probably ready to seize any opportunity that may crop up, they abut on the bandwagon of individuals championing for Bakili Muluzi to run in 2009 presidential race. Frankly speaking, what has followed is a mad rush of individuals calling beyond God’s heavens that the former president should run again at all cost.

Meticulously anatomising a legion of those fighting for the running of Bakili Muluzi, people of different aspirations, education, sense of responsibility and of course, political successes, it is lucid that some of them like Cheperone winds fickle. One of them that is not only intriguing, but also intricate to elucidate is one time godfather of the lower Shire, a person, who when MCP was sailing through troubled water was as calm as cucumber, a person who with his infant RP managed to secure not less than 16 seats in parliament. That’s Gwanda Chakuamba, probably his side of strengths.

Nevertheless, the man also has a side that up to date overshadows any drip of success his life revelled in.

Just a miniscule dose of his bygone days, the man contested in the presidential elections twice and lost to the very same Muluzi in 1999 general elections and to Mutharika in 2004, after all these elections the man had vehemently been speaking in tongues that the results were not true reflections of votes of electorates. He claimed to have been robbed.

The man is an industrious actor in as far as amusing people with his unpredictable movements that if he were a striker, he would have teased defenders this way and that at will. He is probably the only politician who has manoeuvred a lot, jumping from one party to another. Remember he dumped MCP for UDF then back to MCP. From MCP, he formed his Republican Party, before joining UDF, dumping it for DPP; from DPP he formed New Republican Party before going back to UDF. After RP had refused to be used as his briefcase, now NRP is his briefcase. He is amorphous.

He left MCP after the leadership wrangles, before illegally attempting to deregister his RP for having joined DPP. To him to be given MG5 for MG3 was a sign of demotion and he dumped the government in the process. At times he had not been good to Muluzi either, having a better part of Muluzi’s credentials during campaigns was one of his hobbies, before now becoming vocal presumably from his political graveyard in this Ayimanso slogan.

The call by Chakuamba that all opposition parties should join hands to defeat Mutharika is not only impossible, by examining how Chakuamba and Tembo were, but also ill intentioned. It is more of a conspiracy than being a call intoxicated with ingredients of rationality. Its typical of definition of politics called Ndale in Malawian context.

In a sudden paradox of his claims, the political instability, economic mismanagement and corruption are some of the reasons enough for the opposition to gang up in attempt to defeat Mutharika, yet the very same reasons were at play when the country was locked up in financial mix-up during the second term of democracy. The nation needs not to point out at debt relief, for the first time in as many years, tunes of hunger are no longer making rounds, and the inflow of monies from donors, and the list is just endless. He should know is that to put economy back on track especially the one that was messed up pathetically, its difficult, especially in the environment where oppositional party parties motives are to enrich themselves and pin you down.

One then can be put in wonderland if his reportedly support to defeat Mutharika is indeed built on true senses, not to serve personal vendetta. Further, one is short of words when she/he tries to find the proper reason why the man from his comatose is back, because any reason he will forward will be like he is just recycling it further.

Was he (Chakuamba) not the one who was full of praises of Mutharika when they were together in government, before saying all negative later? Muluzi was not spared either. The problem is that the politicians in this country are more of the gormandisers; always seizing opportunities by the neck where it seems the opportunity is about to glow. Chakuamba pretty well knows that if Muluzi is allowed to contest, judging based on the last three general elections, with his charisma that can leave Bush foaming with envy, assurance of winning is high, at least Gwanda Chakuamba will as well be guaranteed of being a Minister of …and enjoy himself beyond boundaries.

When with DPP, he said, he was in politics not for personal aggrandisement, but help Bingu develop the nation. But when he dumped government the reasons he gave for leaving government were to do with his personal enjoyment rather than being of developmental concern. Critically putting under the microscope Mbuya’s speech in Balaka it lucidly depicts traits of some kind of individual aggrandisement than a passive eye can make out.

Or will it be wrong to put Chakuamba in the same category with Khwauli Msiska, a man who was used by the UDF to move that infamous impeachment?

The political dinosaurs like Gwanda Chakuamba are supposed to leave the scene to the new blood, as he once said, it is better for him to concentrate on religious issues. Apparently Chakuamba is fond of just saying whatever comes to his mind, when he lost in 1999 elections he said he would go to jungle.

May be the adage that there is no permanent enmity in the gamble of politics is not only valid, but legitimate as well as our politicians more than frequent have proved it true. Gwanda being one of them is proving it beyond limits of scruples.

If he still depends on his archaic formula, where electorates instead of being bosses are reduced to mere slaves of politicians, being swayed from one party to another, then his abyss is in the offing. His last lesson is just a stone throwaway distance. May be Muluzi is also thinking that Chakuamba still commands that overwhelming support hence allowing Chakuamba on board. But the man whilst in DPP he did not hide his ambition of being the Veep. Will other gurus just watch? Typical of Chakuamba, wherever he is disagreements are always there? The same is just a matter of time before happening.

Whether his calls for Muluzi are in good faith or of Khwauli Msiska’s style, whoever will lick the benefits, the great loser will be Mbuya. Whatever his motives are, only time will tell. Also, the aspirations for Muluzi to stand depend on the Malawi Law Commission’s review of the section 83 of the Republic Constitution of Malawi as regards to his come back.

The debates on Muluzi’s stand will keep on growing stronger, the same on Gwanda’s come back, but it is not known who will win, is it Muluzi? Or Chakuamba (Personal nourishment)? May be both? But as it was in the Third Term Bill the sacrifice was there, and one will be slaughtered as well.

All in all his time is overdue, had it been that he maintained that calmness that would have left political prostitutes that are already in different pockets of local political landscape foaming with envy, integrity that can not be described, for sure everybody, despite losing the elections in 2004 would have thought otherwise, but the present movements leaves a great deal to be desired, hence total disapproval of his come back.


By Pacharo Felix Munthali
Chancellor College
Khondowe 4
P.O. Box 280
Zomba
The author is Third year student at Chancellor College.

DEAR FATHER:AN ADVOCACY FOR FATHER'S DAY

By Pacharo Felix Munthali
How fast time creeps. How I wished I had written a dispatch. How I wished, just the way I celebrated with mater familias, yes mum, I celebrated with you as well father. Just to equate the equation. How I wish I had showed how ineffably I treasure you. With the opening of this arena, the only platform my heart can let out all the weighing issues, I beg to move a motion; how I look up to you, papa.

Father! You are the only thing, 50% of my parent; bible says you are second to the most Highness, my life had ever known. I still remember those sunny days, probably when I was in standard one or two, tired due to the sweltering sun, me coming from school, you sited under the Mango tree, you used to invite me before I even lay my hands on Kondowole Nsima.

“Pacharo, come over here!” with pride of your son beyond description, you could call, me hungry, inside myself cursing.

Then you used to go through all the exercises of the day and when it happened that I have failed even a single problem; justice of its own magnitude was done. You always wanted your son to be an achiever, even when the going is getting tough. How times change father!

How I cherish those moments when you forced me to grasp politics of a clock, knowing that its 12:30 PM before reaching the age of Four. Mind you those were the late 80s when but few nursery schools were there.

The better part of my cheeks you enjoyed. It may sound harsh, but you had a reason. Not just a reason but also a well-calculated reason. A vision for that matter. You wanted your son at least he should be someone in life. You wanted your son to be a kind of individual that would brave the most perplexing situations, and burry them to the valley of pessimism.

Now as am facing even more hurdles, forcing me sleepless nights, sweating to the heat of the enigmas, which is now a new predicament in need of a solution, those words of courage keep on rekindling. As I swim through the turbulent waters, full of crocodiles, with the aim of silencing me, my life wears well-equipped arsenals. “Of course you can be whatever you want. Go, fear nobody, you are an architect of your own destiny,” these words keep on resurfacing whenever I choke with stumbling obstacles.

At times I feel like going mad, when I do a mistake, thinking at how you went mad when I failed to do something the way it was supposed to be.

Father! You are great. For long time fathers have not been considered in many ways. Some fathers in total silence have and are still, being subjected to gender based violence. Good volumes of slaps they are receiving. Of course, crying due to their wayward behaviours, though not all, but you father you were unique. With mum and children we lived happily.
Father! I adore you. And you will still remain the one that I will always keep in mind. You are my hero in the making.

As the count down continues to the day we will be commemorating the fathers’ day, papa all I can say is that you deserve the day. Let the day come and let fathers dance to tunes of their success ranging from raising children into productive citizens, or potentially productive, to their own good life. Let the day come and let commemoration of great fathers of Malawi be remembered, who for one reason or another lost their lives for the love of their families or the nation. Let the day come, when together with fathers we will dance to the tunes of Chintali, Malipenga, Ingoma, Tchopa, and Beni. Let the day come.

By Pacharo Felix Munthali
Chancellor College
Khondowe 4
P.O. Box 280
Zomba

THE DANCE

By Pacharo Felix Munthali
This dance is sweet
Ask Agama
The dancers dance
To the melodies of Indingala drums
The air getting saturated
He dances again and again
After dancing the whole night
He thirsts for more
This boogie is sweet

To bow out is a misdemeanour
But to dance again
From the breast of Chitipa
To the gorges of Nsanje
The dancers forces the drum howling
“Follow me…”
A plea monopolises the sky
This dance is saccharine

Contact
Pacharo Felix Munthali
Chancellor College
P.O. Box 280
Zomba

CLINGING TO THE LAST THREAD OF A ROPE

By Pacharo Felix Munthali
Primordially like a prescription issued by a doctor, with no traits of drugs traceable in pharmacy, it was like a sheer witticism when one Kajiso Gondwe, UDF governor for the north stunned the nation, coming out of his cocoon to bring to light, the issue that myriad of UDF gurus were dilly-dallying to comment on, that the first president in the first years of democracy, come what may, will make a come back and take part in 2009 presidential elections.

As if other regional governors and some politicians were impetuously waiting in wings, putting every action and reaction under the microscope, probably ready to seize any opportunity that may crop up, they abut on the bandwagon of individuals championing for Bakili Muluzi to run in 2009 presidential race. Frankly speaking, what has followed is a mad rush of individuals calling beyond God’s heavens that the former president should run again at all cost.

Meticulously anatomising a legion of those fighting for the running of Bakili Muluzi, people of different aspirations, education, sense of responsibility and of course, political successes, it is lucid that some of them like Cheperone winds fickle. One of them that is not only intriguing, but also intricate to elucidate is one time godfather of the lower Shire, a person, who when MCP was sailing through troubled water was as calm as cucumber, a person who with his infant RP managed to secure not less than 16 seats in parliament. That’s Gwanda Chakuamba, probably his side of strengths.

Nevertheless, the man also has a side that up to date overshadows any drip of success his life revelled in.

Just a miniscule dose of his bygone days, the man contested in the presidential elections twice and lost to the very same Muluzi in 1999 general elections and to Mutharika in 2004, after all these elections the man had vehemently been speaking in tongues that the results were not true reflections of votes of electorates. He claimed to have been robbed.

The man is an industrious actor in as far as amusing people with his unpredictable movements that if he were a striker, he would have teased defenders this way and that at will. He is probably the only politician who has manoeuvred a lot, jumping from one party to another. Remember he dumped MCP for UDF then back to MCP. From MCP, he formed his Republican Party, before joining UDF, dumping it for DPP; from DPP he formed New Republican Party before going back to UDF. After RP had refused to be used as his briefcase, now NRP is his briefcase. He is amorphous.

He left MCP after the leadership wrangles, before illegally attempting to deregister his RP for having joined DPP. To him to be given MG5 for MG3 was a sign of demotion and he dumped the government in the process. At times he had not been good to Muluzi either, having a better part of Muluzi’s credentials during campaigns was one of his hobbies, before now becoming vocal presumably from his political graveyard in this Ayimanso slogan.

The call by Chakuamba that all opposition parties should join hands to defeat Mutharika is not only impossible, by examining how Chakuamba and Tembo were, but also ill intentioned. It is more of a conspiracy than being a call intoxicated with ingredients of rationality. Its typical of definition of politics called Ndale in Malawian context.

In a sudden paradox of his claims, the political instability, economic mismanagement and corruption are some of the reasons enough for the opposition to gang up in attempt to defeat Mutharika, yet the very same reasons were at play when the country was locked up in financial mix-up during the second term of democracy. The nation needs not to point out at debt relief, for the first time in as many years, tunes of hunger are no longer making rounds, and the inflow of monies from donors, and the list is just endless. He should know is that to put economy back on track especially the one that was messed up pathetically, its difficult, especially in the environment where oppositional party parties motives are to enrich themselves and pin you down.

One then can be put in wonderland if his reportedly support to defeat Mutharika is indeed built on true senses, not to serve personal vendetta. Further, one is short of words when she/he tries to find the proper reason why the man from his comatose is back, because any reason he will forward will be like he is just recycling it further.

Was he (Chakuamba) not the one who was full of praises of Mutharika when they were together in government, before saying all negative later? Muluzi was not spared either. The problem is that the politicians in this country are more of the gormandisers; always seizing opportunities by the neck where it seems the opportunity is about to glow. Chakuamba pretty well knows that if Muluzi is allowed to contest, judging based on the last three general elections, with his charisma that can leave Bush foaming with envy, assurance of winning is high, at least Gwanda Chakuamba will as well be guaranteed of being a Minister of …and enjoy himself beyond boundaries.

When with DPP, he said, he was in politics not for personal aggrandisement, but help Bingu develop the nation. But when he dumped government the reasons he gave for leaving government were to do with his personal enjoyment rather than being of developmental concern. Critically putting under the microscope Mbuya’s speech in Balaka it lucidly depicts traits of some kind of individual aggrandisement than a passive eye can make out.

Or will it be wrong to put Chakuamba in the same category with Khwauli Msiska, a man who was used by the UDF to move that infamous impeachment?

The political dinosaurs like Gwanda Chakuamba are supposed to leave the scene to the new blood, as he once said, it is better for him to concentrate on religious issues. Apparently Chakuamba is fond of just saying whatever comes to his mind, when he lost in 1999 elections he said he would go to jungle.

May be the adage that there is no permanent enmity in the gamble of politics is not only valid, but legitimate as well as our politicians more than frequent have proved it true. Gwanda being one of them is proving it beyond limits of scruples.

If he still depends on his archaic formula, where electorates instead of being bosses are reduced to mere slaves of politicians, being swayed from one party to another, then his abyss is in the offing. His last lesson is just a stone throwaway distance. May be Muluzi is also thinking that Chakuamba still commands that overwhelming support hence allowing Chakuamba on board. But the man whilst in DPP he did not hide his ambition of being the Veep. Will other gurus just watch? Typical of Chakuamba, wherever he is disagreements are always there? The same is just a matter of time before happening.

Whether his calls for Muluzi are in good faith or of Khwauli Msiska’s style, whoever will lick the benefits, the great loser will be Mbuya. Whatever his motives are, only time will tell. Also, the aspirations for Muluzi to stand depend on the Malawi Law Commission’s review of the section 83 of the Republic Constitution of Malawi as regards to his come back.

The debates on Muluzi’s stand will keep on growing stronger, the same on Gwanda’s come back, but it is not known who will win, is it Muluzi? Or Chakuamba (Personal nourishment)? May be both? But as it was in the Third Term Bill the sacrifice was there, and one will be slaughtered as well.

All in all his time is overdue, had it been that he maintained that calmness that would have left political prostitutes that are already in different pockets of local political landscape foaming with envy, integrity that can not be described, for sure everybody, despite losing the elections in 2004 would have thought otherwise, but the present movements leaves a great deal to be desired, hence total disapproval of his come back.


By Pacharo Felix Munthali
Chancellor College
Khondowe 4
P.O. Box 280
Zomba
The author is Third year student at Chancellor College.

MY HEART

By Pacharo Felix Munthali
Though in the thicket of unknown
Oceans away
The land unimaginable
Upon reminiscence of your face
Those memories rekindle
Bad days, sad days
Slippy days, happy days
With you
My heart
Shining
Growing in glow
Nuggets of loneliness
Dispersed in wilderness

CONTACTS:
By Pacharo Felix Munthali
Chancellor College
Khondowe 4
P.O. Box 280
Zomba

IF I CAN DREAM

By Pacharo Felix Munthali
In the out of order stream
I thirst for polemics of cream
No more death scream
Onl headway seam
How I desired the House worked as a team

May be if I can try?
Joza chief whip of the ruling
Ntchona laeder of the opposition
Zabweka, Zayakunkhongo,Chekaboyt
And Pewani completing the government side
Taxina, Fingo, Dobadoba
Blowing the opposion whistle
A zephyr breath of wind unruffling
Echoes of development reverberating
That would be my dream

Town and Country Rats as watchdogs
Crazy world the media platform
Zeze, Sauzika and Katakwe
Being shadows of the community
Zebedee enveloped as Chief Justice
That’s if I can dream.

CONTACTS:
By Pacharo Felix Munthali
Chancellor College
Khondowe 4
P.O. Box 280
Zomba

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

MAILING IMF, WORLD BANK AND THE UN
by WEongani Mugaba

The much touted Millennium Development Goals championed by the UN, IMF and the World Bank express real passion of raising living standards of the poor, on paper that is.

The goals to eradicate extreme poverty, achieve universal primary education, achieve gender equity and women empowerment, reduce maternal deaths, combat diseases such as AIDS, ensure environmental sustainability and develop a global partnership for development without objections show that the Breton wood institutions and the UN have the welfare of people at heart. But not the policies they formulate and ensure our governments adopt, arbitrarily for that matter.

All the goals are far from achievement, even reduction by half and are nevertheless unknown to most ordinary citizens. I doubt if people in Nsanje Lalanje, Nathenje in Lilongwe and Mzokoto in Rumphi know these goals. That may be their own making, but the champions of the goals themselves have a very big problem.

The eighth goal as I see it is key to achieving the other goals. If we start achieving this goal, all the others will follow automatically -seek ye first and all shall be added unto you! But this goal will not be achieved, if events on the development arena are used as measures of success. The UN, IMF and World Bank are fostering for developing a global partnership for development only on paper. The IMF and World Bank are promoting policies which only lead to economic development while social development lags behind. The institutions promote privatisation so that the increased income returns trickle down to the poor. Instead, privatised companies have retrenched their workers, increased unemployment rates even though their profits have shot up.

Considering the people who buy the companies on hammer, only a few if any indigenous Malawians have bought a statutory company. This vindicates where the money goes. The income earned by the turned private companies is drained to their countries while we get poor and poorer!


Only a few days ago, the press reported that the Breton woods institutions have told, if not ordered the government not to increase civil servants salaries if the economic showers are to continue flowing. They should just provide the financial resources and ensure they are spent for the purpose transparently.


“A praise not too much” wrote D.D Phiri in the nation of 8 September 2006. Bingu has fairly done well in tightening the public pulse. Beside he knows better what it means to be in Malawi than the IMF and World Bank experts. It has been his priority to raise the salaries of civil servants. How long should civil servants wait, if they are objecting to the salary increase? And why are they not supporting the Nsanje Water way Project? What the institutions have to know is that people in the villages are expecting reduction in prices of commodities. They need food, medicines and not mere applauds that “ Malawi has successfully implemented IMF policies” without reflections on the ground.


On the international scene, Taiwan one of Malawi’s helping hands since independence is not recognised by the UN. If countries which are promoting development in TWC are left out of the world body, how can we achieve the eighth and subsequently other goals?


The UN, IMF and World Bank are intrinsically important players in the development process without doubt. We applaud some actions such as the debt cancellation, even though we may have paid dearly. They however, must stop bringing policies for our governments to implement arbitrarily. Their actions have to reflect this: otherwise, they contradict the goals they devised.
Labels: development
MAILING IMF, WORLD BANK AND THE UN
by WEongani Mugaba

The much touted Millennium Development Goals championed by the UN, IMF and the World Bank express real passion of raising living standards of the poor, on paper that is.

The goals to eradicate extreme poverty, achieve universal primary education, achieve gender equity and women empowerment, reduce maternal deaths, combat diseases such as AIDS, ensure environmental sustainability and develop a global partnership for development without objections show that the Breton wood institutions and the UN have the welfare of people at heart. But not the policies they formulate and ensure our governments adopt, arbitrarily for that matter.

All the goals are far from achievement, even reduction by half and are nevertheless unknown to most ordinary citizens. I doubt if people in Nsanje Lalanje, Nathenje in Lilongwe and Mzokoto in Rumphi know these goals. That may be their own making, but the champions of the goals themselves have a very big problem.

The eighth goal as I see it is key to achieving the other goals. If we start achieving this goal, all the others will follow automatically -seek ye first and all shall be added unto you! But this goal will not be achieved, if events on the development arena are used as measures of success. The UN, IMF and World Bank are fostering for developing a global partnership for development only on paper. The IMF and World Bank are promoting policies which only lead to economic development while social development lags behind. The institutions promote privatisation so that the increased income returns trickle down to the poor. Instead, privatised companies have retrenched their workers, increased unemployment rates even though their profits have shot up.

Considering the people who buy the companies on hammer, only a few if any indigenous Malawians have bought a statutory company. This vindicates where the money goes. The income earned by the turned private companies is drained to their countries while we get poor and poorer!


Only a few days ago, the press reported that the Breton woods institutions have told, if not ordered the government not to increase civil servants salaries if the economic showers are to continue flowing. They should just provide the financial resources and ensure they are spent for the purpose transparently.


“A praise not too much” wrote D.D Phiri in the nation of 8 September 2006. Bingu has fairly done well in tightening the public pulse. Beside he knows better what it means to be in Malawi than the IMF and World Bank experts. It has been his priority to raise the salaries of civil servants. How long should civil servants wait, if they are objecting to the salary increase? And why are they not supporting the Nsanje Water way Project? What the institutions have to know is that people in the villages are expecting reduction in prices of commodities. They need food, medicines and not mere applauds that “ Malawi has successfully implemented IMF policies” without reflections on the ground.


On the international scene, Taiwan one of Malawi’s helping hands since independence is not recognised by the UN. If countries which are promoting development in TWC are left out of the world body, how can we achieve the eighth and subsequently other goals?


The UN, IMF and World Bank are intrinsically important players in the development process without doubt. We applaud some actions such as the debt cancellation, even though we may have paid dearly. They however, must stop bringing policies for our governments to implement arbitrarily. Their actions have to reflect this: otherwise, they contradict the goals they devised.
Labels: development

But Chimbayo seems to be an outsider in UDF altogether

But Chimbayo seems to be an outsider in UDF altogether

But Chimbayo seems to be an outsider in UDF altogether
CHIMBAYO, ANOTHER BINGU?
by Wongani Mugaba

When the Nation unearthed the GTZ Forum for Dialogue and Peace report that Former president and UDF national chairman DR Bakili Muluzi is earmarking Former Army Commander General Joseph Chimbayo as UDF presidential hopeful for 2009 General elections, many people lavished it as total dreams. The UDF chair demanded an apology from the-would be authors of the report or face court action. A few days after, the GTZ Forum apologized through the press stating that the report was leaked while in its proof stages and in such stages all issues lacking evidence are dislodged. The story has blown like wind but there is no smoke without fire an ordinary proverb states. More importantly history repeats it self, just like old habits die-hard.

When UDF strongman Brown Mpinganjira and company left the then ruling party in 2001, they preached to the whole nation that Muluzi was contemplating of vying for a third term. Most people however thought otherwise regarding them as political confusionists. Prior to his leaving, then treasurer and rumoured UDF financier James Makhumula had been dismissed on his post for allegedly decampaining Muluzi’s wishes to stand for a third term. Until a year later could we get sense of Mpinganjira’s claims when fallen UDF hero and party governor Davis Kapito started campaigning for Muluzi’s third term. Muluzi did not publicly state whether he would seek another term, but his actions spoke louder. Many UDF functionaries and cabinet ministers who were against the bid were fired including Jan Sonke and Peter Kaleso. On the contrary the proponents of the bid such as Chakufwa Chihana and Khwauli Msiska were appointed to cabinet positions. The third term bill fortunately was defeated by a minus three votes.
Muluzi and the UDF still however, kept mum on who would assume the mantle after the flopping of the third term, but rumours hovered that then unpopular DR Bingu wa Mutharika, deputy reserve bank governor would succeed him. In a lion speed rise, Bingu was initially appointed as minister of economic planning and development in 2003 by Muluzi, heightening the rumours further.

“The UDF national executive and the cabinet have unanimously elected Dr Bingu wa Mutharika and DR Cassim Chilumpha as the 2004 presidential candidate and running mate respectively” declared Muluzi a few months later through the then rare state of the nation addresses monitored on the public broadcasters, confirming the rumours. Defections from the party followed and we saw the party’s first vice president Aleke Banda quit UDF and eventually then vice president of the republic DR Justin Malewezi. Most party members and political commentators regarded Mutharika as an outsider in UDF imposed on the people to be the former presidents puppet.

“Bingu is the former COMESA secretary general and was fired by Chakalakala Chaziya. He is former deputy reserve bank governor, former World Bank and IMF economist and a holder of a PhD in economic development” was all the press could describe him. If there were additions it was that he lost miserably to Muluzi in the 1999 general elections on the UP’s ticket, also trailing behind Gwanda Chakuamba but running neck to neck with MDP’s party boss Kamlepo Kalua. Muluzi however brushed aside the assertions that Mutharika was a stranger in UDF. In May 2004, Muluzi handed over leadership of the country to Mutharika following the party’s success in the elections. This time around Mutharika, on a UDF ticket, beat all the candidates who had stamped on him in the 1999 elections.

A few months later Mutharika, found it too hot to stay in the party that ushered him to power and quit. Political analysts hailed his move stressing that it would allow him to stretch his muscles on graft and catch the “ big fish” which Father Masauko had called for at the Njamba reconciliation prayers, soon after the general elections. Though Mutharika has done fairy well in the economic sector, most human rights watchdogs say he is failing in promoting human rights.

But who is Chimbayo anyway? Other than being an officer in the army, Chimbayo has never been a politician. Even after president Mutharika terminated his duties last year, he has not publicly stated of harbouring ambitions to join politics. He was appointed as army commander general on 16 January 1998 replacing general Kelvin Simwaka who was sent to a diplomatic mission in Harare, Zimbabwe. His appointment came barely a day after some army officers had raided the Daily Times newspaper offices for publishing a story on AIDS prevalence in the Malawi military. Prior to his appointment, he was commandant of the Malawi Armed Forces College which trains office cadets, the top-notch officers in the military.

Unmasking events on the political arena, the UDF does not have a clearly identifiable candidate about two and half years before kick starting the presidential race. MCP is likely to field John Tembo while ruling DPP says Mutharika will be the man. The UDF has Brown Mpinganjira, Friday Jumbe and Cassim Chilumpha as their most likely candidates, though there are other “insiders” who are unknown to the public and may be hooked in, the Mutharika way.

Mpinganjira a graduate journalist by profession is the most suitable candidate as he has vast experience in politics and was among the first members of the party. In addition he has no court cases to answer and comes from Mulanje, a UDF strong hold. The fact that he once ditched the party reminds the party members that history repeats itself. Also considering that Bingu “ painfully resigned” after winning the elections make things even worse. Friday Jumbe an economist by profession may be another good asset for UDF to sell. He hails from Chiradzulu in UDF stronghold and has sufficient experience in politics though a little less than his two counterparts. This may however depend on the outcome of the pending fraud case, in which he has to explain how he got funds to construct his Superior hotel in Blantyre. Cassim Chilumpha has an advantage of being a very loyal UDF son. As former minister during Muluzi’s reign and as current veep of the republic he has vast experience in politics. He has two major setbacks, firstly to win the treason case and secondly he comes from Nkhotakota in the central region, which is MCP’s stronghold.

But Chimbayo seems to be an outsider in UDF altogether. As an army officer, he was supposed to be nonpartisan during the time of service. There is no doubt that Mr. Chimbayo observed this requirement considering that he served many years in the military and in high positions for that matter. The defence force monitors the security of the state and of the first citizen. By appointing him to the highest helm, Muluzi showed that he had trust in him. He was appointed not only because he had the necessary academic qualifications but also because of this trust, which is of the highest order. In addition Chimbayo comes from Mangochi and would be easier to sell not to forget the educational qualifications he has. If this dream, which is colouored as of now, turns into reality - and indeed the reality that Mr. Chimbayo becomes president in 2009 will he deliver? Would he still remain “yellow” even though he may have never been? I urge anyone who sees no fog on the playground to consider this history.
Labels: politics in Malawi

Local government elections: Government why this delay.

Local government elections: Government why this delay.


Local government, defined as a system in which the central government hands over certain definite powers to legally constituted bodies which represent people locally, is responsible to the people and it is one of the ways set up to achieve good governance and local participation in the country.
In democratic countries, every citizen is supposed to take part in matters happening in his/her society such as choosing leaders. To give people a greater chance of taking part in decision making in their social, political and economical life in Malawi , the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi , in Chapter 14, provides for the existence of local government authorities in the country. Local government is a system that is supposed to promote development and peoples’ participation in local areas. People choose their ward representative called councilors through local government elections. First elections for local governments were conducted in December 2000 and were dissolved in April 2005. This follows that more than a year has passed without Malawi elections to replace councilors. However, the country’s constitution, in Section 147(5) clearly asserts that “Local government elections…shall be held on a day, within seven days from the expiration of the third week of May appointed by Electoral Commission”. According to this section, local government elections were supposed to have been conducted in 2005 but up to now, about two years since the dissolution, no specific date has been set. However with the ongoing wrangles, it is clear that we will witness another long period before the elections are held.
Malawians need local government elected councilors for many reasons. As already asserted, local government has a legal backing from the country’s constitution. The Constitution of the Republic of Malawi , in Chapter 14, guarantees for the existence of local government elected authorities with constitutional backing functions in the country. Councilors have discretion in the management of local affairs subject to requirements of state law. Local government is also a constitutional principle for good governance and development. Additionally, local government is the proper area in which legitimate power can be exercised with true accountability since it operates on the basis of local representation. Section 146 further asserts that councilors are responsible for the representation of the people over whom they have jurisdiction for their welfare. Therefore, councilors are responsible for the consolidation and promotion of local democratic institutions and democratic participation in the delivery of essential local services.
Local government elections also provide the ground for people to practice their freedom to choose and elect their representatives, and also a ground for the participation of political activities intended to influence the composition and policies of the government as asserted in the Constitution of Malawi. In short, councilors empower local people to participate in decision making. It is local government elected authorities that make it possible for a large number of people to take an active part and participate in democracy. Participation and empowerment are vital key holders of democracy, thereby, leading to good governance in the country.
However, since the dissolution of local government authorities in April 2005, no date been put in place for local government elections to replace the councilors. In the absence of local government elected authorities there are many implications that may result. On the first place, failure to replace councilors is infringement of the constitution. It may also mean that there is an infringement on the political rights of local people such as right to choose representatives and stand for political position as councillors as asserted in Section 46. It also infringes on peoples rights to development as councillors will represent development projects to Assemblies. Above all the president, as a custodian to defend and preserve the constitution as Section 81(1), would most likely, face charges of violating the constitution as indicated in Section 86(2a), hence, face the possibility of impeachment charges because the Constitution in Section 147(5) asserts that “Local government elections…shall be held on a day, within seven days from the expiration of the third week of May appointed by Electoral Commission”.
Accordingly, it can be argued that representative local government are a desirable counter part of democratic national government and a vital partner in the community a large. It is a necessity to have these councilors so as to bring participation and go on with the rule of law in democratic Malawi . However, some have argued that traditional leaders and MPs can replace elected councillors, hence, there is no need for local government elections. However, this argument is far from the legal prescription of democratic decentralization. Chiefs cannot replace councillors because the system of choosing chiefs is based on hereditary and male lineage, and, therefore undemocratic. In a democracy, people have a right to choose their local representative and a right to equality in public position. This cannot be achieved through the undemocratic chief selection. Furthermore chiefs cannot be held accountable because they are not elected. On the second hand, MPs are nation-wide lawmakers, not concerned with local development. Wards are also smaller compared to constituencies, hence, easy to facilitate and an easy way to actively involve local people in development and local politics local in wards. To have chiefs and MPs replace councilors is illegal.
All in all, by their nature, local government elections seek to uphold and implement the crucial analytical root of liberal democratic political system, vis-à-vis, the principle of separation of power and that of checks and balances as traditional pillars for the creation of equitable socio-economic and political development, aimed at empowering the grassroots and all other minorities and the rule of law. Without councilors, the choice made by people in 1994 for representative local democracy is not being respected, hence forth making them look at democracy and decentralization as meaningless. Adherence and respect for provisions of the constitution has highly been undermined and it is therefore clear that government is diluting some values of democracy in the absence of councilors.
In addition government must also stop lying that there are no funds. Local government elections, just like general elections, must be planned as office time draws to the end. We voted for democratic system of government in 1993, therefore we must just be ready to fulfill its principles. The government must know that as a democratic country, we cannot run without the representatives of local people. It will mean that we are going back to authoritarian system. MEC commissioners’ wrangles must be solve with no delays, the government side must justify where it went wrong, and with other political parties solve the problem. The wrangles are not doing Malawians any better.
It is therefore imperative for all concerned civil society organizations and NGOs who are working hard to consolidate our democracy to find means and ways of addressing this disgracing situation. A clear date must be set at the soonest as to when to hold local government elections so that Malawians are not infringed of their rights like to have right to have local representative and right to participate in their local affairs. It is also high time the government started to uphold and protect the law by following what it guarantees, and Local government election will also be a test of government’s commitment to democracy in the country. In democratic country like Malawi , we should always keep in mind that local assemblies play a very important role in the upholding of democratic principles since local governments also consolidate democracy through participation at the grassroots. In addition, it is also unreasonable for a country that is talking of decentralization, to be reluctant to hold local government elections. In addition, councillors are the key to the enhancement of good governance and rule on public trust, transparence and accountability which are keystone features of the constitution and good governance in democracy. It would therefore be impractical to delay local government elections any further. Human rights have already been infringed and democratic principles broken, Malawians need local government elections to replace councilors soon or else. A clear date must be set aside.

OF SECTION 65, INVESTORS AND BINGU’S IDEA TO APPEAL.

OF SECTION 65, INVESTORS AND BINGU’S IDEA TO APPEAL. By Pearson Nkhoma­;1

The government is at it again. It wants to seek another second [but I think a third] opinion and interpretation on Section 65. The government sees that it ‘lost’ on first opinion and second opinion for interpretations of Section 65. The court clearly asserted that the plea for appeal had no legal basis since there were no parties involved and no right is infringed. Bingu just wanted to seek interpretations of the Section. It is, however, unbelievable to see how the government is handling this issue taking into account that the president just wanted to seek interpretations of Sec 65. The appeal clearly shows that the president had already made interpretations of the Section before he went to court for the interpretations of the Section.

I base my argument with revelations that the president is appealing against the court ruling. On the first hand, this clearly shows that the president has vested interest in this section and would want the court to interpret it according to his vested interest. Secondly, it is a pity to note that the same president who swore to defend the constitution is now fighting tooth and nail to bring it down because of his personal needs.

It should clearly be indicated here that the president cannot defend this Section since he is more interested to defend the survival of his personal party-DPP, rather than the constitution contents. He is therefore prepared to do all things that would achieve that. Survival of his property means a lot to him than survival of chronically poor Malawians. Just like many other politicians don’t represent people. History and experience with constitution ammendments clearly prove that MPs and most other politicians don’t solist views of their constituencies they claim to represent on constitution amendments. They are dictated by party politics and personal interests. A very good example is the repeal of ‘Recall Provission’ in 1995, Sec 83 and this same Sec 65.this follows that there is a high possibity for politicians to misreprtesent views of Malawians on Constitution amendments and appeals.

This clearly shows that Bingu, just like most other politicians, is no interested in representing the many Malawians who voted him into power. As a result his appeal against the interpretation of a Section he swore to protect cannot be looked at with good faith.
I’m saying Bingu has no public interest at heart in this section from recent revelations that investors are now shunning Malawi because of this nonsense political tensions that Section 65 is bringing with party politics being the driver behind the appeal. Shunning of investors because of this political tension infringes on people’s rights like right to development, and other economic activities. However, Bingu is still planning to go ahead with the appeal, clearly chasing donors. This is because politicians tend to forget that Malawians are supreme rulers and they [politicians] are only representatives of many Malawians.

This is one reason why it can be asserted that party politics is the manipulator behind Bingu’s idea to appeal to the interpretations of Section 65 than political justice for many Malawians leaving in chronic poverty. In addition, Sec 65 was introduced in 2001 to get lid with MPs who were running away from UDF prior to 3rd term bill. Some of the MPs who were part of the proponents of Sec 65 in 2001 are part of the DPP. The tooth they introduced is now about to show them the power.

Bingu must be reminded that political motivated Constitutional interpretations and amendments just make popular politicians unpopular in the wrong run-ndipo Munthu amatha ngati makatani. Bakili Muluzi is a good witness to this with reference to his unpopular 3rd and open term bills. It is therefore wrong for Bingu and other politicians to be thinking that interpretation of sec 65, with political values attached, is making them any popular. This is also bad, apart from democracy, for our good Bingu who undemocratically, has declared that whether one likes it or not, in DPP or opposition, he is going to run for presidential elections in 2009.

It is also a pity to realize that interpretation of the constitution by judges is taken as ‘a tit for tat’ game because of the salary issue. This argument is far from legal prescriptions and it is not the first time judges have been accused of such. In 2001 some judges were even impeached by Parliament for ruling against the government and were referred as judges for opposition. History is repeating itself.

However, if Moya’s argument is valid and in good faith, I’m the view that the best thing Moya should do is suggest the recalling of Sec 64-the Recall Provision, which was repealed in 1994. This will show that Moya is truly representing the people. Further more, the Recall Provision will also empower local people who MPs represent. Of section 64, people will have the mandate to tell the speaker to declare seat of their MP vacant if they feel the MP has crossed the flow. MPs are not political party representatives, but they represent local people. It follows that local Malawians must therefore be empowered to determine if they want there MP cross the flow and join another party or not, of course after a referendum-democracy is not cheap. I’m saying this because sometimes local people would want their MP associate himself or herself to another party which has good agendas from the his/her political party to address their needs better, and it is therefore unfortunate to take away this representation right from the local people, who democratically have supreme mandate. It is now very unfortunate to note that MPs prioritize survival of their political parties and not people who voted them into office.

All in all, Bingu need not fear anything from this interpretation because application of Section 65 affect almost all parties in parliament apart from parties like PPM and RP.

It is therefore imperative for all concerned civil societies, NGO and all Malawians who are working hard to consolidate our democracy to find means so that the Constitution is not politically tampered with. Malawians should also not allow judges being accused of politicking when they rule against the government side. The Executive Arm should learn the principle of separation of power, which is there among different arm of government.

The appeal Bingu is doing will also spend a lot of taxpayers’ money which can be used to buy food and medicines for starving Malawians. The court, as a said above, clearly asserted that the plea for appeal had no legal basis since there were no parties involved. Bingu just wanted to seek interpretations of Section 65, and no right is infringed because of the ruling. This must really be taken as victory for democracy, let us forge into development and not politicking, otsamangotcheranatcherana ndale. Politics is not ndale as it is in our context.

Political amendments dilute the constitution as a hall. In democracy, the constitution is supreme law and must be respected and treated as such. This will help avoid constitutional provisions that would only satisfy needs of few greedy politicians and not local people who are supreme rulers.

In view of this, MPs need to learn and table significant bills like the abolishment of death penalty which infringes on other provisions like life and dignity. I therefore urge politicians to respect the rule of law, supreme law, our constitution and the supreme rulers-local people.

Monday, April 16, 2007

USE OF SOLDIERS ON PARTY POLITICS? ANOTHER BREACH OF THE CONSTITUTION BY MR. PRESIDENT!

Democracy, in its simplicity form, is the rule of the majority. People are elected as representatives. The elected people need to govern in what is required of them by the majority of Malawians. Democracy is more that voting people into office during elections. There are principles that are put in place to guide democratic nations. Two of these principles include rule of law whereby the constitution is the supreme law and respect for human rights.

Respect for the constitution is the most important basic principle of democracy. The constitution is a documentation of what people agree on how they should be ruled and how public services must be run. Kamuzu era was not democratic in such that it did not have a constitution which recognized Malawians as supreme rulers. Public services were abused to achieve personal interests. It is the constitution that documents the Bill of Rights. Respect for human rights is the second most basic principle of democracy. The progress of democracy in societies is measured by human rights. High levels of abuses of human rights indicate that societies, even if they claim to be democratic, are not in any way democratic. This is why dictatorial regimes, like the Kamuzu era, are not democratic, even when rulers claim that the majority population is happy with their ruling. In these regimes, a lot of human rights abuses are reported and people agree to the rules as they express themselves only in whispers. Freedoms, in true essence, are highly limited in such regimes. In short, democracy is respect for the constitution and human rights theoretically and practically. With this brief account of what democracy ought to be like, recent developments in Malawian politics remove all the principles that make us be referred to as democratic.

Firstly, as already indicated, democratic societies are guided by the constitution and bleach of it is a crime. Chapter IV (also known as the Bill of Rights) in Section 40 assert that every person has the right to form, join, and participate in the activities of any political party of his/her choice intended to influence the composition and policies of the government. This follows that the constitution guarantees every Malawian with political choices. This is one reason why Kamuzu era was also not democratic. People did not have the choice in politics. Any one thought to be an ‘opponent’ of the ruling hegemony was not allowed in Malawi . A lot of people were exiled and those in Malawi were jailed and some even killed.

However, with what transpired at Chinsitu, Mulanje, is anything to go by then Malawi is in for another surprise. What was supposed to be a peaceful political event and a ground for Malawians to practice their political rights turned to be a nightmare. MDF, the public service, was directed by the government to be involved in partisan politics.

Above all that, this rally was also have been called off by the UDF since the courts of law lifted off the injunctions that allowed the UDF to go with the rally. As a democratic party, UDF is well aware that going against court orders is a criminal offence and is punishable by law in any ‘democratic’ country. Instead of ruling based on the injunction, the ‘government’ went a step further to involve the neutral soldiers into politics. This shows lack of trust by the president on the judges.

Involvement of the Malawi Defense Forces to manhandle unarmed civilians (some of who were not going to attend the rally and some of who were DPP supporters) infringed the Malawians of their different human rights and freedoms. They were deprived of rights like expression, assembly and demonstration, and right to free movement within the boarders of Malawi (sections 35, 38,39). Malawians, without any search warrant were searched and denied access to use some roads in their own country for no apparent reason.

The MDF are not to blame. They were following unconstitutional orders from above. It is therefore to look at the constitution and its provision of duties to public services. Being the highest law in democratic, the constitution provides duties for any public dept/services, MDF inclusive. According to the constitution, the MDF are not supposed to take part in partisan politics. No wonder, it is not required of them to vote. Their responsibility is to make sure that Malawi is safe from invasion. Their duties, according to Chapter XVI, include upholding the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic and guard against any threat to all Malawians. It therefore follows that it was not proper to use the army on a rally which was already called off by the courts of law. Unless, if it were on a state of emergency. However, the rally, in no single way qualifies to be a state of emergency. If it were to be conducted against court orders, it was the responsibility of the courts to judge. This is where the government committed a breach the Constitution by involving the army. Their action is not inline with the “separation of power” principle of democracy.

Just as Muluzi said at the mini rally, “the army, in this country, has got a reputation [and] they should not be used to intimidate Malawians”. In all circumstances, the Malawi Army is to protect Malawians who on Sunday, the 25th of March, were manhandled. If anything, the Malawi Police was better placed to disperse people in internal matters.

Statistics show that, in almost all countries which used the army for internal partisan politics, they ended up halving an army ruled government. Nigeria is a very good example.

Having fought tooth and nail to have our hardly won democracy, it is unrealistic to run ourselves into an army state. It is therefore imperative that the “government” does not repeat this ‘mistake’. It should be clearly emphasized that Malawians, who are the sovereign rulers, have highly been deprived of their rights. Their dignity and freedom of conscious has been deprived in such that some have now negative connotation of what the army is all about. They are living in fears in their own countries and are therefore psychologically affected. The action taken by government must be desisted in all corners.

This is not good for development. It is documented in different findings by scholars that only people who are free enough have the potential to develop their societies. It is said that South Africa , USA and other developed countries are doing well in development because their people are free. Almost all poor countries, in contrast, have highest incidences of human rights abuses. NEPAD in Section 79 of its policy document acknowledges that sustainable development is impossible in a country which does not respect human rights and follow principles of good governance. How do we expect to be developed when there are many cases of breach of the constitution and human rights?

As an economic engineer, Bingu rightly knows that political instability is not a good ingredient of development and investors’ attraction. Zimbabwe is a good example. The State President must therefore apologize to all Malawians for breaking the Constitution and their human rights which are limitless. The inherent dignity and worth of each human being requires that the state and all persons, including the State President recognize and protect fundamental human rights and afford the protection to the rights of all individuals as guaranteed in Section 12 of the Republic Constitution. Section 12 further says that all persons responsible for the exercise of powers of state do so on trust and shall only exercise such powers to the extent of their lawful authority and in accordance with their responsibilities to the people of Malawi . It is therefore uncalled for to involve the army in partisan politics. Many donors and investors, just as Malawians, I believe have also been shocked over the use of the army for partisan politics. This does not send any good signal to them. This is chasing them away. We should not get surprised when they tell us that they have freezed up their funding on us for breaking democratic and developmental principles. We need them to develop, and above all we need the protection and observation of human rights in our country.

The involvement of the army only shows how afraid Bingu is of Muluzi. And his revelation of the fear has given Atcheya mangolomera oyima. He knows that someone somewhere fears him. What is also hard to believe, as already pointed out, is the use of armed soldiers on “the rally which was already called off by the courts of law having lifted off the injunction that UDF obtained”. UDF being a ‘democratic’ party, I believe it could have respected the court orders to call off the rally. One wonders therefore, how could these people crash in their ways when there was no rally to be held?

Mr. President must be advised that involvement of the Malawi Army is not the ideal way to shake Atcheya. People are watching and with this development many Malawians are now sympathetic of the UDF. If the president continues with this dictatorial authoritative rule, he need not to get surprised with the would be outcome of 2009. Apart from Atcheya “being the man of people”, the use of the army is not the best way of getting people to one’s side. No Malawian can entrust the government into the hands of a person who already signals dictatorial attributes. What Muluzi did; to have a mini rally is one of the strategic ways to coax two souls into your side; while, on the other hand, what Bingu directed is just one strategic tool of chasing two souls from your your political party for good.

In any democratic country, human rights and freedoms must be respected. Breach of human rights is an indication for the death of democracy. Politicizing constitutionally guaranteed security services in a democratic society is not on undemocratic but also criminal offence. Bingu is breaking the constitution which he swore to protect. It is also an enemy of development. This is not the ideal way to shake up Muluzi, as asserted above. With the delay in Local Government elections as guaranteed by the constitution and this development, if not impeached, then he has cases to answer when he leaves office.