The claims by Malawi’s President Bingu wa Mutharika about his party’s numerical strength in Parliament, which he can abuse, to legitimize his third term agenda if he so wished suggests that he might still be nurturing ambitions to holf on to power, Civil Society Coalition for Quality Basic education (CSCQBE) Executive director Benedicto Kondowe has said.
“But divisions within his DPP indicate that the numbers he is boosting about are cosmetic and this should be a source of concern to him. In addition, we have seen the same DPP MPs voting against government’s policies in Parliament,” Kondowe said.
Mutharika claimed during Chilembwe Day commemoration in Chiradzulu on 15th January 2012 that his absolute majority in Parliament could be used to support a Third Term bid.
But he said he decided not to take advantage of that to extend his tenure of office beyond 2014 saying he will retire to his Ndata Farm in Thyolo District.
“Malawians may be called all sorts of names by those who are bankrupt of the fighting experience for the hard won democracy, but they always unite on fundamental issues. It would be waste of time and resources for any leader to attempt it,” Kondowe said.
He also said Mutharika’s claims are not only theoretical but also ridiculous and indicative of his failure to read from history.
“If the Third Term bid is anything to go by, then Mutharika should have selflessly learnt from Bakili Muluzi. In fact, Mutharika should have known that a Third Term – in whatever form – has no place in Malawi. It was tested and miserably failed by a single vote,” Kondowe said.
He said Malawians have powers beyond his party’s parliamentary majority to challenge any amendment or legislation that undermines the spirit of the Constitution through the courts and other civil actions.
“The President could only have succeeded his third term bid if he became everything else: MPs, Judges or Citizens which unfortunately he isn’t,” Kondowe said.