A civil society activist and an opposition political party have censured President Peter Mutharika for his outbursts against Malawians’ concern over his blatant abuse of public resources, particularly taxpayers’ money, calling on him to come off his ‘ivory tower’ conditions to address the concerns of the nation.
This comes in light of President Mutharika’s utter arrogance displayed at a news conference he addressed in Lilongwe on Thursday, October 8, 2015 where he typically declared he is not answerable to Malawians for his conduct.
President Mutharika recently travelled to New York for the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) with a ‘larger-than-life’ entourage of more than 100 people, spending hundreds of millions of Kwacha when the economy back home continues to deteriorate.
During the news conference, President Mutharika was defiant, countering critics’ calls to resign amid growing concerns over misrule and a deteriorating social and economic order.
“I am not going to step down. I have no intention to go into a debate,” said Mutharika.
Activist Billy Mayaya said in an interview with Nyasa Times on Thursday the President has no right to insult the intelligence of long suffering Malawians by refusing to account for the rationale behind taking an entourage of 115 people.
“We insist that the President explains and accounts for his actions. Instead of addressing the myriad challenges facing Malawians, he continues to gallivant around the world and fails to show leadership.
“As civil society we demand he desists from impeding the work of the media and responds to questions intelligently and not through threats,” he said.
Seodi White a social development lawyer observed that President Mutharika’s news conference was so rich in technical matters on: “What his personal participation as Head of State at UNGA Side events means for the country and how historic it is. It puts Malawi on the global governance agenda and this has a positive spin on the country.”
But former governing People’s Party (PP) has also rebuked the President for “his carelessness in addressing people’s concerns”. PP publicist Ken Msonda told Nyasa Times on Thursday his party is “extremely disturbed by the President’s utter disregard for ordinary people’s plight”.
“We have observed that President Mutharika wants to suddenly evolve into an authoritarian just like his late brother. We think that Malawians deserve a listening and remorseful leader instead of a return to the old dark days of dictatorship,” he said.
Msonda observed that “the ear is normally the first thing that dies before the whole body”.
“President Peter Mutharika is surely and steadily sliding into a cesspool aloofness and arrogance that characterized his brother, late President Bingu wa Mutharika, before he died in April 2012. Remember those calls for government to be accountable to the people; remember those demonstration calling for the enlargement of human rights spaces; remember the civil society fight equality in government appointment and access to economic opportunities?
“When former British High Commissioner to Malawi, Fergus Cochrane-Dyet, sent a cable to his country in 2011, which accused Bingu wa Mutharika of being increasingly ‘arrogant’ and ‘autocratic’, he was unceremoniously expelled against voices of reason. The international relationships that Bingu choose were with dictators,” Msonda recalled.
He said when Malawians protested after having had enough, Bingu turned to the gun and 18 people were confirmed killed, particularly in the northern towns of Karonga and Mzuzu as a result of police using live ammunition to quell protests.
“President Bingu wa Mutharika was unapologetic and said that he would “smoke out” all his enemies. This utter brutality was accompanied by a crack-down on Malawian journalists, human rights activists, and lawyers. Other events that marred his presidency were the activities surrounding the 2011 academic freedom stand-off between the President and the University of Malawi, and the death of student activist Robert Chasowa. The end of Bingu is now history, as they say.
“If politicians were not in the habit of repeating the same mistakes with deadly accuracy, Peter Mutharika could have read the writing on the wall and changed course. Sadly that is not the case,” lamented Msonda.
The President told reporters that he is not sitting down against calls for austerity measures to repair the damaged economy amid high inflation and rising commodity prices.
“Next week, I am going to India, then in London in December for an African Investment Forum,” said Mutharika.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :