President Peter Mutharika on Saturday dominated titles in the newspaper columns following his one-and-a-half hour State of the Nation Address (Sona) when he opened the first meeting of the 48th Session of Parliament on Friday and has been criticised of failing national unity test.
The Weekend Nation newspaper has tipped Mutharika, whose election as president is being disputed by his two closest contestants in the elections—MCP’s Lazarus Chakwera and UTM’s Saulos Klaus Chilima— to reach out to everybody including the opposition.
“What Mutharika needs to do now is, he needs to devise a system that would enable him to get mandate from the people,” the paper said in a comment.
The paper pointed out that Mutharika made some serious assertions about unnamed political leaders he said were planning to distabilise the country.
Said Mutharika: “I know two political leaders who discussed the possibility of exploding Kamuzu Stadium on the day of my swearing-in ceremony. They must know that I know.
“These two political leaders have tried to recruit mercenary militias from Al-Shabaab and the Congo war zone to come and create anarchy in this country. Is this the leadership we want?”
The paper said it is this background that the President should “sober up and desist from demonising opposition leaders.”
It pointed out that the President’s assertion that “two political leaders discussed the possibility of exploding Kamuzu Stadium on the day of his swearing-in ceremony” is totally misplaced and out of sync with efforts to unite the country.
Reads the comment: “This is a serious allegation. If Mutharika has compelling evidence that there are some political leaders who planned to bring Al-Shabaab to cause anarchy in Malawi, why not allow the law to take its course?”
Also in the paper, its managing editor Ephraim Munthali writing on his ‘Cut-the-chaff’ column faulted President Mutharika that he missed an opportunity to demonstrate that he can rise above political pettiness by attempting to strike regional balance in the allocation of Cabinet positions.
Munthali stated that having looked at the Mutharika’s 24-member Cabinet announced Wednesday, he is beginning to doubt Mutharika’s promise during his inauguration speech to work hard and unite the country after bruising elections.
“But while the President has the right to bring into his Cabinet anyone from anywhere, to equate one district (Thyolo) to whole regions (Centre and South) by giving the district and the regions equal number of Ministers sends troubling signals, especially when the President’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is plastered with tribalistic images,” writes Munthali.
He continued: “The dominance of Thyolo in the Cabinet appointments raises the profile of the district to special treatment levels that has potential to bring resentments nationwide.”
Also writing on his column in the Weekend Nation, Steve Nhlane titled his column ‘ APM has no agenda to unite Malawi.”
He wrote: “Like in the Parable of the Bags of Gold (Mathew 25:14—30), Mutharika’s strong message in the composition of this Cabinet is simple. To the South which is his support base, he is giving them a pat on the back – Well done, good and faithful servant! … You have been faithful [to me] … I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”
The columnist continued: “On the other hand, to the Centre and North, Mutharika is scorning them for not supporting him -You wicked, lazy servant! ‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has 10 bags. For whoever has will be given more, and they will have in abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Mutharika has since outlined how his DPP-led government intends to tackle corruption, grow the economy, improve health delivery service, education, put food on people’s tables, improve transport infrastructure, energy and mining sector and the need for peace.
He also stated how his government intends to actualise what they have promised the people.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :