Malawians are reportedly worried traded accusations between President Bingu Wa Mutharika and former President Bakili Muluzi are worsening the escalated political impasse in the country. A cross-section of Malawians are reportedly upset that the government’s developmental programs are being undermined with the ongoing political tensions. Some political analysts believe the intense rift between the two opposing figures would thwart ongoing peace negotiations between the opposition and the government, which are being mediated by the Malawian clergy.
This comes after Ex-President Muluzi reportedly said Monday that Mr. Mutharika is scared to face him in the upcoming general elections. But President Mutharika shot back saying Muluzi should be blamed for the political impasse after the former president decided to come out of retirement and represent the opposition party in next year’s elections. Mustapha Hussein is a senior political science lecturer at the University of Zomba Chancellor College. He tells reporter Peter Clottey that Malawians are tired of the ongoing dispute between the President Mutharika and Muluzi.
“There have been a few exchanges that are giving a sense of worry among people. The president has indicated that the problems that we are seeing are as a result of the former president not wanting to retire from politics, while the former president has also made several allegations that the current president is afraid of him that is why he is intimidating or he is running up treason charges against them (opposition),” Hussein noted.
He said the ongoing bitter dispute is causing some uneasiness among some Malawians.
“Now, this is worrying most of us because we have parliament meeting and it has been adjourned several times. We were expecting that the budget would be discussed, now all these developments are making the situation cloudy and people are worried as regards to what would emerge from parliament, whether the budget would be passed, and whether discussions carried out in a conducive environment. So, the sense we are getting is that of worry,” he said.
Hussein said both the government and the opposition are entrenched in their positions thereby making any chance of a compromise unlikely.
“The current negotiations are centering around the issue of what to prioritize between section 65 and the budget. This is done against the background where in the last sitting of parliament that after passing that budget the issue of section 65 would be tackled. But what happened was that soon after finalizing issues relating to the budget, parliament was prorogued. So, this is causing a bit of worry on the part of the opposition because they think that once the budget is passed, then a similar situation, which was witnessed last time could emerge,” Hussein noted.
He said the ongoing dispute between President Mutharika and former President Muluzi could undo ongoing peace negations aimed at resolving the escalated political impasse between the government and the opposition.
“I feel that the exchange of these words between the former leader and the current leader is making the situation complicated because what is being said during the political rallies certainly is influencing the discussions, and what is happening during the mediation talks. So, it’s really making life difficult and the negotiations seem not to making great progress as we expected,” he said.
Hussein said Malawians are in favor of both President Mutharika and former President Muluzi in being intrinsically involved in the ongoing peace negotiations to end political impasse.
“The proposal is that the leaders of the various political parties, including the former president and the current president ought to play a leading role in these negotiations. If they were actively involved and with good faith sat down to tackle these issues, most Malawians think a way forward can be found,” Hussein pointed out.