One of the few cabinet ministers who usually provide sensible answers has blundered this time. The Express political desk, explains why
MALAWIANS “prefer water to democracy.” This is the flippant, if not startling declaration of Francis Kasaila, who speaks on behalf of the governing Democratic Progressive Party, DPP.
Kasaila, who is minister responsible for youth development and sport, said this recently on Capital Radio when asked why, almost five years after being elected to office, President Peter Mutharika, was still failing to live up to his promise to reduce the powers that are vested upon him by the Constitution.
These powers include appointments of key personnel such as heads of the military and the police; the anti corruption bureau; the Reserve Bank of Malawi; state owned enterprises, SOEs and others.
A Member of Parliament, Kasaila, dismissively told his interviewer that his constituents were more interested in finding water than in pursuing democratic practices. He also claimed that his constituents actually wanted the President to have more, and not less, power. Really?
The Minister’s responses, in our opinion, reflect a dereliction of duty. Is it not his responsibility as a legislature, we dare ask, to advise his constituents why reducing the powers of elected officials, including the President’s, is a necessary procedure that needs to be done in a budding democracy such as ours?
How can top officials who are appointed by a President be made to account for unexplained amassing of wealth and abuses while in office, when such officials feel beholden to the executive for their appointments and protection?
What we also wish to ask the Minister to explain, is why, after all these years that he has been an MP, he failed to have water available for his constituents? The mighty Shire River, after all, lies within his constituency.
Kasaila ordinarily, is one of the few amiable officials who in the past, responded honestly to questions from the news media. His responses on this occasion however, fall far short of public expectations. They verge close to dereliction of duty and a disservice to the people who elected him to office.
It remains our hope that the Minister will provide the public with a more positive following the issues and questions that we have raised on this online newspaper.