The current situation on homosexuality takes my mind back and away to South Africa before President Zuma came into power. As a campaign gimmick, he had promised his countrymen (especially the unemployed) that he was going to nationalize vital industries such as mining. The promise created panic and excitement at the same time. The then serving president, Thabo Mbeki, was viewed as unreasonable due to his laxity on this issue.
Upon taking over from Mbeki, Zuma realized that running a country is not easy as making an “empty promise”. He had to comprehend the fact that world trade dynamics, in a capitalist economy, are complicated such that his “nationalization” drive would even hurt the people who voted for him.
Back home, our current president has dealt with the homosexual issue rather similarly only that she has found her way out smartly.
Those who thought that her maiden State of the Nation address two weeks ago had given a lee way for legalization of homosexuality were in for a rude awakening. Joyce Banda has clearly stated that the issue of homosexuals should only be debated thoroughly by Malawians afterwhich a consensus will be reached (if at all it can be).
What worries me is the fact that Her Excellency has entrusted Parliament as the final institution that will come up with that decision.
I beg to differ, sadly so.
Since 1994, there is little I see in what the National Assembly has done to represent the masses. We have always elected people who have ended up making decisions that please party masters (It has to be said that all political parties in MALAWI operate on a generic philosophy and they all look similar).If a party leader says yes to something, then the whole contingent of MPs in that particular party will think uniformly.
Let me divert a bit. MPs should remember that they have a representational role above their law-making. If these people fail to represent us and go to parliament to rubberstamp whatever comes on the table for as long as it is on the party script, then honestly we need to think otherwise.
2014 is going to come faster than we think and our villages our going to be flooded with aspirants looking for our votes. I have always thought of initiating a project that sensitizing people not to vote (voter apathy) for the sole reason that their participation does not bear fruits.
We live in a country where our MPs do not operate on philosophy but blind affiliation. Sometimes I ask myself why we should have 193 MPs when they lack diversity.
I understand that these parties conduct caucuses before every sitting of parliament and it is here where a script is written. Every item is scrutinized and the party agrees how it will tackle a particular issue.
If all political parties look the same then what’s the use of having so many of them? Now, back to our issue. Deny it if you want but all the bad laws (or the effort to pass them) have been advocated by the same MPs who later on take a different stand on the same.
How could an MP think that a bill is good today and change his stand six months later? Keep count here; Injunctions Bill, Police Bill, Protected Flags, Emblems and Names Bill; all these were changed and reversed by the same August House within a period of one year. Where is the integrity?
Now are we sure that these people will represent our views morally on this contentious issue? I really doubt.
The best way to put the issue of homosexuality to rest is through a Referendum. And I think most issues should go through referenda as well.
Our MPs have done a bad job on their representational role and it’s high time we employed a new path of getting our views heard.
This forum will not talk about a few exceptions of the MPs who have stood ground against bad legislation. But whoever you are, just keep it up.
We are tired of being represented. Give us a voice through Referendums!