Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika has refused to resign after the religious rights group Public Affairs Committee (PAC) demanded that he steps down or face “civil disobedience” for mismanaging the economy and trampling on democratic freedoms.
Speaking in the eastern lakeshore district of Mangochi on Thursday, remarks broadcast live on national radio, the 78-year-old president, who won a second term in office in May 2009, issued a defiant message to the nation that he will continue to govern the country until he finishes his term in 2014.
He also emphatically said his ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) will continue to hold on to the balance of power beyond 2014 elections.
“So I want to inform the Malawi nation that Bingu will not step down until 2014,” Mutharika speaking off-script at a World Water Day event in Mangochi.
” I would like to say that Bingu doesn’t run away from work, Bingu doesn’t desert responsibily even if things are tough,” he said.
” I want you TVM boys, you should make a clean copy of this (message) and give it to the Chairman of PAC and the Chairman of the civil society,” the President added.
Mutharika said he was giving his official response to the resignation call, saying ” this is the answer, I won’t answer again.”
“This is my message, the message has gone to PAC, the message has gone to opposition, the DPP government will be there until 2014,” said Mutharika.
He has anointed his brother Peter, the Foreign Affairs Minister, to inherit power at the end of his tenure in 2014.
Mutharika said his focus is now on development agenda and working on economic recovery.
He also pledged to the people of Mangochi, a predominantly Islamic area, that he will construct a state-of-the-art Mosque.
“I will construct a big Mosque here,” he pledged.
PAC had called for “the resignation of the president or for a referendum within 90 days to seek fresh mandate from the people of Malawi.”
The group, which defied a ban to hold a two-day meeting of bishops from the Catholic and Anglican churches and opposition figures, said it wanted Mutharika to step down within 60 days.
“In the event that these demands are not met, we will call on Malawians from all walks of life to go for civil disobedience,” it added.
The PAC called on political parties and other civic groups to push for a national referendum if Mutharika refuses to step down.
The group noted that Malawi has “drastically deteriorated politically, economically and democratically.”
It said a country “on the run from 2004-09 is now bordering on a failed state.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :