News / Africa

Malawi Groups ‘Disappointed’ in Former President Joyce Banda

Newly elected Malawian President Arthur Peter Mutharika delivers a speech during his official inauguration as Malawi's new President, at the Kamuzu stadium in Blantyre on June 2, 2014.
Newly elected Malawian President Arthur Peter Mutharika delivers a speech during his official inauguration as Malawi's new President, at the Kamuzu stadium in Blantyre on June 2, 2014.
Peter Clottey
A group of civil society and non-governmental organizations in Malawi expressed disappointment over former president Joyce Banda’s refusal to hand over power in a peaceful and symbolic gesture to newly installed President Peter Mutharika.

Billy Mayaya, a leading member of the Malawi Civil Society groups, says Banda’s action showed lack of leadership.  He also said it’s a missed opportunity to demonstrate to the world that Malawi remains united in spite of the existing political differences and the controversy surrounding the outcome of last month’s tripartite elections.

“One of the symbolisms is showing commitment to nation building. Her refusal sends wrong signals to various stakeholders in that she was maybe bitter with her loss, and I think that does not augur well with an emerging democracy like Malawi,” said Mayaya.
 
Peter Mutharika
 
  • Leader of the Democratic Progressive Party
  • Brother of late President Bingu wa Mutharika
  • Was accused of attempting to conceal his brother's death in office
  • Served as foreign minister
  • Was a law professor
  • 74 years old
President Mutharika was also disappointed that the former president turned down the opportunity to hand over power to him.

In his speech shortly after his inauguration Monday, local media quoted Mutharika as saying, “I regret that my predecessor has declined to come here to hand over power to me… I was looking forward to shake her hands and bury the past. I came with olive branch to my branch. I ask everybody in joining me to rebuild Malawi. I have no intention of vengeance but those who have broken the law will face the full course of justice.”

Tusekele Mwanyongo, a spokesman for the former president, said Banda was not constitutionally mandated to hand over power or participate in the inauguration.  Mayaya disagreed.

“People are placing a stress on symbolism, symbols of handing over democratically to a successor,” said Mayaya. “And lack of those symbolisms is a source of concern to civil society, because it sends the wrong signal in terms of nation building.”

But the Malawi Law Society (MLS) says former president Banda could not be legally compelled to hand over power to the newly elected leader.

Selisa Kilemba, spokesperson for the MLS says Banda was within her rights not to show up at Mutharika’s inauguration.

“Legally, she was not obliged to go there and do the hand over,” Kilemba said. “However, symbolically it would have been very good for the country for her just to go as a goodwill gesture and go and wish professor Mutharika all the best, and ceremoniously hand over. It would have symbolized quite a lot for the country. It would have shown unity, showed at least that she has accepted this and she is willing to move forward.”

Malawi’s Electoral Commission declared Peter Mutharika of the opposition Democratic People’s Party (DPP) winner of the presidential vote with over 36 percent of the total votes cast, defeating Malawi Congress Party candidate Lazarus Chakwera with about 29 percent. Ruling People’s Party (PP) led by former President Joyce Banda was a distant third with 20.2 percent.

Several African heads of state and government including Malawi’s former president Bakili Muluzi were present at Mutharika’s installation at the Kamuzu Banda stadium.
Clottey interview with Billy Mayaya, Malawi Civil Society group's member
Clottey interview with Billy Mayaya, Malawi Civil Society group's memberi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
 
Clottey interview with Selisa Kilemba, Malawi Law Society Spokesperson
Clottey interview with Selisa Kilemba, Malawi Law Society Spokespersoni
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

You May Like

UN Fears Rights Violations in China-backed Projects

UNHCHR investigates link between financing development and ignoring safeguards for human rights More

Boko Haram Violence Tests Nigerians’ Faith in Buhari

New president has promised to stem insurgency; he’s scheduled to meet with President Obama at White House July 20 More

Social Media Network Wants Privacy in User’s Hands

Encryption's popularity in messaging is exploding; now it's the foundation of a new social network More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs