- Life President remarks sparked a backlash
- Sorry Mr President, you have term limits by law
Culture and Sports Minister Grace Chiumia has apologised to President Peter Mutharika over comments she made suggesting that the incumbent is president for life.
Chiumia made the remarks at the fundraising dinner of the Mulhako wa Alhomwe in Lilongwe on Friday where Mutharika was guest of honour.
She referred to Mutharika, 76 as the “Life President”, appeared to suggest the Malawi leader should hold on to power, remarks which were not disputed by the President.
Rafik Hajat of the Institute for Policy Interaction, a think tank, said it was unfortunate Mutharika did not challenge the remarks which would denigrate his reputation.
But her comment led to furious backlash by Malawians including the influential Catholic Church through its its governance arm, Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) who branded the remarks – the making of dictatorship.
The sports minister has since apologised for “any hurt caused” and insisted that it was slip of a tongue and that she did not in anyway trumpet the change of con
Chiumia admitted that her remarks triggered insults directed at the President.
“I would like to apologise to the President. Let people castigate me and not the President,” said Chiumia trying to put a positive spin.
Chiumia insisted her remarks were “innocent misstate which everybody can make.”
She stressed that Life President is non issue and that “Malawians should not take this seriously.”
Chiumia pointed out that the Constitution is clear that President tenure is limited to five years which is extended through elections to another five years and after two consecutive five-years, a Head of State is mandated by the law to retire.
She said Mutharika is no exception, he has to seek votes from Malawians in 2019 to renew his mandate or vote him out then if he wins, he will have to retire in 2024.
The Minister said: “The Constitution is there and nobody is above the law.”
The life-presidency remarks comes after DPP senior politicians, regional governor for the north Kenneth Sanga told a rally that Mutharika’s party will be in power until 2099.
And secretary general Ecklem Kudontoni said DPP will until keep on winning the elections for the next 50 years.
Also commenting recently in Presidential Advisor on National Unity, Symon Vuwa Kaunda who said Mutharika will remain President of Malawi even if elections were held today, saying ” there is no one else.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :