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Regime change non starter

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I have heard voices that are calling for regime change, for President Peter Mutharika to step down because of a myriad problems rocking the country.

Well, in a democracy, everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion but, before I go any further with this issue, let me comment on the President’s decision to visit Oxford University in the United Kingdom.

The decision is as funny as it is unwise for the simple reason that Professor Mutharika, the Chancellor of all our public universities in Malawi, is failing to deal with endless problems in public universities.

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As I am writing, Chancellor College students do not know when they will be back in college corridors; having been away from classes for almost a year because of an industrial strike.

It is therefore funny that the esteemed chancellor found it wise to deal with problems at Oxford University in the UK when his own students in Malawi are not attending classes.

I also found it unwise for our good President to leave a major strike by primary school teachers to attend to issues of a university that does not even concern him.

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A concerned leader and parent would have postponed the trip to deal with the strike so that learners, most of them from very poor families that cannot afford expensive private schools, can go back to class.

What Mutharika has done clearly shows that there is a distance between him and his people or, put simply, he cares more of people abroad than his own people here in Malawi.

But, let me repeat this, he will need us in 2019 when he would want to renew his mandate.

We are all recording what he is doing and we will give our verdict in May 2019.

It will not be a surprise to him when someone takes over power from him.

He will have no one to blame but himself and his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

Now, let me go back to the issue at hand.

I know there are numerous problems facing the country but agitating for regime change is a non-starter.

Let dialogue take centre stage. After all, Malawi is known as a peaceful nation.

I totally agree that corruption, especially in government offices, is record high. We have seen survey results and other indicators which show that this government is doing less or nothing to control or prevent corruption in the country.

I know the cost of living is high up despite the fact that inflation is going down, slowly though.

I know that the Mutharika administration is not as transparent as Malawians wanted it to be. Talk of former Agriculture minister George Chaponda’s case, talk of investigations into former president Bingu wa Mutharika’s wealth and others.

But this does not call for the removal of President Mutharika.

First, Mutharika should be told to remove the Director of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Lucas Kondowe.

Kondowe is sleeping on his job. He is the one to blame for ACB’s failure to prosecute corrupt leaders and politicians.

He needs to wake up; otherwise, the country will soon collapse due to corruption.

Mutharika should as well show political will to deal with the vice. There should not be selective justice when it comes to corruption cases.

Anyone, whether blue, green, red or black, must be arrested and prosecuted if suspected of being involved in corruption.

Secondly, Mutharika should dismantle the Presidential Dialogue Committee which he appointed to bang heads with the Public Affairs Committee (Pac) on issues of national importance.

For those who have forgotten some of the people in the committee, here are some: Presidential Aide Hetherwick Ntaba, Minister of Justice Samuel Tembenu, Minister of Health Peter Kumpalume, Presidential Aide Mabvuto Bamusi and another Presidential Aide Collins Magalasi.

These people have been dodging Pac officials. They have been giving one excuse after another when Pac officials wanted to meet them.

This is why I say these people can no longer be trusted.

The President should, therefore, appoint a new committee with zeal to meet with Pac and discuss issues in earnest for the good of Malawians.

The DPP should be reminded that, even if they are in power, Malawi does not belong to them. Malawi belongs to us. Therefore, Malawians have a right to make decisions on what we want and what we do not want.

I am saying this because just days before the Pac meeting, DPP officials sponsored the so-called chiefs, the so-called civil society organisations and the so-called journalists to insult Pac officials.

That is not the way to deal with issues in a civilised country.

We do not want to go back to one-party state when a youth league official was law himself; we do not want to go back to the United Democratic Front (UDF) days when young democrats were the law, they could beat up those critical of Bakili Muluzi, they could beat up journalists for no apparent reason.

That time is over, Malawi has to move on and I should think Malawi has moved on.

Politics of intimidation or harassment has no place in this new Malawi.

This is why I say, in this new Malawi, let dialogue take centre stage to deal with all these problems we have.

Pushing for the removal of the President and his DPP government would just bring more anarchy than solve the problems.

I know eminent Malawians who can offer to mediate between the government, State House and the DPP on one hand and Pac on the other.

These eminent Malawians successfully mediated between former presidents Bingu and Muluzi after Bingu dumped the UDF, the party that sponsored him into power to form his own DPP after the 2005.

This angered Muluzi and UDF, who joined forces with John Tembo and his Malawi Congress Party to topple the Bingu administration.

Remember Lucius Banda moved a motion to impeach Bingu?

Well, this did not happen but the political situation was tense until eminent Malawians such as Lazarus Chakwera and Bishop Joseph Bvumbwe intervened and brokered peace.

Long live Malawi!

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