United Democratic Front (UDF) leader in parliament Lilian Patel on Monday responded to State of the Nation Address (Sona) address by President Peter Mutharika and said while the Head of State mentioned that Malawi has been declared one of the most peaceful country on earth and that third most in Africa, the current post-election tense threatens the nation’s stability.
There have been countrywide demonstrations over the disputed result of last month’s presidential election which was marred by allegations of fraud, including that many results sheets were altered using correction fluid – Tippex.
In her response to the Sona the President delivered in Parliament on Friday, Patel on Monday said what is happening should not be treated casually by all of sides the House.
“The issues we have in this country are political in nature and we are the political leaders in this country. We have a choice to make of how we want to be remembered as leaders by the future generations. We must all stand together in making sure that there is peace in this country for without peace there will be no development in our country,” said Patel.
She said since the election matters are in court she could not dwell much on the merits and demerits of the case to avoid subjudice.
However, she pointed out that much as the courts will give us its determination in favour or against either sides of the case, there are political issues bogging the country which are not the jurisdiction of the courts.
“For arguments sake, Madam Speaker can the courts resolve the issues of nepotism that we are all worried about? Can the courts resolve issues of tribalism that have become inherent in our society? Can the courts deal with issues of our egos? Obviously not,” said Patel.
UDF leader said Malawi need to start a dialogue on how to manage the post-election period.
“We would have dealt with legal problems but not the political problems and its root causes.
“Madam Speaker we are a solution to some of the problems. We need to start on a path where we can achieve real unity in this country. I am talking about the unity which can be felt by all Malawians and not the unity which only appears in our political podium speeches and disappears in practice,” she said.
Patel pointed out that over the years leaders have systematically established a political system where the state resources are consumed by a few privileged people while the rest continue to wallow in abject poverty.
“The protests we have witnessed in the last few days are not just about elections in our view but symptomatic of other problems which we have so long put under the carpet, such as lack of sustainable jobs for our young people,” said Patel.
Malawi Congress Party (MCP) which was supposed to deliver response to the Sona as official opposition according to Standing Order 35 (1), declined, saying they are disputing the elections results in court and that for now, there is no ruling or opposition party in the country.
Parliament spokesperson Leonard Mengezi said according to Standing Orders, the UDF which came out as a party with the second largest number of MPs in the House cannot take up the Leader of Opposition roles but have a right to respond to President’s address and other bill.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :