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’.
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.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :