Prime Minister do not commit 'countrycide'

A good leader knows when it is time to lead, when it is time to follow, and when it is time to move aside. Muscat has shown time and again that he is able to do the right thing


Business and consumer confidence are crucial elements for a healthy economy. Whenever confidence waned, investment and spending contracted.

Malta experienced this between 2009 and 2013 when an already precarious situation as a result of the international recession was made worse by the political instability that hounded the Gonzi administration.

Back then the problem was only partially induced by the administration’s inability to function at will because its one-seat majority was continuously under threat.

Today, the country is facing a far worse predicament because the problem is completely self-inflicted and concerns developments that have implicated people inside Castille in murder.

The ongoing investigations and prosecutions linked to the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder have snowballed into a veritable political crisis that has shocked the country and jammed the economy.

The information filtering through is a serious indictment on Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s judiciousness in keeping Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi by his side three years ago when they were outed as having companies in Panama.

With Schembri’s name continuously cropping up in the Caruana Galizia assassination investigation, the red die of murder has been cast on the Office of the Prime Minister.

In these circumstances the right thing to do would have been for Muscat to resign immediately. Stepping down now would put everyone’s mind at rest that justice is not only done but seen to be done against all those involved in the murder without fear or favour.

Muscat’s obstinate decision to hang on for 42 days until 12 January has only made a precarious situation worse.

The Prime Minister’s decision not to step down has incensed a lot of people and only contributed to an environment where tension and hostility are running high. Protests have intensified and are unlikely to abate.

Muscat must shoulder full political responsibility by resigning immediately. It will go a long way to help the country come to terms with the seriousness of the situation.

The ongoing political crisis has destabilised society and strained relationships. This is bad because it undermines the serenity that is necessary for a country to function normally.

But the crisis has also hit business hard. Shops in Valletta are reporting the worst start to the Christmas shopping season as people stay away from the capital to avoid getting caught up in protests.

On a more macro level, investment decisions at boardroom level are being stalled until clarity and political stability return.

In all this, the country’s reputation abroad has taken a nose dive that will certainly leave a lasting impact.

It will not be long before this will start hurting the economy. Paradoxically, it will be the same government that has so carefully curated the economy over the past six years to harm it.

The dark cloud of murder hanging on this country’s highest office is already serious enough to deal with. Muscat’s continued permanency in office is just making matters worse.

A good leader knows when it is time to lead, when it is time to follow, and when it is time to move aside. Muscat has shown time and again that he is able to do the right thing.

But at this point in time, he is neither leading, nor following. He is sitting on the proverbial fence until his party decides who should take over the reins of power.

This is harming the country, society, individuals and the economy. Muscat is committing ‘countrycide’ and this is unfair on everyone.

This leader joins the various constituted bodies, academics, individuals, and civil society in their call urging Muscat to step down immediately.

Prime Minister it is time to take a decision. Do not commit ‘countrycide’.

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