Malawi’s opposition parties are reportedly planning to impeach President Bingu Wa Mutharika. Sources say Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and United Democratic Front (UDF) are waiting for the speaker of the national assembly to enforce a recent court ruling that gave the speaker a mandate to declare vacant seats of parliamentarians who have crossed over to join other political parties. But the UDF has dismissed the reports, saying opposition parties have used their numerical strength responsibly in the national assembly.
Sam Mpasu is the spokesman for the main opposition UDF. From the commercial capital Blantyre, he tells VOA English to Africa reporter Peter Clottey that the UDF is not interested in impeaching President Mutharika.
“The question of section 65, as far as we are concerned, is a constitutional issue. It is not against any political party. And it is the president himself who made the referral to the constitutional court and subsequently to the Supreme Court. Neither the MCP nor the UDF nor any other political [party] was directly involved. So far as we are concerned it’s a constitutional issue in the hands of the speaker. It’s not a question of opposition taking advantage of it or not taking advantage of it,” Mpasu said.
He said the ruling People’s Democratic Party (DPP) is responsible for the ensuing political tension after the Supreme Court ruling giving the speaker of the national assembly the mandate to declare vacant seats of parliamentarians who have crossed over to join other political parties.
“The DPP is panicking and they want to turn this (ruling) into a political issue as if it is the government against the opposition or vice versa,” he noted.
Mpasu said the opposition parties are not interested in impeaching President Mutharika because their focus is on looking forward to the debate on the government’s budget.
“As far as the opposition is concerned this (parliament) is a budget session. It was opened by the same president a few weeks ago; it was interrupted because of the death of the first lady and is due to resume on the 29th. And as far as we are concerned, it’s a budget session,” he pointed out.
He accused President Mutharika of always finding fault with the opposition whenever things do not go his way.
“The president has always made a big issue over the budget in order to castigate the opposition. The truth of the matter is that since he came to power in 2004, his party has never had the majority, and yet every year the budget has been passed by the opposition. And he is always making a big song to create the impression that the opposition is trying to sabotage the economy of the country. But in fact every budget has been passed,” he said.
Mpasu said President Mutharika has the tendency to make parliament do his bidding.
“What he is trying to do is to make parliament a rubber stamp, not raise questions on the budget, and that we refuse. We scrutinize the budget, ask questions, get answers and then passed it. But he is always making a song to say no, no, no … come and beat them up and so forth. It’s not true. We are very responsible opposition parties we care about the country, and we pass the budget on merit. But we are not going to be rushed in to rubber stamping something we don’t approve off,” Mpasu noted.
He reiterated the opposition parties have used their numerical strength in the national assembly responsibly.
“He’s (president Mutharika) always cried wolf all the time. The truth of the matter is that we are in the majority in parliament, but we have used that majority responsibly,” he said.