Delegates give Peter Mutharika 30 days
Delegates to the Public Affairs Committee (Pac) All – inclusive Stakeholder Conference Thursday came up with a number of resolutions which included a call for President Peter Mutharika to step down within 30 days. They also proposed for the establishment of a National Economic Planning Commission (Nepc).
The recommendations from the two-day conference that ended yesterday in Blantyre were made in the presence of almost half of cabinet ministers who at some point were seen intimidating the delegates from freely voicing their views on the deteriorating socioeconomic status in the country.
The Pac delegates also demanded that Mutharika should humbly call for help from international organisations and the local community for the provision of maize which most of them said the country does not have.
Taking their turn, Malawi Congress Party (MCP) Publicity Secretary, Jessie Kabwila, People’s Party (PP) spokesperson Ken Msonda and PP vice-president for the North, Kamlepo Kalua, supported by other delegates, gave government an ultimatum to immediately release maize to all the Agriculture Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) markets within 30 days failing which Mutharika should step down.
“Government has miserably failed. We do not need a microscope to see the fruits of their failure. All of us in here know where the problem is. Going straight to the point is that if they know they will keep failing the nation, then they should step down so that those that are able should take over,” Kabwila said.
In his remarks, Msonda said: “Government has no clue of the problems that the country is going through. We are dismayed by the inaction of government to respond with urgency to the current food crisis, in spite of huge financial injections to the Farm Input Subsidy Programme (Fisp).
“We demand that the government acknowledges that there is food crisis that needs an immediate response as it appears they don’t have any solutions to the current problems or better yet they should step down.”
On Nepc, the delegates advised government to swiftly institute the commission that would be overseeing the continuity of the country’s economic strategies both on long and short-term basis.
The delegates said having such a commission in place would help to stabilise and bring down the inflation rate to a single digit.
It was further noted that such a commission would be advising the government on the policy direction, on what it should invest in sectors such as agriculture, education, and health among others.
Though that was the case, senior government officials present at the conference did not respond much on the Nepc but went on to attack the church, opposition and civil society leaders who were calling for the resignation of Mutharika and his team.
First, was presidential adviser on Non-Governmental Organisations, Mavuto Bamusi, who said the sentiments uttered by leaders of opposition were baseless and personal in nature.
Another presidential adviser, Hetherwick Ntaba joined the chorus, saying calls for the President to step down should not be recorded in Pac’s report, arguing that it was not in line with the objectives of the conference.
In his reaction, Minister of Information Jappie Mhango, said government cannot and will not step down.
“Those are just mere statements made by people who are just excited who are full of the meals eaten and feel they can say whatever they wish to say. As government we are going to make sure that these problems are sorted out and the recommendations made will be considered for a better way to forge ahead and improve living standards in the country,” Mhango said.
In his closing remarks, Pac Board Chair, Felix Chingota said the conference has achieved its intention.
“As Pac we are happy to have brought together a delegation that has tackled issues affecting the country. It now remains to us to put them together so that we map the way forward,” said Chingota.
Among other recommendations, were increased funding to health sector, building infrastructure to the health sector; mechanizing and commercialization of agriculture; trimming of presidential powers among others
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