Mutharika must seek fresh mandate -Chihana

Rumphi central Member of Parliament (Aford), Enock Chihana, has told parliament that it is high time Malawians invoked the Constitution to demand a referendum on whether President Bingu wa Mutharika’s government mandate should go beyond 2012 given its poor governance and economic management record.

But leader of government business in parliament Dr. George Chaponda trashed the suggestion, saying they were out of order.

Chihana said the Mutharika government has lost trust of Malawians citizens in the wake of deteriorating social economic situation in the country, saying the government should seek a fresh mandate with the referendum or early general elections.

Chihana: Mutharika must seek fresh mandate

“Look, there is no forex, no fuel, in fact everything has gone haywire” said Chihana, son to the late Chakufwa Chihana credited with introduction of multiparty politics in Malawi.

“The best thing the government can do is to call for referendum or early elections to seek fresh mandate from the people,” said Chihana.

Chihana is also the national chairman of Aford – Alliance for Democracy.

The call for referendum has the blessings of the party, with its chairman of Elections and Campaign Committee, Dan Msowoya, claiming “the DPP-led government has failed in many aspects.”

Aford says the economic, social and political hardships and uncertainty facing the country are the direct consequence of poor governance.

“Malawians have lost trust in them (Mutharika’s DPP) and as the Constitution declares, their ‘authority to govern is conditional on the sustained trust of Malawians’. The entire Section 12 of our Constitution accentuates this sovereign authority of the electorate. In other words, facts of law and logic are both on our side and we cannot be faulted,” Aford statement said.

Head of Blantyre think-tank Institute for Policy Interaction (IPI) Rafiq Hajat, recently said people have a constitutional mandate to call for a referendum to decide whether they still have trust in the DPP-led government.

But according to Malawi Law Society (MLS) president John-Gift Mwakhwawa, the issue of Mutharika losing the trust of people could not call for a referendum, but rather impeachment by Members of Parliament.

Mwakwawa argues that if MPs think that the President has no trust of the people, they can initiate the impeachment process.

He said: “The President cannot call for a referendum just to decide on the trust of people. There is no question of referendum arising from the President’s speech because there is no issue to decide. The issue of trust can only be decided by MPs through an impeachment process.”

Mutharika is facing pressure in the wake of fuel and forex shortages, continued disruption in electricity and water supply and various concerns of lack of good governance and respect for human rights.

His address in  parliament last Friday asking for three years to resolve the crisis has been described as not inspiring confidence by opposition, civil society and the media.

Mutharika mandate constitutionally expies in 2014.

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