Wake up Manganya, you can’t win the fight against corruption by removing presidential immunity

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Ever since Dr. Michale Usi was handpicked by Saulos Chilima to be his running mate in the May 2019 elections, he has been roundly abused by vicious trolls on social media for being a comedian who cannot be taken seriously in politics. I have refused to join the bandwagon because I have always believed that Michael Usi the politician and Manganya the naughty and controversial Character that he created are two different people. However, the way he tried to dramatize things during the presidential running mates debate convinced me to believe that, Usi is a man who belongs to the world of drama and giving him the huge responsibility of being Vice President is the kind of drama we are not ready to watch as a nation.

Dr. Michael Usi of UTM in his apparent attempt to respond to a question on how they are going to eradicate corruption if voted into power made it clear that their major strategy as UTM on ending corruption is to remove presidential immunity. This sounds laughable to many Malawians, it’s pure drama from a professional playwright. On the other hand, it reveals the naivety of UTM. It really shows that the party has little or no knowledge of how the fight against corruption can be won.

You don’t need to be a political analyst to know that fighting corruption is UTM’s signature policy; it is the central plank of their entire election campaign, the thing they mention most, the thing that resonates strongest with their social media support base, and the thing, more than any other, they think can get them elected. However, it kills your confidence in the party when you hear a running mate miserably failing to give the electorate an explanation of how they will fight corruption
We all agree that corruption is one of the major challenges our country is facing. Corruption retards development. The impact of corruption cannot be underestimated. Corruption continues to harm Malawi, hampering democracy, development and the ability to bring people out of poverty. Fighting corruption is the responsibility of every citizen not the President only.

Michael Usi would have taken this opportunity to recognize both the progress made in the fight against corruption in Malawi and the significant work still left to do. He would have said government is committed to fighting this problem; it signed several treaties aimed at ensuring democracy, rule of law and good governance. But much more needs to be done.

He would have told us that UTM will bring in standards and guidelines for ethical procurement and build strong procurement practice throughout the country with training, monitoring and research. Usi would have told us that open contracting practices, which make data and documentation clearer and easier to analyze, should be adopted by all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

A presidential running mate should understand that, if a sitting president abuse their power or break the law in any way, the long arm of the law catches up with them once they are out of power. Presidential immunity is part of the constitution, the framers of the constitution realized that it is very important to give the president the immunity. It is not a way of protecting them but to maintain order and sanity in the country. Imagine a country where every Jim and Jack who wants to score a political point or cheap fame drags a sitting president to court. The Head of State must focus on running the country and not hopping from one court to another clearing his name over issues trumped up by his political opponents.

*Views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent that of Malawi24. If you have an article for publication, email: editor@malawi24.com

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