‘Orange Intellectuals’ tear apart Bingu’s referral against JB

People's Party top brass at Mzuzu rally

The People’s Party (PP) ‘Orange Intellectuals’ has torn apart a presidential referral  asking the court to determine whether or not Joyce Banda, the state vice president and leader of PP had resigned her public office for not attending cabinet meetings, among others.

President Bingu wa Mutharika wants the constitutional court to interpret whether in the light of Section 84 of the Constitution, a sitting vice president can become a President of an opposition party; field candidates against the ruling party in elections; form her own shadow cabinet, work against government; and fail to attend cabinet meetings and still be considered the VP under the section.

But one of the ‘Orange Intellectuals’ told Nyasa Times in an interview on Monday that they are totally opposed to Mutharika’s referral of the VP’s position as second in command.

‘Orange Intellectuals’ is the PP’s youth wing that comprises students from the University of Malawi and other institutions of higher learning.

“Joyce Banda was expelled from the Democratic Progressive Party in December 2010. As any other citizen, she has the right to associate hence her forming or joining the People’s Party,” noted a senior member of the wing at Chancellor College, preferring anonymity “for fear of being smoked out”.

He said that Banda had not broken any law of the land for being part of the “mighty PP”, arguing that after all, this is not the first time as at one time Malewezi (Justin) was still vice president of the country under Muluzi (Bakili) when he had defected from the UDF to join the People’s Progressive Movement (PPM).

“While Mutharika ditched the UDF in February 2005 to form another ruling party, the DPP, Chilumpha (Cassim) remained UDF,” the ‘intellectual’ recalled, arguing that in all these cases, no president or his vice was removed for belonging to two different political parties “and why the fuss now?”

He suggested that Mutharika’s conduct may be as a result of the fact that JB was a “threat to the DPP”.

On the notion that the People’s Party is an “opposition political party”, the ‘intellectual’ argued that the PP was neither an opposition party nor a ruling one but “simply a government-in-waiting”.

“The fact that we are led by a vice president of the country proudly makes us unique. The head of the party is the second in command in this country in as far as the Republican Constitution is concerned; the president’s party is ruling while the other parties are opposing, but our party, PP, being the VP’s, is merely there to provide guidance and direction as government-in-waiting,” he said.

He said to underline his argument that is why Malawians heard Banda pleading for the removal of value added tax on salt and meat offal in Ntchisi; she asked for the rifting of the Zigubu ban in Kasungu; and demanding a lean ministerial cabinet in Blantyre.

“Being government-in-waiting, president Mutharika appreciated JB’s concerns and immediately implemented them,” said the young university student.

On Mutharika’s recent outbursts against university lecturers where he said he was above them as an employer, the university lad “thanked the Head of State for setting the record straight by emphasizing that no employees are above their bosses”.

“It is indeed true that lecturers are not above the University Council, since the latter is an employer. Likewise, we say Mutharika should not conduct himself as if he is above us, his employers; he is simply our employee whom we hired to do our bidding,” he reasoned.

He said that the people of Malawi, the voters, are his bosses and that he is answerable to any citizen including the lecturers and that as such he ought to exercise caution in the manner he conducts his assigned duties because the ‘employers’ have the power to fire him.

“Just as at COMESA a few years ago, he (Mutharika) can be shown the exit door sooner than later should he not change his dictatorial tendencies,” warned the ‘Orange Intellectual’.

Mutharika was unceremoniously expelled as COMESA Secretary General in 1997 after a performance audit by imminent members discovered blatant abuse of COMESA funds, maladministration and insubordination by the Secretary General.

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