Aford asks JB to resign, backs Malawi Catholic pastoral letter

The Alliance for Democracy (Aford) party led by Minister of Youth and Sports in Joyce Banda administration, Enoch Chihana, says it strongly supports the criticism raised by the Catholic Bishops on Banda’s management style, including abuse of power and limited adherence to the rule of law.

Aford which is the ruling People’s Party bedfellow in the 2014 tripartite race has since asked President Banda to take personal responsibility for the financial pilferage dubbed ‘Cash gate” and step down.

However, President Banda has refused to take personal responsibility over the financial plunder, saying on many forums that the looting started years even before she assumed office.

“It’s a national tragedy,” she told the media.

Chihana: Aford leader serving Banda’s cabinet.

Catholic bishops in Malawi issued a pastoral statement—read on Sunday dated December 1, 2013—in which they spoke against wrongful self-enrichment by leaders in government in relation to the ‘cash gate’ scandal.

They also appealed to Malawians to usher in visionary leaders at all levels during next year’s tripartite elections.

And Aford in a statement on Wednesday drew parallel to the American Watergate scandal in the early 70s where Richard Nixon, then President of the United States of America resigned.

“In his resignation speech televised live all over the USA, Nixon said in part…..’ In any organization the person at the top must bear the responsibility. The responsibility therefore belongs here, in this office. I accept it,” Aford  said in the statement.

Aford said failure of Banda to resign is sending signals  that the governing elite consider the Constitution and other laws more than inconvenient pieces of paper.

“Do we ever stop to wonder why everyone who ascends to the high political office in government swears their allegiance to the Constitution, to defend and uphold it? That is how strong the citizens of this country should be in devotion to the Constitution.

“It is the instrument we have that regulates government, that compels accountability of the President to the people of this country – the citizens, and the citizens must ensure total compliance with it, but only if they understand it. Currently this is not the case,” Aford said.

In the pastoral letter under the theme ‘Strengthening the Vision of Our Destiny’ read in all Catholic churches across the country, the Catholic bishops observed that there is limited adherence to the rule of law.

They further noted that there is witch-hunting and arbitrary arrests of government critics, abuse of power, limited responsiveness, accountability and weak public goods delivery, hand-clapping and praise-singing, weakening spirit of patriotism in the leadership and spirit of fatalism in the country.

The church also talks about the need for quality leadership, national development agenda, citizen participation and spirit of patriotism, national values, the dignity of the human person, the common good, preferential option for the poor and empowerment.

The pastoral letter has described the forthcoming tripartite elections as an opportunity and a challenge to Malawians, urging them to vote for a leader with a vision, a good steward, exemplary, one who respects the Constitution and Rule of Law and is accountable, democratic and genuinely God-fearing.

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