By PAC Correspondent
The capacity, achievements and experience of the PAC can best be judged by work on the ground from when the Committee was established in 1992 to this day.
However, the measure in policy influence that PAC wields hitches a lot on the Committees experience in bringing together stakeholders to appreciate matters of national appeal.
For example, issues that emanate from periodic All-Inclusive Conferences have, over time, been a stepping stone to appreciating issues, making recommendations and presentation of specific proposed resolutions submitted to the Malawi head of state and government.
At the moment, PAC has achieved a certain level of gravitas – having power to convene stakeholders at all levels and continuing to maintain national dialogue with the Government Technical Team through which resolutions have been adopted for implementation.
Examples abound. In 2017 government implementation PAC resolutions such as the Enactment of the; Access to Information Act; Greenbelt Initiative Act; National Planning Commission Act, establishment of the National Planning Commission and creation of Greenbelt Authority.
With support from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), national dialogue resumed, a former Minister of Agriculture was arrested for the first time; and Chancellor College (then a constituent college of the University of Malawi) opened – positive strides that were officially attributed by Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs to PAC.
Based on petitions presented to the Head of State and Speaker of Parliament, government’s tabling of electoral reforms bill, and lobbying Parliament Business Committee in November, 2017 to prioritize the bills have been registered as a success of PAC’s intervention. This was so even when an advocacy strategy to hold peaceful demonstrations was postponed.
Assertions by dailies such as The Nation and Daily Times (2017) that; “PAC gets thumbs up but analyst warn new bill details pose fresh threat” and that “Government bows down to pressure – promises to table 2 bills, 4 later” (The Nation, 13 December, 2017 and The Daily Times, 6 December, 2017) demonstrated appreciation despite postponement of peaceful marches.