Bingu to set up dialogue committee, Code offer tips

By Charles Kufa and Peter Makossah, Nyasa Times

Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika on Monday said he will set up Presidential Committee on Dialogue to ensure there is dialogue with stakeholders dialogue to discuss the way forward to address the socio-economic and political governance problems facing the southern African nation.

The President made the call as he opened a Commonwealth meeting for parliamentary speakers from 20 African states after the Civil Society groups made fresh appeals for genuine before they take the citizens back into the streets on August 17.

The statement came three weeks after anti-government protests which left 19 dead.

Mutharika: Lets talk

Congress of Democrats (Code) spokesman Clever Ngwalo meanwhile told Nyasa Times that a genuine dialogue is the only way forward to sort the current chaos and bring sanity and order to the country.

“We call upon the president to act swiftly on this matter. The governed and the governors must sit down amicably and sort out the issues,” Ngwalo said.

President Mutharika’s tone was different from remarks by First Lady Callista Mutharika who last week berated non-governmental organisations (NGOs), accusing them of exaggerating Malawi’s problems

Code said the committee should comprise “equal number of representatives from Government side and the general public with representatives from the political parties, faith based organizations, NGOs, trade unions, private sector and academicians.”

“We also propose that the said Committee should be chaired by a prominent Malawian respected by and agreed to by both sides.”

He said as a sign of Government’s commitment to the process of negotiations, Mutharika and his officials and those of Democratic Progressive Party [DPP], should immediately stop making any derogatory remarks about the July 20th, 2011 demonstration, its aftermath and organizers.

“Malawi Broadcasting Corporation should immediately stop castigating all persons that have dissenting views from those of Government or DPP.

“Again, as one way of building trust on both sides, the State President should immediately put in place a mechanism of finalizing the process of adoption of NGO Policy in the country; and reassign NGO coordination and supervision matters to the Ministry of Gender, Child Development and Social Welfare.”
Code also urges President Mutharika to instantaneously set up a three-person commission of enquiry with high credentials in any of the following disciplines: policing, law and public administration to help in establishing the root cause of the current political nemesis.

Reads the statement: “The said commission of enquiry should be chaired by a retired Judge of the High Court or Supreme Court of Appeal. The deliberations and findings of the said enquiry should be made public.”

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