Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president, Lazarus Chakwera, has taken a swipe at the Democratic Progressive Party-led government for using chiefs to champion its political agenda.
Speaking during a political rally in Chitipa District, yesterday, Chakwera accused the Peter Mutharika administration of dragging chiefs into politics which, he said, is dividing the nation.
He emphasised the need to revise laws governing chiefs and Local Government, arguing that would ensure that chiefs operate in a free and independent environment.
“Do not use chiefs wrongly so that they operate against the wishes of their subjects. We want to see chiefs liberated. Gone are the days when a traditional leader would be penalised for talking to a leader in the opposition,” Chakwera said.
Chakwera’s remarks come against a background of a move by some traditional leaders who petitioned the Office of the President and Cabinet and Parliament two weeks ago, expressing their reservations over the proposed Electoral and Local Government reforms.
The chiefs, led by paramount chiefs Kyungu of Karonga, Ngolongoliwa of Thyolo and Lundu of Chikwawa, accused those supporting the Electoral Reforms [Amendment] Bills of fighting the government.
Apart from that, the government has been parading chiefs on the national broadcaster to talk ill of its critics.
But Chakwera, who is also Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, has condemned the trend saying it defeats the true meaning of multiparty democracy which Malawians opted for in the early 1990s.
Chakwera said, in recent years, the majority of Malawians have failed to benefit from agriculture and natural resources while the political elites continue making meaningful gains from the same.
This, he said, is because the Mutharika administration continues to maintain bad national policies which, he said, are responsible for the country’s economic downturn.
“We will endeavour to do away with all the bad policies that have made our people to suffer. This is why there should be no politician joining MCP in search of opportunities or an easy way to plunder public resources. If that is what some have in mind, they better not come to MCP because I am not one leader who will entertain such abuse,” Chakwera said.
During the meeting, two of MCP’s three newly elected Members of Parliament Ulemu Msungama and Sosten Gengwe were also unveiled.
In his speech, Gwengwe hailed the party’s leadership for maintaining unity and harmony which, he said, continue to attract different people to the party.
During the gathering, about 30 politicians from the former ruling People’s Party, opposition Alliance for Democracy and National Salvation Front announced their defection to the MCP.
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