The Journey to 2023 from 1992: What Has PAC Achieved?

By PAC Correspondent

The Public Affairs Committee (PAC) today commands a lot respect in Malawi and remains the voice of the voiceless. This from humble beginnings in 1990s as Malawians agitated for change.

The history of  PAC in dialogue processes and advocacy can, therefore, not be over-emphasized.


In  1992, when Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda was head of state, PAC maintained dialogue with the regime through the Presidential Committee on Dialogue(PCD) as the dialogue machinery.

That dialogue resulted in a referendum that saw Malawians opt for a multiparty system of government.

When later in 2002 arose political agitation for extension of the presidential term limit of two, in 2003, PAC spearheaded a campaign against open and third term constitutional amendments.

In 2007, PAC also maintained dialogue with major political parties on whether parliamentarians should focus all their attention on the changing of Section 65 of the constitution or the national budget. Section 65 was about amending the constitution to stretch the presidential term limit.

With its’ extensive experience in the political processes, the organization has previously hosted  COMESA on Civil Society Organizations (CSO) initiatives, PAC participates in COMESA elections observation missions, Africa-EU  Joint Strategy for Development and AU- ECOSSOC.

The PAC also spearheaded advocacy on Electoral and Local Government Act reforms.

Against this background, issues of good governance and peace building occupy a centre-stage   of PAC’s strategic direction and any state deviation from the expected democratic norms attracts  its interventions through advocacy and constructive engagement.

The   Drivers  of  Change  and  Development, ODI,  Report (2006)  describes PAC as an exception in the delivery of its vision and mission. It states that “exception include the churches  and faith based organizations with their grassroots’ membership which especially through their  umbrella body, the Public Affairs Committee, have played an important role since transition. The  PAC has criticised government regularly for bad policies as well as abuses and  infractions”.

The  churches are the most powerful membership associations in Malawi and the only  organizations within civil society that have grassroots support.

UNDP (2012) has described PAC as  “the most important social institution with capacity to strengthen social cohesion. PAC istherefore, a platform for collective religious leadership of the country to meet, discuss and  pronounce on important national issues. When they speak  and  act in unison, they have proved to be a powerful moral voice that politicians could not disregard

The  Nation  Newspaper (2015)  describes PAC  as “the country’s authoritative interface democracy watchdog and advocacy group”. The existence of PAC, therefore, is critical for the  consolidation of democracy and shaping the future of Malawi.

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