Malawi ready for woman president, ‘First Gentleman’ as PAC speaks

Malawi is ready for the first female president in Her Excellency Joyce Banda  who takes charge following the death of Head of State Bingu wa Mutharika  as the Public Affairs Committee(PAC) has also called on Malawians not to accept anything less than what the country’s Republican Constitution demands.

Banda, 61, is married to former Malawi and Swaziland chief judge, Richard Banda. She is is expected to run the country until scheduled elections take place in 2014.

She joins Liberia’s Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in the line of Africa’s female Head of States.

Several questions will have to be answered. Primary among them: what to call the President’s spouse. Others suggest he will be called First Hubby or First Spouse.  Nyasa Times has learnt that he will be called ‘First Gentleman’.

Her Excellency the President Joyce Banda

There will also be questions on what role will  the ‘First Gentleman’ should play in Malawi  life, of course he is a man of ethic who will not receive an illegal salary for doing charity work.

Following Mutharika’s death hardliners in Mutharika’s party looked on course to subvert the constitution and sideline her from assuming her official presidential duties as per constitutionally requirement that the vice president takes over the office of presidency in the event of death or incapacitation of the president.

The presidency and cabinet issued a statement assuring citizens and the international community “that the constitution of the Republic of Malawi will be strictly adhered to in managing the transition.”

Meanwhile, the leading rights group PAC which called for Mutharika to stand down in 60 days  condemned the coup plot Foreign Affairs Minister Peter Mutharika,  Information Minister Patricia Kaliati,  Health Minister Jean Kalilani, Energy Minister Goodall Gondwe and Nicholous Dausi to block Her Excellency  Banda from assuming the mantle.

In its statement, PAC says it is important that Malawians respect in full what the constitution says on who takes over the reins of power should the president die.

“We call upon Malawians not to accept less than what the Republican Constitution demands. We are in support of those who have indicated that the constitution must be respected,” says PAC in a statement co-signed by Shareef Imran  Mohamed, PAC  Board Secretary and Rev  Maurice Munthali, Publicity  Secretary.

PAC, a grouping of religious leaders, says in as  far  as the  constitution  is concerned,  the  Vice President  must  take over  power.

“As PAC, we advocate for the rule of law.  In  no way  we  are partisan  by  stating that  the  Vice President  must  take over. All  we  are stating  at  the moment  is  the fact  that  the Vice President  must  take over. We are  watching  closely authorities  who  are bent  to  destabilize our  constitutional  order and we  will  not compromise  on  the deliberate  disregard  of constitutional  provisions.,” say the statement.

PAC insists that it is not  advancing an individual  to  the highest  office  of the  land  but  is simply  putting  it right  that  the office  of  the Vice  President  is entitled  to  the position.

It says all other arguments some members of DPP are advocating will not have opportunity to triumph.

The religious grouping says the  departure of  the  state President  has  brought in the need  to exercise sober mindedness and respect  for  the constitutional  provisions.

“PAC   believes that  the  constitution of  the  Republic of  Malawi  must be  fully  respected by  all  Malawians. Attempts  to  bend the  laws  for the  sake  of pleasing  some  authorities  could  bring  disastrous consequences  among  peace-loving Malawians.  PAC  therefore appeals  to  authorities to  uphold  the rule  of  law and  constitutionalism,” says PAC.

The body further says following its all-inclusive  stakeholders  conference held in Blantyre last month, PAC will continue  to  provide checks  and  in order  to  reclaim the  country’s lost  destiny.

PAC also expresses its condolences  to  the wife,  children   and the  whole  nation for  the death  of Mutharika.

Immediately after its two-day all-inclusive meeting last month, PAC gave Mutharika a 60-day and 90-day ultimatums to resign or call for a referendum for failing to run the country. The ultimatums were later reviewed and made open.

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