Malawi CSOs rips Mutharika’s tirade

Malawi’s Civil Society Organisations have condemned President Bingu wa Mutharika for making weird allegations which they say can be seen not only to intimidate Malawians but also to frustrate the very engagement that is there between the government and cooperating partners.

The seven CSOs, Rights Defenders (Malawi Chapter), Civic and Political Space Governance Platform, Council for Non Governmental Organization in Malawi (CONGOMA) Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC), Malawi Congress of Trade Union (MCTU), CCAP Synod of Livingstonia, Church and Society and Malawi Diaspora Forum said this in a joint statement in reaction to Mutharika’s speech on the opening of the 43rd session of parliament.

Mutharika: Attacking machine

“The expectation…was that the President would inspire hope in the citizens of this country by providing solutions to the current political and economic impasse. However…the President used the occasion to castigate civil society, donors and religious leaders, questioning their powers to govern the people,” said the CSOs.

The CSOs also reminded the President that Malawi is a democratic country with protected human rights adding that any form of intimidation against its own citizenry can only be seen as failure to manage the state affairs and sustain the trust of the people as enshrined the Constitution under Section 12.

The CSOs also noted that it is erroneous for Mutharika to campaign for a new law to regulate CSOs without necessarily identifying defects within the existing NGO law.

“The question must be is the President trying to restrict NGOS operations just because they are questioning his governance style and demanding accountability?” they queried.

On allegations of regime change, the Civil Society said the President is misleading the citizens saying his government’s failures are largely the work of his own hands – poor political and economic decisions coupled with his failure to take on alternative views.

“We do not need to remind the President that he expelled the British Envoy after different stakeholders had appealed to his office not to do so which included us the NGOs,” the CSOs noted.

The CSOs also quashed Mutharika’s demand for three years to address the fuel and forex problems saying it appears to be far-fetched as it extends beyond the Constitutional mandate of his office.

“What would happen when he fails to address the problems after three years? Will he demand additional years? Will his failure to address the problems only be judged after three years? Should Malawians accept to suffer simply to suffice the three years that he is demanding?” the Civil Society asked.

Meanwhile,  Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the Southern Region  have asked  President Mutharik to speak out their crime which motivates him to attack them now and again.

Some members of the NGOs based in the region said this at a press conference in Blantyre on Thursday in reaction to Mutharika’s proposal to have legislation which shall compel such organisations to be accountable.

“We all have total respect for him as our Head of State but the way he has been attacking us of late is very worrisome. When we were backing him up between 2004 and 2009, the president was quiet. Why should he be attacking us now?” queried Billy Banda, executive director for Malawi Watch.

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