Look who's talking: Bingu says ‘let oppostion have their say’

Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika urged African states on Monday to allow opposition groups to express their views, three weeks after anti-government protests in his own country left 19 dead.

But Mutharika also made a dig at his own opposition, saying they appeared to be aiming to cause instability.

“Let us enhance participatory democracy if Africa is to come out of poverty,” Mutharika said “Let us open up opportunities to allow the opposition to express their views,” he said.

Mutharika last month faced unprecedented anti-government protests amid accusations that he is trampling on democratic freedoms and mismanaging the economy.

Bingu: Allow opposition expression‎

At least 19 people were killed in a police crackdown and more than 275 people arrested across the country.

The opposition role should be to “provide checks and balances” to the government, he told the gathering.

In Malawi they seemed to be “driving away from this role to bring instability, but I urge you to come back on track and help develop our countries.”

The former African Union chairman said the continent was “beginning a new era and steadily moving away from pessimism to optimism”.

Its countries should “take charge of home grown policies to own their destiny,” he said.

“Let’s take the responsibility to take Africa out of poverty through unity … nobody will do this for us,” he said.

Impoverished Malawi last month adopted a zero-deficit budget of 303 billion kwacha ($2bn) which will be raised from local resources.

Donors in the past have contributed 40% of its development budget.

Britain, the largest bilateral donor to its former colony, in July suspended about £19m of budgetary aid over economic and governance management concerns.–AFP

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