DPP attacks Malawi leader’s seven months rule: ‘PP has failed’

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has attacked Joyce Banda’s administration, seven months after being in power, arguing it has failed to run the country properly.

DPP in its six page statement made available to Nyasa Times  –at a news conference addressed by party acting President Peter Mutharika, vice president Jean Klairani, George Chaponda, and Kondwani Nakhumwa -highlighted several key areas which the Banda’s People’s Party (PP) administration has failed, which include rule of law and human rights, fertilizer subsidy among others.

The party, which had its press briefing in Blantyre on Monday afternoon, argued that PP government has failed to address some of the concerns the once ruling party made during Joyce Banda’s 100 days in office celebration.

“The DPP notes with concern that the President and her Peoples Party have not responded positively to our calls made simply in the assumption of our role as a constructive opposition in the country. We are surprised with the continued executive arrogance and refuses to address the following issues, which are also the concerns of all Malawians,” reads the statement.

Peter Mutharika: Attack machine

Rule of law, rights

On the rule of law and human rights, DPP wondered why President Joyce Banda appointed people with criminal cases in court into ministerial positions, arguing doing so undermines the justice system in the country.

It also questions the dismissal of some government officials without valid reasons.

“It is the view of the DPP that President Joyce Banda should not have appointed Atupele Muluzi, Ralph Kasambara and Dr Cassim Chilumpha to ministerial positions when she was fully aware that these individuals had not been cleared by a court of law.

“In addition, the Banda Administration has illegally removed individuals from public offices for political reasons and replaced them on the basis of political patronage and nepotism. Anti Corruption Bureau Director Alexious Nampota was falsely arrested and subsequently dismissed apparently because it was believed that he was too close to the Mutharika administration.

“The Clerk of Parliament, Matlida Katopola, Malawi Revenue Authority Commissioner General, Lloyd Muhara, Chief Immigration Officer, Elvis Thodi and Reserve Bank Governor, Perks Ligoya are all examples of this unjustified dismissal of public officers from their positions.”

Furthermore, the former ruling party accuses  the Banda administration of showing impunity in big government procurement contracts as exemplified by the disqualification of Mulli Brothers Limited from the supply and transportation list of successful bidders in Farm Input Fertilizer subsidies just because he is believed to have been too close to the Bingu Administration,” release the release in part.

Press freedom

DPP, which got out government following the sudden death of late President Bingu wa Mutharika in April this year, argued that President Banda’s government has been posing serious threats to freedom of expression, especially the freedom of the Press.

It cited the arrest of its mouthpiece Malawi Voice reporter Justice Mponda on October 14th, 2012 for allegedly insulting the President.

“A reporter for Joy Radio, Rebecca Chimjeka is also leaving in fear after receiving threats by cadets working for the Ruling PP that they will deal with her accordingly for exposing crooked deals in the fertilizer subsidy program. The reporter revealed after a comprehensive investigation how cabinet ministers and PP followers and supports were the only people that were awarded the fertilizer subsidy contracts. Details of her exposed contractors are attached at the back,” it reads.

Economic governance

On economic prudence and governance, DPP argued that the current economic crisis was indication that things are not well in the country and that the current administration has failed to address the effects of devaluation.

The party headed by Peter Mutharika further argued that the Kwacha devaluation has tumbled from 48 percent to 91 percent.

“Inflation has risen to 28 percent, bringing severe economic hardships to all Malawians especially the rural poor. It was these negative effects of the devaluation that made the DPP, while in Government, to maintain that our development partners should first assist in providing financial cushion that was critical to curb their impact.

“The absence of the financial resources needed to cushion the impact of the devaluation has caused the dramatic rise in the cost of living, raising prices of basic commodities, which has been exacerbated by the introduction of the Automatic Price Mechanism in fuel prices. Fuel prices determine the prices of basics social commodities.

“The failure of the Banda Administration to control these prices, allowing them to keep on rising every month has resulted in the lives of ordinary Malawians have becoming desperate, causing people to turn to unsafe food and water that is bringing disease and threatening national health,” reads the DPP statement.

It adds: “Additionally, the country continues to lose it’s hard won financial reserves by paying the public servants who were fired recklessly and simply on the basis that they were alleged to be close to the Bingu administration. Recently, President Joyce Banda withdrew over K300 million from government coffers to fund her trip to the United Nations General Assembly.

“She was accompanied by large number of traditional chiefs and party supporters who just went to bask in the sun of New York as they had nothing to do at the conference. This happened in spite of concerns by Malawians over the President’s numerous trips both local and international. It is so saddened to hear that the state house has already spent its whole national budget location in just two months”.

Fertiliser subsidy

Speaking on fertilizer subsidy, DPP said this year’s program cannot be admired as at present no single coupon has been distributed despite being close to rainy season.

“The 2012-2013 Farm Input Fertilizer Subsidy program leaves a lot to be desired. At present, not even a single coupon has been given and registers of the potential beneficiaries have not been prepared. The DPP is concerned that soon the first rains will start and the needy will still have not being able to obtain the fertilizer.

“It is a cause of grave concern to the DPP that this problem has been aggravated by government’s deliberate move of cancelling the earlier tenders with an aim of awarding the contracts to PP sympathizers, who are now failing to bring fertilizer home because they have neither the capacity nor the experience for such an important program” the statement reads.

Respect for women

DPP accused the government of trampling on the rights of women.

“Malawian women are being ridiculed and called names, and becoming the subject of public ridicule. The response by the Vice President to the complaints of the public about the administration’s extravagant travels, where he answered that ‘Stimayenda pakhomo pa amanu’ (meaning we don’t travel to your mothers homes) is an unfortunate case in point.

“The Vice President used these abusive words against our distinguished women, dragging them into petty political speeches. The DPP deplores this conduct from the Vice President and calls upon the administration to apologize and re-assure Malawian Women that their dignity will not anymore be insulted in this manner”.

‘Selective Justice’

The DPP also attacked Joyce Banda’s administration issues of presidential and opposition convoy, democratic principles and politically motivated arrests.

“The DPP finds it disturbing that President Joyce Banda’s drive against corruption and seeking justice is being applied selectively in that only DPP members are being targeted. It has now become the case that everybody wishing to escape the course of justice or avoid her political witch hunt must join the Peoples Party. President Banda seems to have as her objective the weakening of opposition political parties to the point where the country will be nothing but a one party state.

“Even more troubling to the DPP is the fact that while DPP officials are being arrested and targeted for political persecution, the PP government remains quite on several issues mentioned against its members For instance, those suspected of corruption in the portraits procurement saga are yet to face the law.

“Those suspected of fraud and corruption in award of the fertilizer subsidy contracts is still free. Misozi Chanthunya, who allegedly murdered a Zimbabwean national Linda Gasa was arrested by south African police and the Malawian Government has been asked to claim him. “

DPP claimed the Banda administration has however, directed an immediate stop of his prosecution just because he is related to the President.

“Additionally, the Banda administration owes Malawians an explanation regarding the fact that a rapist and a murderer were pardoned because they are relations to the president. It is a sad testimony to the failure of this administration in the realm of upholding democracy and the rule of law that Prisoners died at Zomba Prison in the riots that ensued when the President pardoned her rapist relation. To date, no Inquiry has been put in place,” further reads the release.

Lake Malawi dispute

DPP also tackles issues concerning Malawi and Tanzania border wrangle, arguing Malawians are living in fear and consternation with regard to the border dispute that the country has with Tanzania.

The party said was surprised that President Banda has taken the boarder wrangle issue to the United Nations surpassing several continental and regional bodies such as the African Union, SADC and COMESA.

The party said was ready to help government on the issue by providing some of its members who are law experts such as its interim president, Peter Mutharika to assist on the matter.

“Additionally, the DPP joins the Malawi Law Society in condemning the government’s decision, coming at a time when the country is experiencing extreme economic hardships, to hire expensive lawyers from the United Kingdom just to draft a paper to be presented to Tanzania for negotiations when we have so many learned Malawians.

“The DPP believes that African challenges are best solved by Africans. The DPP proposes that a high powered team be formed to negotiate with our Brothers from Tanzania. This group should include academicians with relevant skills, political leaders, SCO Leaders. This is a national issue and all Malawians with such skills must be willing to assist regardless of their political affiliation”.

In the release the party has also tackled issues concerning the university education and fees, commission of inquiry, economic partnership agreements as well asdeclaration of assets.

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