I never proposed federalism but removing regional boundaries -Mutharika

Malawi President Peter Mutharika has denied reports that he previously proposed federalism and proportional representation in the country, describing them as two possible ways of doing away with concerns of regional marginalisation.

President Mutharika interacting with former Nyasa Times and Joy Radio journalist Rabecca Chimjeka ( now with The Nation newspaper) at Sanjika Palace

President Mutharika interacting with former Nyasa Times and Joy Radio journalist Rabecca Chimjeka ( now with The Nation newspaper) at Sanjika Palace

Addressing the National Constitutional Review Conference in Lilongwe, held from 28 to 31 March 2006 titled ‘Towards a More Manageable Constitution, Mutharika, then professor at Washington University School of Law in USA, publicly proposed federalism while addressing the issue of national unity.

Mutharika hosted Malawi media practitioners to a dinner at Sanjika Palace in Blantyre on Tuesday and said he has never been pro-federalism.

“I have never supported federalism. I came here as a consultant on the constitution asked to comment on a number of proposals such as revolving the Presidency [among the three regions], federalism and proportional of representation. I talked about all of the [three proposals] and how they could be applied to the context of Malawi,” said Mutharika.

He stated: “What I said in the case of Malawi was that one way would be to abolish the regional boundaries. For the three regions are not geographically equal in size. In fact the regions have no legal meaning as they are not mentioned in the constitution.

“What I said, against this background, was to abolish the regions and use the 28 districts as the first administrative units. In that way we could be empowering people while effecting decentralisation. But I did not support federalisation”.

In the paper he presented in 2006, Mutharika claims that proportional representation worked well in countries like Namibia, South Africa and Mauritius, urging Malawians to borrow the leaf from those countries.

Making a case on the federal system of government, Mutharika also used the Nigerian government, saying “Another and perhaps more radical response (are) to simply abolish the three regions and create the district as the basic administrative unit.”

The paper says Nigeria successfully resolved the problems that were created by the existence of its three regions at the time of independence in 1960 into what are now 36 States and one federal territory.

“While the initial decision to abolish the regions led to war, Nigeria is now a much more unified and stable country,” he said.

Information, Tourism and Culture Minister Kondwani Nankhumwa recently said government would ask the Public Affairs Committee (PAC), the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) and other stakeholders to facilitate debate on the matter.

Meanwhile, PAC has resolved to hold a a national stakeholders forum on inclusivity and federalism November 24 and 25 under theme ‘Enhancing a Common Understanding on Inclusivity and Federalism in Malawi.

The conference will engage speakers on federalism from abroad, in particular from countries practising the principle.

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Jimmy
Guest

A person of sober habits cant understand what Peter is trying to say here on this matter,he is jst turning the very same words he said or wrote around to confuse ppl of malawi.He is only power hungry and does not want to see others taking those seats at local govnt,but zichitika even ukufuna or sukufuna no way it has been high time experiencing this selective development.

Jimmy
Guest

I was born in the North,raised up there and became to know more abt the side,but i have hardly seen a development happening as compared to LL&BT,so i really support federalism system bcz it wrks well and have seen it in SA.No part of the same country is left behind bcz it has its on local government that operates.Unlike in Malawi you jst sit and wait from the national government whose ppl are selfish and thieves,foolish let us enjoy our own development bcz national gvnt has failed to deliver compeletely.

johnM
Guest

Can Nyasatimes print the paper in which Peter expressed his views on federalism? We can then see what he meant without really debating on his current stance.

Nkhata bay wake up
Guest

This can only mean one thing that Mr President can not be trusted yet he is a leader, how can we take him seriouly today he will say one thing tomorrow will deny.federalism is the way to go Mr President dont be selfish because you want more power ,please do it for the country .People will remember you for that. that you are the one who started federalism in Malawi.Federalism is not for the Chewas or the Tumbukas but is for the development of the whole country.

Optic Computer
Guest
If Peter was hired to provide expert advice to the government, and actually said that the regions be abolished like in Nigeria, then his expertise is to be questioned. The 36 states of Nigeria also are divided into districts (or simply states of Nigeria are not districts, but are made up of Local Government Areas). For instance, Oyo State has 33 LGA with administrative seats in diverse cities and towns. It doesn’t mater whether in a federal government a political region is called a state (as in Nigeria and USA), a province (as in Canada), an emirate (as in the… Read more »
chakhalira
Guest
As I said earlier on that it is not in my best interest to comment on this Federalism issue because it seems those people who know very little about this system are the people who talk more but are misleading the people out there because they are so emotional and kutukwana kokha kokha. Chonde nenani mfundo zeni zeni. This time around I am so disappointed with the answer or comment of the Ex Law Professor currently the President of Malawi who was a consultant on several issues at that time. On the very paper he wrote, I have read in… Read more »
Kikikiki
Guest
Wow! It looks and one could suggests our president has lost it completely. ….. In the first place, if we’re to peddle backwards was the job advertised to local and internationally consultants who understood the need? I can hardly recall that you me, unless one reminds and educate me otherwise. So his brother, late mutharika coerhersed his family to come around and fool people and got away with millions of kwachas for the job he didn’t even know to execute it. What a shame! I’ve said it many times this guy has got no clue and worst still he’s surrounded… Read more »
Zeze
Guest

Uli Mukusintha Vakuyowoya?Fedral Oye!!

Manjawala
Guest

Lucious amene anaba certificate? Kaya cha. Mutobweka wanthu.

Alfred Munduwabo
Guest
A toothless bulldog is a failure indeed . Why changing your statement today ? After staying in America over fifty years you thought you will come to rule stupid Malawi as easy as you came ? Very soon expect yourself to be no more , you were not supposed to force yourself to become a president through a back door. You have mountains of problems to sort out and you will give up very soon . Nursery school children are tired of you already , what about if the whole nation show anger on you ? That was Southern Region… Read more »
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