In Malawi, President Bingu Wa Mutharika is accusing some opposition parties of fuelling hatred and disunity in the country. The accusations come on the heels of the parties’ refusal to participate in the recent celebration of the country’s forty-second independence anniversary.
In an interview with English to Africa reporter Peter Clottey, presidential press secretary Chikumbutso Mtumodzi weighed in on the issue. “The whole attitude and behavior of the opposition is very appalling and unbecoming. I’m very sad that its coming at this day and age when people are supposed to work together and of course discuss development and celebrate the day of our independence republic. And again this is the first time in the last twelve years ago for the government to actually extend invitations to all leaders of major political parties and the opposition in general.”
Mtumodzi says, “For the UDF to actually have the audacity coming out in the public saying that they are scared because they have been arrested, that is just a lame enflamed excuse. The gist of the matter is that UDF, they are just there to obstruct and disrupt government business. And there is no way they are going to say anything good and positive of the government.”
The press secretary says President Bingu Wa Mutharika been a symbol of unity. “The president has been in the forefront trying to bring tolerance in this country. During the launch of Kamuzu Banda mausoleum, he invited all political parties including UDF. And even Mr. Mpasu the publicity secretary (Of UDF) was there. So it’s actually folly for one to claim that the president is in the forefront steering all this discord and disunity. It is actually the opposition led by the UDF who feels that by mixing or by attending state functions they would be compromising their ego.”
Meanwhile, the country’s main opposition party, the United democratic Front, laments the president has persecuted its members and that there is no reason to celebrate. Party spokesman Sam Mpasu says “We are actually very surprised that he could make that statement that we are the ones that are trying to divide this country. When all along he’s been fighting our party, shunning us and trying to weaken us by talking directly to our members of parliament. Appointing them to cabinet and as far as UDF is concerned we’ve got a long list of atrocities that he has committed against us and our leadership. Arresting us for treason and all sorts of trump up charges. He’s been fighting us and he expected us to go to the stadium, smile and pretend that all is alright.”
All the same, Mpasu gives the government credit for inviting them to the celebration. “This is the only time just found it fit to invite us. And they invited us, in fact we were prepared to go but virtually all our leaders who could go there to represent the party were having some misgivings. The acting national chair Dr. Cassim Chilumpha who is the vice president of the country is the right person who should have been there to represent the party. But he’s under house arrest.”
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