Transparency revolves around the principle of openness and candour. We are blessed that our beloved nation, now, has leaders who boast of being democrats. We hope they will be democrats in principle and practice and when they are being pressed by members of the public to be transparent, they are going to be honest and open about their dealings.
Malawians are tired of leaders who simply pay lip service to the values of openness. Experience has shown that it is one thing to preach about transparency and accountability at political podiums and another to be transparent leader in practice. To become a transparent leader one must have leadership qualities of honesty, trust, integrity and loyalty. Unfortunately, leaders with such qualities are a rare breed. The common breed of leaders is of those who preach transparency in public but are awfully corrupt in their private dealings.
The reluctance by some of our leaders to declare their assets despite numerous calls from the public is a proof of that we have the "do as I say, not as I do" type of leaders. These are the type of leaders who cannot motivate and inspire others to promote and practise transparency.
While the president declined to re-declare her assets by stating that she already did that when she was Vice President, a new call has been made. The request borders on the need to remove secrecy on salaries and benefits of the president and vice-president in order to promote transparency and accountability in the two high offices.
We share the view that the remuneration of the President and Vice President is not meant to be a secretive affair because this is tandem with Constitution's requirement for transparency and accountability. Surely, transparency at the highest level of government will to trigger further transparency in the lower levels of government.
President Joyce Banda and her administration should realise that justice begins at home. Her administration cannot call others to virtues which they themselves do not make an effort to practise. Gone are the days when the president and her vice should be splashing millions of Kwachas to charities and non profit making organisations, while at the same time refusing to disclose their perks. Malawians will be asking themselves: Where is the money coming from?
Good leaders should crave for justice, fairness, humaneness, transparency and accountability and declaration of assets and openness on how much taxpayers are coughing in form of their salaries is a step in the right direction.