Malawi’s President Bingu Wa Mutharika says he is committed to a dialogue aimed at reducing brewing political tensions. But he warns the opposition to desist from trying to impeach him. The move follows a massive public outcry about the need to solve a political impasse that has placed the government at odds with opposition parties in the country. Mutharika blames political tensions on the opposition’s attempt to impeach him, which he says is aimed at discrediting his government and to frustrate his development plans for the less privileged.
Spokesman Sam Mpasu of Malawi’s main opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) tells VOA English to Africa reporter Peter Clottey that it is not the UDF’s agenda to impeach President Mutharika.
“I can confirm that he (President Mutharika) said something of that effect that he is prepared for dialogue, but he put a condition that he is not prepared to discuss anything concerning his impeachment. As far as the UDF is concerned, we’ve always been open for discussion. We’ve taken the extra kilometer for the past three years,” Mpasu said.
He said the president’s pronouncement is a good way of pulling wool over the eyes of the public.
“It is a disingenuous way of deceiving the public because we’ve never, never said that section 65 is about him (Mutharika), or that we want to impeach him or remove him. All we are saying is that the constitution demands that section 65 be implemented by the speaker. But he is deceiving the public into believing that his government is at stake. Once sections 65 passes he would be impeached and so forth, which is not true,” he noted.
Mpasu said although there was an attempt to impeach President Mutharika that was not the purpose of the procedure the opposition introduced in parliament, which sought to outline the modalities of impeaching both a president and a vice president.
“It is true that the opposition made a dissect in the standing orders of parliament in the sense that there were no procedures for impeachment of our president, of our vice president, over a High Court judge. So, we provided for the procedures for impeachment in the standing orders of parliament, but did not go so far as to impeach the president,” Mpasu pointed out.
He reiterated that it’s not in the interest of the UDF to impeach President Mutharika. But he defended the opposition’s right to bring up a section of the country’s constitution in the national assembly.
“The UDF agenda is to have section 65 implemented. We asked the speaker on 7 October 2005 to invoke section 65, and it is the president who has delayed it for two years, by using the court process. All we want is section 65 implemented, and those all those who have crossed the floor must go back and seek a new mandate from their electorates in their own constituencies,” he said.