Writing in 350 BC (Before the era of Christ), one of the celebrated philosopher Aristotle said “the rule of law is better than the rule of any individual.” Aristotle was trying to cement his argument that it is more proper that law should govern than any one of the citizens.
Malawi, as a democratic country, adopted the idea by framing its own constitution to guide every person in the country as they struggle to make earns meet. Well, I am not here to give the history of the law whatsoever. What brings me face to face with our esteemed readers is the issue of civil servants being involved in politics.
Ladies and gentlemen, section 193 of the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi provides for the independence and neutrality of the public service. In this case, it doesn’t require someone to be in a class of law to interpret the information in relation to politics. Simply put, once you decide to take part in active party politics, quit the work in civil service.
Now, what baffles this writer, is the warning from the Chief Secretary to the government, Lloyd Muhara, to the public servants who are participating in politics. He is asking them to resign first, yet those harbouring political ambitions are aware of the consequences of their actions. My interaction with a certain lawyer taught me one thing: ignorance is not a defence in the court of law. Therefore, Mr. Muhara should not waste energy to remind well educated citizens about the law. Malawians want action! Action! Now.
By the way, when are you firing Chimwe Chipungu of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)?For those who are not in the know, among the public servants who are practicing active politics include Chief Director of Safe Motherhood Chimwemwe Chipungu, who has been voted as National Organising Secretary at the Democratic Progressive Party’s convention.
Chipungu proceeded to embark on political journey despite a petition from the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) that asked him and others to resign when it was made clear to the public that he was determined to compete at the just ended DPP’s elective conference. That is open defiance to the rule of law. Mr. Muhara, your duty is simple; you just have to write a letter of dismissal accompanied by the civil service regulations. It’s not Mr. Muhara who is firing him but the rule of law. If it is you, they will be back in office once you leave your office of the Chief Secretary.
The Malawi Public Service Regulations 1:201(24) stipulates that A Civil Servant is guilty of misconduct if he/she engages in any activity, political or otherwise, which interferes with the due performance of his duties as a Civil Servant.
So, Mr. Muhara, should we assume that Mr. Chipungu also enjoys immunity from prosecution by the mere fact that he is close the president? Remember, I have said the rule of law is better than the rule of any individual, and Malawians are not demanding you to make another law but to follow the already established laws of the land. Failing which, you will also be also caught pants down flouting the very same rule of law. Our demands are based on well-established principles and common sense. Common sense lets us analyze the logical consequences of what we plan on doing. Join us Mr. Chief Secretary so that we can enjoy the fruits of respecting the laws together. I berg please! It is bad for your masters but necessary for your reputation and survival in the public opinion court.
It will be an attempt of witchcraft if I finish without recognizing human rights activists, Timothy Mtambo, Gift Trapence, Billy Mayaya and Charles Kajoloweka. Thumbs up for penning the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) on the matter, through a law firm Bullen and Associates. That’s what is needed. Even Kamuzu Banda failed to make Malawians dead minded in his autocracy, and that is the more reason he had a rude awakening in 1993. Now, who is Chimwe Chipungu, Lloyd Muhara? What is DPP after all? We need action now!