United Democratic Front (UDF) has dismissed calls by opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and People’s Party (PP) for President Peter Mutharika to resign, saying they are senseless and merely political statements.
MCP and PP have called for Mutharika’s resignation through parliamentary speeches, accusing him of failing to manage the country’s economy.
But UDF spokesman Ken Ndanga, whose party is in a loose governing alliance with Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) , said political parties “need to be very careful” when demanding a Head of State to step down.
“When President Mutharika resigns, what happened next? In order for us as a country to be able to solve our problems, peace and stability are crucial,” said Ndanga in an interview with Nyasa Times.
“Have we considered what will happen in case the President resigns?”
He said the UDF “agree with those that are saying Malawi has huge economic problems and that is not a secret.”
Ndanga added: “We are equally concerned with the plight of Malawians and we wish things were better than they are now. However, resignation of the President is a misplaced solution to a wrong problem.”
He went on to say: “Huge sums of money have been stolen through cashgate in this country not by the President but public officers. This is what has pushed us as a country into the situation we are in today.
“We need to deal with problems which seem to be entrenched in the public sector.”
Ndanga said as far as UDF is concerned, Mutharika’s government need to immediately concentrate in restoring confidence in the public finance management system because that is key that the public funds are safe.
He said government should also decisively deal with all the challenges dogging the public services wage bill.
“Austerity measures ought to be pronounced and implemented in totality by all public officers including the cabinet and the presidency,” he said.
And speaking in parliament, UDF Member of Parliament for Machinga-Likwenu constituency, David Lali said President Mutharika has demonstrated qualities of leadership by acknowledging the tough economic challenges and stating the foundation for the recovery, growth and transformation.
“All of us here are painfully aware that with the background of Cash-gate and withdrawal of direct donor budget support, Malawi as a nation proved to the world that we could not manage our own resources transparently. We proved to the world that we cannot be trusted with our own resources,” he said.
Lali noted that Mutharika state of the nation address at the opening of 46th session of “made a powerful reminder to all Malawians that we can no longer, as a nation, measure success using the yardstick of resumption of direct budgetary support. He reminded us that our traditional partners have had a rethink about the future of direct budget support globally.”
He said Malawi has to accept and recognise that the era of direct budgetary support is indeed over.
Lali said what Mutharika did in his speech was to “set the tone on what Malawi needs to do next,” saying to seize this opportunity, an opportunity for reform and transformation, where Malawians begin to stand on their own feet.
“Mr Speaker, Sir, from the speech of the President, I picked a number of things. Firstly, that the road to recovery requires ownership and common responsibility by all Malawians. We have to move together because we have no choice and we cannot do otherwise.
“His Excellency the President has set the wheels in motion by presenting key policy priority reforms that government is implementing in order to stabilise the economy and restore confidence, provide growth and to cushion vulnerable Malawians from the economic challenges that we are facing,” said Lali.
He said Mutharika spoke about the importance of public finance management reforms and also public sector reforms, saying these are the tools that are extremely important in restoring much needed credibility to government systems.
“We need to restore confidence to our financial systems and civil service to ensure that Cash-gate never happens again and to ensure that money is only being used for its intended and prudently, and not buying flashy expensive cars when the people of Malawi expect us to be responsible leaders at a time of financial crisis,” he said.
Recently, the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) national secretary Chris Chisoni also discouraged calls for President to resign, saying there are no plausible grounds compelling a Head of State to step down.
Chisoni, who heads CCJP – a social justice and advocacy arm of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi – in a published interview, said calling for an incumbent President to resign has become “an empty threat trend from some CSOs and opposition parties since 1994.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :