Simmering tensions exploded at the Public Affairs Committee (PAC) sixth All-Inclusive Stakeholders Conference in Blantyre when self-styled activists Vincent Wandale and Billy Mayaya attempted to use the crucial meeting to push for regime change , calling on President Peter Mutharika and his government to be “suspended” and investigated for corruption allegations.
The calls were rejected and discarded by the quasi-religious body which demanded delegates not to use the forum to advance their political agendas.
The two, Wandale and human rights activist Mayaya rose in sequence to demand for the conference to rubber-stamp the idea of pushing for government change.
Wandale, who seemed enraged with the smooth and objective discussions during the afternoon session of the conference, rose and demanded the governance watchdog to endorse a proposition to have President Mutharika’s administration suspended to pave way for investigations on concerns over high levels of corruption within the ranks and files of the government and the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
“We have lost trust in those in the high table,” said Wandale while pointing to Pac’s executive committee members and mother bodies’ representatives on the high table.
“With whatever has been discussed here, I request in the name of fairness and honest to have the Head of State and his team be suspended to pave way for investigations on corruption,” demanded Wandale whose call attracted applause from some sections of the delegates.
“It is not fair that we have people involved in maizegate, cash-gate and Teveta-gate. We have to pave way to remove President Peter Mutharika and his team just as what happened in Brazil,” he said.
Wandale, who has been in the limelight over land and labor rights fight in tea-growing districts of Thyolo and Mulanje, argued that Mutharika cannot lead a fight against corruption with sober mind if he is still in power.
His calls were supported by Mayaya.
But Pac deputy Chairperson, Osman Karim and Reverend Misanjo Kansilanga of Blantyre Synod of CCAP swiftly dismissed the calls and urged the delegates to desist from discussing issues out of the conference’s agenda.
“This is not a Parliamentary committee nor is it a court of law. We can’t be discussing that, and such calls cannot be entertained by Pac,” challenged reverend Kansilanga.
Karim said it was premature for delegates to preempt and make propositions on behalf of the conference when the meeting was still in session.
“Whatever we discuss here should be unanimous. Not one person should preempt and make premature suggestions. Let’s discuss with sober mind come up with proper resolutions,” he said.
DPP’s vice-president for the central region, Hetherwick Ntaba demanded Pac to clarify the objective of the conference, arguing government was ready to respond to the proposed regime change at all cost.
“We have serious national issues to discuss no matter what political party we represent or organization we come from. Whatever we discuss, we should be discussing with serious attention. Pac should let us know if the theme of this conference is what is being proposed, let us know,” demanded Ntaba.
He warned: “We did not come here for that (regime change proposition). Please guide us. We can stand up to that, we can challenge that, and we can be even worse serious than that.”
And Archbishop Thomas Luke Msusa joined in to disown the two and dismissed Wandale and Mayaya as not members of Pac, arguing they don’t have mandate to speak on behalf of the quasi-religious grouping.
“We are here to heal ourselves; to be able to listen and to be listened to. All of us have to make resolutions and not one person. Today is not a day to make resolution to remove government, if we change leadership, who is going to lead? Pac is a religious body and not otherwise,” challenged Msusa.
He urged the delegates to deliberate on issues being raised during the conference with sober mind inorder for the meeting to come up with tangible resolutions.
After his mini-talk, calm resumed in the meeting and the conference was subsequently adjourned to tomorrow, final day, when the delegates will make resolutions to key presentations made.
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