March 15, 2012

President asked to resign or call referendum

President Bingu wa Mutharika has been asked to resign as part of the recommendations issued at a meeting organised to find solutions to the country’s economic and political challenges. At the closing of the meeting in the commercial capital, Blantyre, delegates which included the clergy, politicians, civil society activists, called for Mutharika to “resign in 60 days” given his poor governance and economic management record. They said the Mutharika government has lost trust of Malawians citizens in the wake of deteriorating social economic situation in the country.

The delegates offered the President an option to “all for a referendum in 90 days” to seek a fresh mandate from the people on whether his mandate should go beyond 2012 or not. “We call for the resignation of the president or for a referendum within 90 days to seek fresh mandate from the people of Malawi,” PAC said in a statement released after the conference. “In the event that these demands are not met, we will call on Malawians from all walks of life to go for civil disobedience,” it added. “Malawi has drastically deteriorated politically, economically and democratically … a country on the run from 2004-09 is now bordering on a failed state,” the statement added.

Reverend Maurice Munthali, a leading member of the Public Affairs Committee (PAC) of religious leaders, which organized the conference, said delegates deliberated “ comprehensively” before coming up with “suggested solutions and recommendations.” The delegates argued that Malawians have every reason to call for a referendum as backed by the Constitution following loss of trust in government, citing Section 12 of the Constitution that accentuates the sovereign authority of the electorate. Moreover, law expert from University of Malawi’s Chancellor College, Dr Edge Kanyogolo, pointed out that “the constitution has limitations” in solving all challenges faced by the country. He suggested that recall movement such as “ impeachment” was one of the opportunity in the constitution “to deal with excessive power.”

Mutharika’s administration is under pressure by the opposition, as well as civil society groups, to resolve what they call the “crippling economic crisis” the country faces. (Nyasa Times)

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