Leader of opposition, civils society organisations (CSOs) and commentators have poked holes all over President Peter Mutharika’s State of the Nation address (Sona), in which he said those who are propagating that there can be a vacancy in the office of the president are committing treason.
Mutharika in a speech via video link shown over giant screens in Parliament urged the House to correct the mistake of the both the Constitutional Court and the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal who ordered the fresh presidential election.
“Nullifying elections is nullifying the will of the people,” said Mutharika.
But leader of the opposition Lobin Lowe said he will give the formal response to the Sona in the House, his immediate assessment was that the President is “trying to put his knee on the neck of democracy and suffocate it.”
The local Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) chairperson Gift Trapence has scatching in is reaction, saying the President’s address is a mark of a leader living in denial and, silently, orchestrating a Constitutional Crisis to keep himself in power.
Reacting to the Presidents’ SONA, especially on the issue of the judges’ elections nullification, HRDC chairperson Gift Trapence said the President is the one who would want to abuse the rule of law by not complying with the court order for fresh elections.
“It is not anybody in Malawi who will commit treason but him for defying court judgment. Malawians will not allow that impunity. We will guard our constitution to the fullest because no one is above the law,” Trapence said.
Trapence further said Malawians don’t want to reach a level of a Constitution crisis because someone wants to remain in power without the mandate of the people.
“After 2nd July, if elections are not conducted this country will not have a President—that’s a fact. We don’t need to reach to that level,” he said.
He underlined that the President’s conduct by not allowing fresh elections will be criminal.
London-based Malawian economist Watipaso Mkandawire commented that Mutharika wants to retain power “by any means necessary.”
He noted: “Some of the means included causing confusion in the process.”
Lawyer Bright Theu fiercely criticised Mutharika regarding the controversial statement he said that Parliament is supreme above the courts, calling it “consummate nonsense.”
Said Theu: “The idea is to pitty parliament against the courts for a power struggle of sorts.
“No Sir, again no matter how much you crave it to be the case, Parliament is not supreme above the courts. Just like your office [President] is not supreme above the courts and the National Assembly.”
Theu, who represented Vice-President Saulos Chilima in the elections case, said three branches of government – The Executive, Legislature and Judiciary – are at best co-equal branches of the State.
“Whether you like it or not, this is the arrangement we as a nation agreed on when you were away [in exile.].”
Theu acknowledged presented “some paper” during the constitutional process, but pointed out that he never drafted anything.
“If you don’t like the workings if constitutionalism, rule of law, separation of powers, and check and balances that begot the judgement nullifying that embarrassment of an election doesn’t waste our time, just get the hell out of there,” Theu blasted.
Another government critic Idriss Ali Nassah said Mutharika’s address demonstrated that the President is “in denial” of the nullification of his re-election and that “he is delusional”.
Nassah said President Mutharika is turning to be a “huge national security risk.”
He said “Mutharika must go!”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :