Government hides the truth

If you go to one demonstration and then go home, that's something, but the people in power can live with that. What they can't live with is sustained pressure that keeps building, organisations that keep doing things, people that keep learning lessons from the last time and doing it better the next time.
Noam Chomsky

Power is a drug on which the politicians are hooked. They buy it from the voters, using the voters' own money.
Peter Newman


The Mhlako Triumvirate

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Nandolo denies that he owes his appointment as Blantyre City's CEO to his work for the Mhlako wa Alhomwe cultural body inspired by his fellow Lhomwe tribesman, President Bingu wa Mutharika.

Malawians are becoming increasingly more disturbed by the preferential selection of  the President's 'home-boys' to top positions in the Government, civil service and state-related bodies. The appointment of Ted Nandolo is just the latest. Ted was for many years head of the NGO co-ordinating body, CONGOMA. NGOs in Malawi have traditionally acted as checks to the excessive acquisition of power by the executive. As a leader of the 'parent' body, Nandolo had been seen as a defender of human rights, constitutionality and the rule of law.
Should it come as a surprise that our 'heroes' can be so easily wooed away to become part of the government mechanism of oppression. Tribe before country! Pocket before the common good!
As we consider Nandolo's appointment we must  keep in mind that he is also the presidentially appointed Chairman of  MACRA, the Government organisation that controls and co-ordinates communications in Malawi which include radio, TV and telephone operator licensing. The position of Chairman is non-executive. However, chairmen of state organisations who are seen to be the unofficial mouthpieces of the executive can easily pervert the operations of the boards of directors. MACRA has long been seen as partial in the way it handles broadcasters who may be thought too critical of government or to have adverse political bias. Furthermore, it has found excuse after excuse for delaying the issue of licences to the many would-be  TV operators. The last excuse I heard was that they had no chairman. They have one now - Ted Nandolo. So why delay further? The conclusion is obvious. Government controls content on state-owned TV and radio and fears the effects that an indpendent, well-balanced  TV will have on a viewing public used to a regular diet of propoganda; news of the President and his 'nominated' successor and  the so-called first lady who has supplanted the elected Vice-President in the public view.
In an interview with Nandolo broadcast on Capital Radio on Wednesday, 16th February, it was suggested that it was his Lhomwe tribal affiliation that had led to his appointment. He denied this, stating that he had been appointed to the position of Chief Executive of the Blantyre City Council 'on merit'. When asked where his loyalty lay; to whom he would be reporting, he stated: "The appointing authority, the President. But I will be reporting via the Minister of Local Government" - or words to that effect.
The refusal by the Lilongwe City Council to permit a protest March in the city only two days earlier and the arrest of the organisers by the Police was still fresh in the mind of the interviewer. This led to his questioning Nandolo on the matter of constitutionality and the role of the local councils in the process. Nandolo did reaffirm the right of citizens to protest but, obviously very embarrassed by the conflict between what he knows to be correct and what he knows his 'Boss' will expect of him, he qualified this by saying something to the effect that the City Council had the right to decide whether the subject of the protest had merit. In his opinion the shortage of fuel at the filling stations no longer had merit and Lilongwe City had been right to ban the demo.
Ted! Ted! Who can we trust? You know that you are now a paid lackey; that you are selling your own people to the devil - the devil of your own self-interest and the oppressive plans of your home-boy President.
Unfortunately, this same control-all President has ensured that there are still no functioning elected local government representatives. They are the ones who should be recruting the chief executives. They are the ones who should be assessing the merits of competing applicants for the job. Part of the process would  be to come up with a list of qualifications that would merit consideration. Do you have the specific qualifications? Did you go through a competitive process for an advertised post that will be paid for by the CITIZENS? Tell us. Did the President consider and call  you and other hopefuls for interview? How else would he know of your competence? Is he, himself, competent to judge? He is not the employer or even an agent of the employer! If you do not do the job to our satisfaction it is our local representatives, not your home-boy, who should sack you.
As for demonstrations, you know as well as I do that this Government and its agents of oppression, the Police FORCE, are determined to prevent any demonstration of dissatisfaction with the Government, the President or their agents. You know that we have the right to demonstrate on anything that we consider needs a public airing or even any rubbish from our rambling minds. That is the nature of our hard-won freedom.
How can you stoop so low as to make such public statements that reveal your duplicity?
We, the people, will put an end once again to tyranny just as we did with Kamuze and Bakili. You may sit on the top of the pile - for now. Enjoy it while you can. Mutharika cannot put the lid on for ever. Our leaders never learn.
The High Court has always confirmed the right to demonstrate. It will continue to reconfirm that neither the Police nor the local authorities have any say in the matter. Their concern should be to facilitate and guard against illegal activity during demonstrations. If the Police can provide escorts for the frequent Big Walks on the public roads then they should be able to extend the same courtesy to demostrators.

A reminder - Constitution of Malawi. Section 38 'Right of Assembly':  
Every person shall have the right to assemble and demonstrate with others peacefully and unarmed. Basithu!

Question: Is this just a temporary post? Any truth in the rumour that Nandolo is favourite for the vacant position of CEO of the Independent (???) Electoral Commission? 
We haven't seen anything yet!

No comments:

Post a Comment