Chakwera refuses to address MCP’s past atrocities, focuses only on future

Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera on Thursday refused to acknowledge his party’s 31 years of atrocities against Malawians and instead insisted that the future is what matters and that ” there may have been deep wounds, deep scars, but as a nation all things are possible if we go beyond this.”

He was speaking during Capital Radio’s flagship Straight Talk programme where he was asked to comment on MCP’s human rights history and whether he was rightly  prepared to govern in a multi-party democratic system.

“I believe we are forward looking not always backward looking,” he said.

Chakwera said the past should not deter Malawians to have hope for the future.

Chakwera: Forward Looking

“Hope is springing again despite the past,” he pointed out.

“History has all that recorded and when history will finally be completed you will notice how people’s mentality gets changed over time. Let us work together as Malawians. Where there has been hate , let it be replaced with love,” said the former cleric.

“Yes there may have been deep wounds, deep scars, but as a nation all things are possible if we go beyond this,” Chakwera said .

During the interview, Chakwera, a former president of Assemblies of God Church in Malawi, revealed that he succumbed to pressure of the people to run for political office.

“For a long time people began to come to me from different sectors of the society calling on me to consider running for political office,” said the 58 year-old novice politician.

“I represent a new beginning, a new hope, I am a new person in mainstream politics… I believe people know what kind of leadership they are looking,” he said.

Asked whether he regards himself as a ‘game changer’ in  Malawi politics as the country goes towards 2014 presidential elections, Chakwera told interviewer Rhodes Msonkho: “I will take what you say.”

But Chakwera described himself as a transformational leader that the country has been waiting for.

“I am the type of leader that I believe that Malawians have been waiting for. A transformational leader,” he said.

Chakwera said Malawi problems right now is not necessarily the absence of policy frameworks, “we have a lot of these. It is implementation.”

He was also asked to comment on social-media allegations that he is “a womanizer”.

“I will not even dignify that by giving a comment,” Chakwera told the radio.

One of the political commentators on Malawi, Tom Likambale, commented on Nyasanet online discussion forum  that Chakwera was “clear, eloquent, animated and certainly has no shortage of ideas for Malawi’s future and the MCP’s role in it. Trouble remains his inability to adequately address the MCP’s past and how to make amends for it.

“Sure he alludes vaguely to  [Kamuzu Banda] HKB’s apology and urges victims to respond to past hurt with love. You’d think he is in an Assemblies of God cathedral preaching”

Likambale wrote: “Let me put it this way: there is no future without the past. Chakwea must address the MCP’s past with more than calls for forgiveness and love urges. He needs to take his party through the difficult but necessary process of reviewing what it did in the past and how it can ensure, internally, that it will never be that kind of a party again. Now, that would be leadership! “

The political commentator said calls for love as a response to what the MCP did in the past are inadequate and only end up putting off many people.

“ It’s not a smiley face and an American accent that do this trick. “

Recently, Likambale in a column he wrote for Nyasa Times, said MCP needs an honest and serious introspection.

“Before telling voters what it will do for the country, it needs to understand what it must do for itself to regain acceptance. Rev. Chakwera was a pastor in the Assemblies of God church. To be convincing in his new role, however, he has to embody the MCP’s past like a Catholic at confession,” he wrote.

He argued that MCP must show that it is ready, willing and able to leave its past behind it and turn the page not just by saying so, and not just by changing leaders, but by a true project of genuine introspection and sincere reform that is public, verifiable and irreversible.

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