Malawi’s President Bingu Wa Mutharika has reportedly canceled the sitting of that country’s parliament effectively heightening the brewing political tension with the opposition. Mutharika recently vowed he would prevent the sitting of parliament after accusing opposition members of a calculated plot to use its numerical advantage to impeach him. Mutharika said he would rescind his decision if the opposition in parliament desists from removing at least 70 members of parliament who left their parties to join the government. However, the opposition argues that the country’s constitution frowns on such moves, a position recently backed by a High Court ruling. Respicious Dzanjalimodzi is an opposition member of Malawi’s parliament. He tells reporter Peter Clottey from the capital, Lilongwe that the country’s constitution must be respected.
“Parliament had decided on an agenda that soon after passing the budget this is the business we would deal with. But unfortunately, on a Friday, which was the 14th of September the president decided to prorogue parliament. So we could not proceed to deal with the other business. And we felt that that was most unfortunate because on the agenda there were very important matters that parliament had to discuss, including those related to water, electricity and there was also a section of section 65, which we wanted to deal with during that particular period… there has been meetings held by the business committee of parliament, which some of us had believed that it would end up in parliament meeting, but that is not happening at all,” Dzanjalimodzi noted.
He said it was important for the country’s young democracy to be nurtured, despite the challenges it faces.
“What system do we want to develop in this country? It’s a young democracy; it is a system that must be followed, the rules and principles of democracy, rule of law must be there. That is really the issue; even section 65 is there in order to prevent disappointing the wishes of the voters because they vote you into parliament with a proper and particular identity, which must be retained throughout the tenure. If you violate that then the provision is there. Let the speaker deal with it. That is really the principle that we are looking at,” he said.
Dzanjalimodzi dismissed as unfortunate speculation that the opposition wants to impeach President Mutharika.
“If parliament resumes, parliament through the business committee would have to decide what would be done. And in the business committee you have representative from all parties including government. So, it would be a decision made in the business committee. Now, I don’t think there should be fear because they are unnecessary the question of impeachment and so on is not correct. We only have about a year to go to elections, about a year and a half the elections would be next year in May. Why should we bother about impeaching the president this time… it’s only used as an argument to prevent parliament from sitting. That is how we are looking at it,” Dzanjalimodzi pointed out.
Some political analysts believe the political tension between the government and the opposition would significantly undermine international donor programs for the country.