9 November 2018

Malawi: Opposition Leader Asks Malawi President to 'Gracefully' Leave Office or Be Booted Out

Leader of opposition Lazarus Chakwera has raised political tensions dramatically after calling for President Peter Mutharika leave office "gracefully" in the interest of the country or be removed by Malawians.

Chakwera, the president of the opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP), chose his moment after a Cabinet reshuffle to raise the stakes in his confrontation with the government with calls for Mutharika to resign before the next presidential poll, due May 21 2019.

He said in a statement made available to Nyasa Times that he has regularly addressed Malawians on the problems of the Mutharika administration for over four years, hoping that in doing so, the State President would heed counsel and, in the final analysis, use his office for sound servant leadership rather than abuse of power.

"But looking at Mutharika's new Cabinet, it is clear not only that Mutharika is no longer listening to good and free counsel, but also that he has no single regard for Malawians, much less the willingness to listen to their plight and undo their perils," said Chakwera.

Chakwera said the reorganised is a "shameful disgrace" and an unprecedented insult to all Malawians.

He described the President's Cabinet as "divisive" and nepotistic.

He said: "You have now made it clear by the lopsided regional distribution of cabinet seats that you are a tribal President, not a national one.

"Besides, you clearly have no interest in appointing people on merit, leaving our nation groping in the darkness of mediocrity. "

He continued: "So, for the sake of all the tribes and regions of Malawi, I say shame on you."

The MCP president also pointed out that the Cabinet has reduced women representation in the 20-member team from four to three, saying that is being "oppressive to our women of honour."

Chakwera said the President has done that despite the fact that he is supposed to be a "HeforShe Champion" and a Law Professor who knows that the country's laws require at least 40 percent of female representation in decision making.

"You are now thus a professor of law-breaking," said Chakwera in his scathing statement.

The leader of apposition also faulted Mutharika for appointing overzealous ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) regional governor for the South, Charles Mchacha, who has been infamous for slut-shaming women that have dissenting views with the DPP.

"You have even appointed to your cabinet someone who just recently publicly called Malawian women who support other parties by derogatory terms, as if to reward him for degrading our women of honour.

So for the sake of every Malawian woman and girl child, I say shame on you!"

Chakwera asked Mutharika to mark his words: "Your time of abusing Malawians is over."

He asked Mutharika: "Now, you can either leave office gracefully and voluntarily or be removed by the Malawians who will boot you out of office for insulting them yet again with this cabinet.

"Either way, Mr President, you better put your house in order now, because your time is up!"

Speaking on Times Radio, MCP spokesman Reverend Maurice Munthali confirmed the statement was authentic coming from Chakwera and also maintained the tone, saying "it's a shame."

Minister of Information Henry Mussa said he will react to the statement after reading it.

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