Tuesday, May 4, 2010

POLYGAMY BAN, MANDATORY AIDS TESTING AND FLAG CHANGE IN MALAWI

There is something wrong with the way the Malawi Government is consulting its people on the various important issues. Crucial decisions that will affect the masses are being made without Malawians themselves expressing their views in a transparent manner.

First it was the infamous quota system (or equitable access to higher education) of which we were made to believe that a lot of people were consulted and were in support of it. But the truth is that some quarters were very determined to implement it regardless of opposing views or court cases. It has since been implemented disregarding views for those opposing it.

Now it has just finished “consultations” on flag change. From the word go one could see lack of transparency in the way the consultations were being conducted. The idea of consulting traditional leaders as representatives of the people was not the right way to hear views of all Malawians. Like the quota system, it seems government was bent on changing the flag regardless of what the majority of Malawians said. That’s why they had to rush to the traditional leaders who are already singing praises of the present government.

As if that is not enough, there are reports that government is about to table a bill that among others, bans polygamy. There are claims that polygamy is contributing to the spread of the HIV/AIDS virus. Therefore those who will marry more than one wife after the bill is passed will be fined or jailed for five years. This ahs also not gone down well with the many Malawians who think that the government is going too far in this respect. Some call it regulating morals. In a normal democracy, we should have expected this bill to be shot down in parliament but with the majority that the ruling party is enjoying, forget about this possibility. If what the Gender Minister told BBC and Capital Radio recently that government is serious in tabling this bill and the mandatory HIV test bill, then they are as good as already passed. The Muslim Community will make all the noise it can on this issue but nothing will change, ask Livingstonia Synod.
In two weeks time we will clock one year into the second term of the ruling DPP but several unpopular decisions made during this period will easily erase the good image DPP created in the first term. People who are able to read through the walls will agree with me that we should anticipate very long and hard four years to finish this term.