Head of Presidential committee on dialogue, Bishop emeritus Bernard Malango has said President Bingu wa Mutharika was right to threaten the civil society with ‘war’ because he had been patient for a long time.
Mutharika said Thursday he had declared “war” on his critics, who are planning a vigil on September 21 to protest his government’s policies.
But speaking on Zodiak radio on Friday, a day after Mutharika gave the civil society two options either to go for dialogue or choose a date to go to war, Malango said the President remarks were spot-on.
“We cannot heap the blame on the state president for making such statements because if I think he was provoked in one way or another. I think he made those remarks because he was provoked,” said Malango.
However, political scientist Augustine Magolowondo has warned that such words can derail the whole dialogue process of dialogue.
“Even Jesus was angry at one point and he chased people who misused the church. But anger should not be an excuse on this matter. Words like war and violence should not come from a State President especially during this time when we want to mend differences,” Mwagolowondo said.
Mutharika said his government had powers to arrest protest organisers if the September vigil goes ahead.
Critics accuse Mutharika of becoming increasingly autocratic, presiding over an economic downward spiral and alienating the country’s foreign donors.
Last month 19 people were killed when police opened fire on anti-government protesters.
Meanwhile, civil society spokesperson Voice Mhone has threatened to pull out of the talks if the presidential team was not sincere.
In a communiqué released after their first meeting on Thursday, the two parties agreed on dialogue principles, the roadmap and an eventual Memorandum of Understanding. They also requested the UN to seek ways and means of speeding up the process.
The two groups agreed to meet again on August 29,Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :