Malawi's former President Bakili Muluzi
is accusing President Bingu Wa Mutharika of mismanaging the economy and has
challenged him to a public debate. The former president contends that
Mutharika's poor management of the economy is having an adverse effect on
mainstream Malawians. Former President Muluzi says Malawians are worse off
today than they were when he was president. But President Mutharika's
administration dismissed the accusation, describing it as a publicity stunt.
Blessing Chisinga is a political science professor at the University of
Malawi"s Chancellor College. He tells reporter Peter Clottey that many
Malawians have expressed interest in seeing a public debate between President
Mutharika and former President Muluzi.
assessing the mood in the streets and in the offices, people have welcomed the
offer by the former president. There is a belief that if indeed such a debate
can be held, then there would be chance to move our politics from focusing on
personalities, tribalism, and ethnicities to focus on real issues, I think
people are very interested to get the politicians to focus on the economy,
poverty and development. So people have generally welcomed the idea that these
two people should debate these issues," Professor Chisinga
He said it would be
challenging to have both the former president and the current president to
debate issues about Malawi's economy publicly on the same stage.
"I don't see this debate
ever happening for one simple reason. I think Dr. Muluzi is much better in
terms of communicating with the masses and the issues that he has been championing
are populist in nature because he has basically been saying that the people in
this country do not have money in their pockets. They are not able to complete
houses, and I think this is true in the sense that the people that started
building houses four years ago, they haven't completed them. Why? Because the
current government has tightened loopholes for corruption and people are able
to connect to that," he said.
said the former president is blaming the current administration for the high
prices of fuel.
"He is talking about the
reduction in fuel prices because almost all of our neighboring countries have
reduced the prices of fuel. But it is only us who do not have our fuel prices down,"
He said former President
Muluzi does not have the moral high ground to castigate President Mutharika for
abdicating on promises he made to Malawians when he was sworn in as the
"Certainly not. I think he
doesn't have the moral ground to do that because when he was the president the
country's economy was actually teetering on the brink of collapse. And I think
in all fairness, President Mutharika has done a very good job in terms of
bringing back micro economic stability, reducing inflation, and generally creating
favorable conditions for economic growth," he said.
said President Mutharika has so far chalked some success in straightening
"In the last three years,
the country has consistently registered seven percent annual increase in GDP,
so certainly, he (Mutharika) has done well and good for all Malawians. So the
former president has no moral grounds to criticize Mutharika, but his (Muluzi's)
advantage is that he is able to connect with the vast majority of the people
who are illiterate and these are the people who actually vote," Professor Chisinga