Jan 21, 2018 Last Updated 8:52 PM, Jan 19, 2018

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The Public Affairs Committee (PAC) now needs to wise up and prevent itself from being exploited further by sinister interests. 

For some years, the quasi-religious body has been used to push for some darker ulterior political agenda which has nothing to do with faith in God.  

In the process, the body which was once highly respected has dragged itself to the lowest point of discredit. In fact, one social media comment said last week that these days, "whenever PAC is involved in something, just know it will be some stupid circus". 

 

That is not the way of PAC of 1993 and 1994. When Malawi Congress Party conspired to butcher the Catholic Bishops, PAC was a voice of reason. 

 

Today, PAC has duped the Bishops to serve an MCP agenda of trying to take down Government unknown to the Bishops and other church leaders. The danger is that PAC is leading the Church to destruction because the Church will lose its moral voice. 

 

No wonder the exposure of the real political agenda has infuriated the deanery and bishopry of the Church. 

 

This deception is an anathema hard to pardon. PAC has become a villain, exactly what the Book of Revelation calls "deceiver of the Church". PAC has become the ancient serpent wearing robes of holiness while carrying death and destruction.

 

PAC should salvage its image and regain its stature as a non-partisan organization whose decisions are not based on whims of the ill-minded.  

 

The 50+1 political calamity should be its learning point. This is considering how some media outlets, so-called political analysts and Malawi Congress Party have treated the religious body as a punching bag for the failures of their ulterior motives hidden in the shadows of the bill.  

 

The 50+1 calamity has systematically destroyed all sense of reason that was left in some –that assumes there was anything left at all in them.

 

And for them PAC is all to blame. But how should it be that PAC is to blame?

 

Days before the electoral reform bills were tabled in Parliament, PAC was organizing a demonstration to press for their tabling. From the start, PAC said it was pushing for the tabling of the electoral reforms bills. 

 

When it later announced that the protest would also focus on social issues and leadership of the country, there was a sigh of disbelief among some because it smelt that the PAC agenda for the protest had been hijacked by some twisted political elements. 

That PAC allowed this deals a rough blow to its image. 

 

Government finally tabled the bills, including the 50+1. This is what PAC wanted. And PAC did the right thing by cancelling the demonstrations. That is because its objective had been met.

 

That is why the persecution of PAC by analysts, the media and Malawi Congress Party because the religious body cancelled the demonstrations is a load of garbage. PAC’s objective had been met and they had no further reason to go ahead with the demonstration. 

 

It is that plain. 

 

What would be the purpose of holding a demonstration for the tabling of 50+1 bill when the bill was already in Parliament?

 

The bill eventually got defeated in Parliament. And PAC is being persecuted – that it should have gone on with the protest. Everyone is playing ‘we-told-you’ line. This is very illogical. 

 

Did PAC have any role to play once the bill was in Parliament?  Would the protests have changed the outcome of the bill in Parliament? Was how the bill would be debated any issue for PAC?

 

PAC should at this point understand that it is being persecuted not necessarily on issues to do with the bill but on other issues that may not be in the public interest. PAC is being used. 

 

PAC needs to asses itself. It needs to understand that it is being pushed down the cliff by forces that want to use it for their own individual gain.

 

PAC needs to regain its strong moral fibre of old and stop bowing down to partisan, anti-government interests. Or the road to its fatal crash will be a painful one.

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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.

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Senior Chief Kachindamoto was Friday unveiled as the World Vision Malawi’s ‘End Child Marriages’ brand ambassador.

Kachindamoto got the prestigious recognition due to her commitment and personal drive in ending child marriages that are detrimental to the socio-economic and well-being of the nation at a function held at Mtakataka in Dedza District.

The 49 year-old chief, whose real name is Theresa Kachindamoto has had a personal hand in terminating 2,549 child marriages from 2004 when she started the fight leading to the girls going back to school and as a testament to her efforts and in 2017 academic year, three of such girls were selected to pursue further education in national public universities in the country.

Presiding over the unveiling, Presidential Advisor on Safe Motherhood, HIV & AIDS and Population, Callista Mutharika said it is the wish of the government to see to it that girls and even boys below the ages of 18 are encouraged to concentrate on school.

She commended Kachindamoto saying such recognition is well deserved looking at her efforts in ending child marriages that has had a great impact in transforming the lives of many girls who have gone back to school after getting rescued from the early marriages.

The Former First Lady added that, “Traditional leaders are important in this campaign as they stay with the people and command respect hence critical to the elimination of child marriages.”

Mutharika revealed scary figures showing that ‘one out of two girls get married before reaching the age 18 and one out of nine girls get married before the age 15 with some of them as young as eight years old.

Globally 39, 000 girls below 18 years get married every day and if not checked, there will be 220 million girls in early marriages by 2030.

World Vision Malawi Country Director Hazel Nyathi said they are a child focused organization and are spearheading the effort to ending child marriages which is quiet prevalent in Malawi.

She pointed out that, “TA Kachindamoto has come out as one of the leaders that we wish to recognize her efforts, self-driven and action oriented in addressing issues of ending child marriages…And she has shown the consistency, the willingness and the exemplary behaviour that is expected of community leaders in addressing their own social agenda,”

Nyathi said that early marriages have a negative impact on various other issues including family welfare, literacy, health and nutrition adding that there is need for increased vigour at community level to annul child marriage so that we fight various challenges that are interlinked.

The Country Director expressed satisfaction with the role government is playing by rallying around all stakeholders in the campaign to end child marriages in all the communities across the country.

As an ambassador, Chief Kachindamoto will be expected to play the mentorship role to other community leaders as well galvanize various stakeholders in enhancing the campaign through showcasing the success stories in order to impact positive changes in other communities.

Kachindamoto is the youngest of 12 siblings who worked as a secretary for 27 years, until 2003 when she took over the chieftainship

The issue of child marriage is a prominent one in the country for financial reasons. Many families find it difficult to afford most of life’s necessities, let alone pay for their kids to go to school. Selling their children off to wealthy suitors for marriage is the only financial recourse they have.

Kachindamoto’s aims to see all girls return to school and no child should be found at home or doing household chores during school time.”

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Senior Chief Kachindamoto was Friday unveiled as the World Vision Malawi’s ‘End Child Marriages’ brand ambassador.

Kachindamoto got the prestigious recognition due to her commitment and personal drive in ending child marriages that are detrimental to the socio-economic and well-being of the nation at a function held at Mtakataka in Dedza District.

The 49 year-old chief, whose real name is Theresa Kachindamoto has had a personal hand in terminating 2,549 child marriages from 2004 when she started the fight leading to the girls going back to school and as a testament to her efforts and in 2017 academic year, three of such girls were selected to pursue further education in national public universities in the country.

Presiding over the unveiling, Presidential Advisor on Safe Motherhood, HIV & AIDS and Population, Callista Mutharika said it is the wish of the government to see to it that girls and even boys below the ages of 18 are encouraged to concentrate on school.

She commended Kachindamoto saying such recognition is well deserved looking at her efforts in ending child marriages that has had a great impact in transforming the lives of many girls who have gone back to school after getting rescued from the early marriages.

The Former First Lady added that, “Traditional leaders are important in this campaign as they stay with the people and command respect hence critical to the elimination of child marriages.”

Mutharika revealed scary figures showing that ‘one out of two girls get married before reaching the age 18 and one out of nine girls get married before the age 15 with some of them as young as eight years old.

Globally 39, 000 girls below 18 years get married every day and if not checked, there will be 220 million girls in early marriages by 2030.

World Vision Malawi Country Director Hazel Nyathi said they are a child focused organization and are spearheading the effort to ending child marriages which is quiet prevalent in Malawi.

She pointed out that, “TA Kachindamoto has come out as one of the leaders that we wish to recognize her efforts, self-driven and action oriented in addressing issues of ending child marriages…And she has shown the consistency, the willingness and the exemplary behaviour that is expected of community leaders in addressing their own social agenda,”

Nyathi said that early marriages have a negative impact on various other issues including family welfare, literacy, health and nutrition adding that there is need for increased vigour at community level to annul child marriage so that we fight various challenges that are interlinked.

The Country Director expressed satisfaction with the role government is playing by rallying around all stakeholders in the campaign to end child marriages in all the communities across the country.

As an ambassador, Chief Kachindamoto will be expected to play the mentorship role to other community leaders as well galvanize various stakeholders in enhancing the campaign through showcasing the success stories in order to impact positive changes in other communities.

Kachindamoto is the youngest of 12 siblings who worked as a secretary for 27 years, until 2003 when she took over the chieftainship

The issue of child marriage is a prominent one in the country for financial reasons. Many families find it difficult to afford most of life’s necessities, let alone pay for their kids to go to school. Selling their children off to wealthy suitors for marriage is the only financial recourse they have.

Kachindamoto’s aims to see all girls return to school and no child should be found at home or doing household chores during school time.”

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Malawi’s First Lady Professor Gertrude Mutharika on Sunday presided over the official opening of the newly constructed church for Kamuzu Barracks Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) Congregation in Lilongwe.

Speaking at the official opening ceremony held at the barracks, Prof. Mutharika commended the church for its commitment and dedication to God’s work.

Madame Mutharika who is also a member of the church thanked the congregation for the invitation and their dedication to the work of God.

“You have done a great job here by constructing this church. The house of God is supposed to be beautiful and this is such a beautiful house of God. However, I would like to ask you to reflect the beauty of this church in your deeds,” Mutharika, who is a member of the church, advised the congregation.

The first lady also thanked the Malawi Defence Force (MDF) Commander Griffin Supuni Phiri, who is also a CCAP faithful, for taking a leading role in the construction of the church saying a prayerful leader inspires the people she or he leads.

Supuni, who also played groom to his wife in a mock wedding as part of the funding raising activities for the construction of the church, thanked the First lady for honouring the invitation and also urged soldiers to be prayerful.

“As soldiers of God and Malawi, our most important weapon is prayer. A good soldier has to worship God and statistics have shown that prayerful soldiers are very disciplined and hard working,” Supuni said.

Other notable guests at the function included the Vice President’s wife, Mrs. Mary Chilima, Deputy Defence Minister, Clement Chimulirenji, General Secretary of the CCAP General Assembly Reverend Collins M’bawa, former MDF commander Henry Odillo and several retired MDF chaplains.

The first lady, dressed in CCAP women’s guild attire, arrived at the function at 10 o’clock in the morning and also served the CCAP General Assembly Secretary, Collins M’bawa, with a cake to symbolise the official birthday of Kamuzu Barrack CCAP Congregation.  

The construction of the Church, whose cost so far runs around K70 million, started in 2014 and other works like construction of a brick fence as part of the same project are yet to start.

 

The church has 1,500 members and is being led by resident chaplain Major Reverend Andrew Kamponda. 

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