Democracy is not elections once every five years. That is only a small part of it. Democracy is a process, and much of that process is struggle.
In many countries all over the world the population is fighting for their rights. In Iraq Parliament is occupied. The Greeks are holding many actions. In Venezuela and Brazil there are actions going on all the time. In Netherlands there were 27 strikes last year. In Germany and Belgium demonstrations are frequent and big. Recently there were big demonstrations in Nigeria and Zimbabwe. President Zuma of South Africa is under heavy pressure to resign, and South Africans are demonstrating frequently. During the Arab Spring of 2011 most of the Arab World was fighting for their rights. In China Ai Wei Wei is only the most visible of an army of activists, who fight for their rights. Anonymous is fighting for you, me, and themselves on the World Wide Web (internet). I could go on forever, but my point is clear: to defend our rights we cannot sit back and let PAC take care of things.
PAC names a few contentious points after their “all inclusive” indaba (which was far from inclusive) and the President says they are doing it the wrong way so he is not going to oblige. Kaliati tells PAC to be not confrontational. (PAC was overly respectful and not confrontational enough to get the government to move).
A clear problem with the lack of inclusivity is the list of the most urgent problems that comes out: PAC invited only the urban wealthy, and almost all delegates were old men. A few women, even some token representatives of youth organizations (who were not that youthful themselves!), and that is it. So what comes out is:
- limit Presidential powers like appointments of the head of police, judges, ACB, FIU, MBC and so on. (the President refuses, even though this was in his own Manifesto for the elections!)
- pass the Access To Information Bill (the President refuses even though this was in his own manifesto for the elections!)
I asked around in the village, and the outcome of my non-scientific non-representative research suggested that the problems of the common Malawian are very different from these issues. What I found was that Malawians want:
- A decent income
- Decent health care
- Decent education for their children
Now these things may partly be addressed in the (very) long term by the PAC issues, but this is too far off for my non-scientific research population. A decent income means that the economy needs to grow; I propose we follow the ideas of the President of the Republic of Imagini: fight corruption, red tape, government inefficiency, and institute the rule of law.
For health care: do not waste our tax money on a prestigious cancer centre that already is costing US 40,000,000 (instead of the budget of US 15,000,000) Instead empower the rural clinics with enough staff (hire all those graduated nurses and doctors!) and drugs (fight corruption in the drugs supply chain and use the US 40,000,000 for more drugs).
For education: hire those graduated teachers and bring back the funds that were transferred to State Residences at the last budget review, to buy textbooks.
For security: first of all hunger, poverty and inequality are strong drivers of crime, they need to be addressed (like under 1). Second the police needs to have a realistic operations budget.
PAC comes up with the upper middle class values that they represent, they did not listen to the average villager. So we need to organise ourselves. Check the international news for inspiration, and the way to go.