Leader of opposition in Parliament Robin Lowe has warned President Peter Mutharika of any attempts to cling to power after July 3 2020, saying fresh presidential elections should be held as a constitutional court and the Supreme Court ruled that he was not duly elected as President.
In his State of the Nation address delivered to Parliament on Friday through a recorded video, Mutharika persuaded the lawmakers to consider postponing the election due to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic despite the court order to hold the fresh vote within 150 days, after the court ruling on February 3.
The 150 days will elapse on July 3.
But Mutharika warned the opposition, he would not accept to be removed from power—even by the courts, or the people power movement, warning that would be tantamount to treason.
But Lowe said Mutharika’s attempts to undermine the fresh elections will not succeed, saying the country will still have the elections as ordered by the court.
“We will comply with the court orders and after 150 days, Mutharika will be cornered,” said Lowe.
Lowe said it is clear that the President is against the court ruling and does not want to comply with it.
He said Mutharika’s time in power is over.
Lowe said the opposition was aware that the ruling party is seeking to introduce laws to reverse the court rulings, but said the opposition may bring own legislation depending on the situation to ensure the elections are held within the period ordered by court.
Governance commentator Makhumbo Munthali told Nyasa Times that President Mutharika is working tooth and nail to frustrate the court’s decision and asking Parliament to rebel against the Judiciary.
“What Mutharika is doing is to sow seeds of anarchy which unfortunately may backfire on him in the short or long term.
“But why is Mutharika behaving like this? Does it mean he doesn’t understand the tenets of constitutionalism, rule of aw and judicial accountability. Certainly, as a professor of law Mutharika must be well conversant with these basics of law,” said Munthali.
However, he pointed out that the problem is that “Mutharika is simply trying to create a crisis or anarchy in order to pursue narrow political interests in a context where the likelihood of him retaining the office are slim due to the threat posed by Tonse Alliance.”
Munthali noted that while Mutharika’s running mate Atupele Muluzi is excited about the fresh elections, the President has apparently proven to be disinterested in the fresh elections and he has devoted more time out of public appearance to scheme on how he would stop or further delay the new vote.
“Mutharika knows very well that it won’t be easy to win the election hence his disinterest in the election.
“ In summary, what we are saying now is an attempt by a leader to cling to power through unlawful means.It is important that all electoral stakeholders and Malawians of public will stand up and defend Constitutionalism, rule of law and our hard earned democracy,” he said.
Ernest Thindwa, a political science lecturer at Chancellor College (Chanco)—a constituent college of the University of Malawi — said the President should concede that Malawians have a right to choose who to govern them.
“It is now beyond reasonable doubt the interim president in his continued mood of abusing office is bent on denying Malawians their constitutional right to choose their leader through a free, fair and credible elections. Citizens have to rise to the occasion to demand and defend their constitutional right to elect a President of their choice in an election that reflects popular will,” said Thindwa .
He argued that President Mutharika needs not be reminded that at the moment, he has no mandate and that the ultimate authority to rule derives from citizens.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :