President Peter Mutharika becoming a dictator —Church and Society
Church and Society of the Livingstonia Synod of the Church of Central African Presbyterian (CCAP) has expressed fear that President Peter Mutharika has started emulating his late brother’s dictatorial leadership style and has since warned him to slow down lest the country experiences another fatal cases similar to what happened on July 20 2011.
Church and Society Executive Director, Moses Mkandawire, expressed the sentiments at a news conference yesterday in Mzuzu.
“The emotional and hostile approach the President took last week at a press conference in Lilongwe after his return from the United Nations and the use of words like ‘nonsense’ and the banging of the table, should not come from a leader. Looking at his reaction, he was showing signs of being a dictator like his late brother, Bingu. He should draw lessons from Bingu’s scenario. We should not experience another July 20 bloodshed in this country because he was inciting violence,” warned Mkandawire.
On July 20 2011, Malawians protested against the late Bingu wa Mutharika’s dictatorial rule and 20 civilians were killed by police.
Mkandawire, who also spoke as leader of the Civic and Political Space, a grouping of some civil society organisations, described as very unfortunate the approach Mutharika took at the news conference, saying he was fueling anger and hopelessness to suffering Malawians.
“That is very dangerous. We should not have that again. I am sure he must have reflected on his approach and regretted it. Malawians have the constitutional right to demand transparency from their leaders but what do they get instead: emotional reaction from the leader. As CSOs, we are saying we do not want to go back to one party era. It is not good to shout at people who are suffering. A leader should be with people who are suffering,” said Mkandawire.
He said Malawians need to demand answers to the current economic mess the country is in which has led to poor healthcare delivery services, shortage of teachers and poor infrastructure in schools, daily blackouts, lack of safe potable water to majority of the citizens and the donors’ suspension of their budgetary support among others.
But Mkandawire was quick to add that his organisations were not in support of conducting demonstrations against the President. He said constructive dialogue should be encouraged first.
Mutharika’s Press Secretary Gerald Viola admitted in an interview yesterday that Mutharika lost his temper because he received bad publicity while he was at the summit.
Said Viola: “You mean there is nothing good he did? All other former presidents lost their temper at some instances.”
Commenting on alleged dictatorial traits by the President, Viola said: “The Church and Society or the Livingstonia Synod has the right to observe the President’s leadership. One looks dictatorial when he loses temper but Mutharika is a democrat. He is fighting for people’s rights and rule of law. He wants to be friendly to everyone.”
Mutharika has come under fire for travelling with a big delegation, over 100 people, to the UN for a two week session. Commentators say the country which is already in financial crisis could not afford such a large delegation.
But in his response to the criticisms at a news conference on Thursday, Mutharika described the criticisms as “nonsense” and demanded an apology from his critics. He also challenged Malawians that he was making ten times his presidential salary when he was a law professor in America.
Meanwhile, other CSOs led by Billy Mayaya are planning to a protest march against Mutharika’s large UN delegation.
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