Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika on Saturday gave a silent action to the call by Public Affairs Committee (PAC), a group of religious leaders and activists, that he should resign within 60 days or call for a referendum on his leadership within three months.
In his speech when he presided over local commemorations of World Women’s Day in Lilongwe, Mutharika did not comment on the call for resignation.
PAC in a resolution at the end of their two-day meeting warned that if the demands are not met, they will call on Malawians from all walks of life to go for “civil disobedience.”
MutharIka who has recently been sounding a coup claims, did not comment on the development but justified First Lady Callista Mutharika’s salary for doing charity work.
His wife entered into a three-year contract with government as National Coordinator for Safe Motherhood on a salary of K1,138,000 (slightly over US$7,500) a month.
Madam Mutharika’s hefty salaries and perks was among the issues the Civil Society Organization (CSO) wants the president to address as they say there is no any basis for someone to be on the pay roll for doing charity work.
Both wives of former president Bakili Muluzi, Annie and Shanil, as well as Mutharika’s first wife the late Ethel, were not being paid when they were doing their various charity chores.
But President Mutharika said his wife was doing a great job to develop the country in her capacity as Safe Motherhood Coordinator, the title which was snatched from Vice President Joyce Banda.
“She is not in cabinet but doing a lot in her capacity as Safe Motherhood Coordinator to develop the country,” said Mutharika.
The President accused women of pulling each other down syndorme.
“Some of you fellow women are not happy with her role,” said the President.
In comments that would suprise many, Mutharika who has been persecuting Malawi’s first woman vice president, Banda, urged men to respect women.
“No matter your status in society, you were born from a woman. Women fed you, bathed you, so they need all the respect from us,” said the President.
Mutharika expressed his commitment to the promotion of women’s rights and their empowerment for them to enjoy their democratic rights and contribute effectively towards the development of Malawi.
He also asked Parliament to review laws on property grabbing to suit the prevailing democratic environment and prevent greedy relatives from grabbing property left behind by deceased fathers so that widows are protected.
Cases of relatives of dead husbands victimising helpless widows and orphans are increasing in many parts of Malawi because the existing laws are weak and do not protect widows or orphans.
Mutharika pressed members of parliament to get the law changed to prevent perpetrators from continuing reaping where they did not plant.
He alsod enounced some negative cultural practices like kulowa kufa in which a widower marries the sister of his late wife and kuchotsa fumbi in which a widow is forced to have sex with someone for ‘cleansing’.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :