Tembo demands Mutharika to change or step down

Malawi Leader of Opposition, John Tembo, has demanded President Bingu wa Mutharika to change from being an autocrat to allow democracy and good governance or consider to step down.

Tembo was reacting to an announcement by United States government that it has suspended $350 million allocated to Malawi through the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).

The US cited deteriorating rights environment in the country and expressed “very serious concerns about the economic and political situation in Malawi.”

Tembo: Mutharika must change or quit

The US$ 350.7 million MCC Compact was meant to revitalise the country’s faltering energy sector.

Tembo accused President Mutharika of being arrogant to Malawians and the donors.

“Our record is very bad. We have already said so. No democracy, no rule of law,” said Tembo on Daybreak Malawi programme aired on Capital FM on Monday.

“This is very sad that the action of one man should affect the well being of the nation,” said the veteran politician. “It’s beginning of many things.”

Tembo said “unless government review its policies and makes adjustment” there is no hope that the aid would be approved in the next round of assessment in June.

The opposition chief said Mutharika should consider whether to continue ruling and punish people or Malawi or abdicate to save the nation.

“Malawi must change or collapse, there is no two ways,” said Tembo who has wealth of experience in government having served several key positions in one party state.

Opposition UDF executive member Humphrey Mvula also described the US aid withdraw as “sad development” as Malawians are now living “in the world of black-outs.”

“There is a limit one can drive a personal ego,” said Mvula.

The MCC is designed to reward developing countries that protect human rights and practice the rule of law

Capital FM also played an audio clip when they attempted to interview Foreign Affairs Minister Peter Mutharika, he simply said: “You ask the minister of finance, have a good day, thank you.”

Public Affairs Committee (PAC), an organisation consisting of the Catholic Church, Church of Central Africa Presbyterian, Muslim Association of Malawi, Quadria Association Malawi and Pentecostal churches, on March 15 gave  President Mutharika a two-month deadline to step down or face large protests.

But Mutharika dismissed the call.

“I am not a quitter. I will continue to run this country until 2014. I will not step down because the constitution of this country mandates me to run for a full five year term,” Mutharika said. He was first elected in 2004 and is in his second and final constitutional term.

Several major donors cut their aid last year to the poor southern African nation over concerns about the infringement of democratic freedoms, economic management and governance.

Mutharika said calls for his resignation were a non-starter as he was still loved by Malawians. He said even if he was wanted to run for a third term he would get votes.

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