Malawi activists hail Chibwana resignation as ‘good example’

Malawi activists have respected and appreciated the decision of ruling People’s Party (PP) secretary-general Henry Chibwana to resign, hailing it as “a good example of responsibility shown by someone who did put his party into disrepute.”

Chibwana resigned on Sunday over the remarks he made at a rally last week that Malawi would be better off going back to a one-party State.

The former Principal of University of Malawi’s Polytechnic College said he could no longer fulfill his duties in the wake of his controversial statement which was widely condemned. He said his statement had put the Joyce Banda-led party into “disrepute.”

Reacting to the resignation, outspoken  social activist  Dr Jessie Kabwila of the University of Malawi said   “atleast Chibwana has the decency to resign over statements he made. Wish we had more people who know when the curtain is closing? How can anyone even talk about us going back to one party state, seriously, that is our holocaust equivalent – you just do not even go there, period.”

Dzonzi: Chibwana  has shown the way
Dzonzi: Chibwana has shown the way

Human rights activist Billy Mayaya, a leading member of Civic and Political Space Platform, said  the resignation by Chibwana was  good for democracy.

“We are heartened by the resignation of Henry Chibwana over the one party statement. The statement was extremely hurtful for Malawians who endured extreme hardship, cruelty and even death,” Mayaya told Nyasa Times.

He added:”Mr Chibwana has done the only thing one would be expected to do in such circumstances. This is a big lesson for the People’s Party and they will have to endure the fallout for a long time.”

Mayaya said Chibwana’s resignation should be “a huge lesson for all political parties especially the  PP to focus on substance and not trite as they focus on their vision for Malawi during the electoral period and beyond.”

Law expert Justin Dzonzi  said other politicians should own up to mistakes which can put their parties into disrepute.

“I think that’s what it should be done in a democracy,” noted Dzonzi of Justice Link Network.

Dzonzi commended Chibwana, saying “he“ has taken the game a notch higher and other politicians have to know that when you have a public position and you do something which is wrong the best thing is for you to go down not not take the whole party with you.”

Social-politicaln activist Ben Chiza Mkandawire also took to social media to comment on Chibwana’s resignation

“So Chibwana has the decency to resign his post as Secretary General, how many other leaders in Malawi have put greed first and continued to serve the public even after abusing their office with irresponsible utterances?? I respect men that own up to their mistakes,” Chiza Mkandawire wrote on his Facebook Timeline.

He added in a  comment on his post: “Decency is what we demand from our leaders. I for one respect men like Chibwana. Mistakes are often blown when one denies committing them, I will never respect Ken Lipenga ( Finance Minister) and Khumbo Kachale (Vice President), even Joyce Banda for her failure to promote discipline within her party, but men like Chibwana deserve my respect.”

As reported by Nyasa Times, Chibwana made the controversial remarks in the capital, Lilongwe when he addressed PP supporters during a ceremony to welcome two Members of Parliament Fredrick Kamwangala (Lilongwe North West) and Agnes Penemulungu (Lilongwe City South East) who have joined PP.

Chibwana claimed the PP has achieved a lot by bringing back donors, improved tobacco prices, an end to the shortage of fuel and foreign currency, the Safe Motherhood Initiative and the Presidential Initiative on Poverty Reduction and Hunger.

He said the country can be better off with one-party state, saying “it is possible that the whole Malawi can turn into orange.”

The remarks attracted a barrage of criticism from pro-democracy activists and political parties.

Meanwhile, PP spokesman Hophmally Makande has since called Chibwana a “true democrat” for what he called taking responsibility for his actions.

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