Veteran human rights and governance expert Undule Mwakasungula has said the recent electoral dispute and nullification of the results of the May 2019 presidential election is a demonstration that Malawi’s democracy is maturing.
Mwakasungula said he is energized that Malawians are assuming personal roles and responsibilities to protect and nurture their hard-won multiparty democracy and also ensure that good governance entrenches in the government systems.
The retired human rights activist, who was the late President Bingu wa Mutharika’s fiercest critic while he was heading the Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR), made the remarks in an exclusive interview with Nyasa Times in Lilongwe on Tuesday.
Nyasa Times was seeking opinion on the political and constitutional malaise that has engulfed the country since the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) announced the disputed presidential election on May 28 2019.
“What is taking place in Malawi is a clear demonstration that our democracy and governance are maturing because what is happening might not have happened in other countries. I am relating to the electoral dispute, the political crisis, which is taking place now, and the impasse that is there. You know most countries in Africa, especially sitting presidents, they don’t agree with the outcome of the court ruling that is against them,” said Mwakasungula.
“But here in Malawi, we are seeing something different actually. Not even the executive arm of the government has manipulated the judicial system to ensure the outcome of the rulings go in its favour. They have accepted whatever the court has ruled against them, but also not interfering with the work of the Judiciary unlike other countries in Africa where we see the Executive controlling the Judiciary.
“So, to me, I take this as a bigger pass for the nation that we have separation of powers from the three arms of government. But also I see a lot of people demanding their rights. The demonstrations themselves, people speaking their mind on matters of democracy and good governance and whatever they want to speak,” he added.
On the enjoyment of fundamental rights and freedoms by ordinary citizens, Mwakasungula said he is particularly happy that Malawians are now able to demand and fully enjoy them without facing some suppression from the government machinery.
“We cannot say these are being suppressed if we compare to what is happening in other countries such as Tanzania and Zimbabwe. In Tanzania, if you are a journalist and you write something against the President, they will pick you. A lot of journalists have been arrested for reporting what is deemed negative to the President. But that is not the case in Malawi. So, to me, we are growing; we are maturing in democracy and good governance,” he said.
But Mwakasungula emphasized the need for citizens to take personal responsibilities to stop any dictatorial elements from returning into the country.
On this point, Mwakasungula urged Malawians registered with MEC to come out in large numbers to elect a president of their choice in the forthcoming fresh presidential poll.
“The fresh presidential election offers Malawians yet another opportunity to consolidate their democracy and good governance. So, they have no any other better time to consolidate this democracy and good governance than an election like the one coming soon,” he said.
Mwakasungula is currently working as a consultant in the extractive industry. He is working with communities, particularly by providing empowerment to the communities so that they are able to benefit from the industry.
“I am also doing the work of God. I am a believer, a born-again Christian following Jesus Christ,” he said.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :