I am sincerely confused as to why PAC has expressed some regret and assertion of being cheated after Parliament rejected some bills on electoral reforms. I am further confused that some people have accused DPP of rejecting its own bills. What I have I figured here is that both, PAC and some good Malawians do not understand what democracy means and how it works or they are pretending to be ignorant so that they can freely express their frustration.
Let me start with those that are accusing DPP of rejecting its own bill. What these people are missing is that both, in principle and practicality, the legislature (Parliament) is independent of the Executive (Cabinet). This is the principle of Separation of Powers.
When a Minister, who is a member of the Executive brings a bill to Parliament, he or she does not bring the bill so that members of the ruling party in Parliament should just accept it to prove loyalty to their party or reward the Minister for being intelligent and competent. No! That is not how democracy works. Parliament is independent. In the House, members of the ruling party are free and independent from the President and Ministers.
If we understand this principle of Separation of Powers between the branches of government, then we will appreciate that it is a sign of maturity of democracy when members of the ruling Party shot down a bill from the executive. Therefore, any DPP members of Parliament who voted against any of the bills in Parliament did the most democratic thing and we should be praising such signs of growth of our democracy.
Now, let us come to PAC. Of all “political” bodies in our country, I would not expect PAC to miss some basics of how democracy works particularly because this body played a huge role in facilitation of the democratization process of our country in 1993 and 1994. It is very paradoxical that they are now failing to embrace the very principles that democracy stands for.
You see, PAC was ready to mobilize good citizens by baiting its religious influence, so that we would flock to the street on the 13th to force government mainly to bring electoral reform bills to Parliament. Now, the bills came to parliament and they got rejected. It is very important at this point for PAC to understand that we are not in a direct democratic system. As citizens of Malawi, we cannot all go to Parliament to deliberate and vote on bills. Instead, we are a representative democracy whereby we elect Members of Parliament to deliberate and vote on our behalf.
The assumption of representative democracy is that when the Members of Parliament have voted, then the public has voted. The wishes and aspirations, and power of the people are vested in Members of Parliament. As a result, PAC cannot go against what Parliament has voted. PAC cannot regret or feel cheated by the decision of Parliament, because democracy gives Parliament the exclusive power to decide representatively of the people.
People vote for Parliamentarians not for PAC. As a result, it is Parliament that carries the wishes of the people not PAC. As a matter of democratic facts, PAC and its leadership are not voted by Malawians and therefore the organization has no grounds to claim that they represent people. They must therefore respect what Parliament voted on electoral reform bills and move on. Otherwise, they will become a threat to our democracy by trying to force their wishes on elected members of Parliament.