Shepherd Bushiri speaks on political impasse
Malawi divided nation, he says
South-Africa based Malawian prophet Shepherd Bushiri of Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) has described the ongoing election case at the Constitutional Court in Lilongwe as a ticking bomb waiting to explode if the country ignores the impact its outcome may bring on the country’s peace and unity.
Bushiri, speaking to journalists in Rustenburg, South Africa, Wednesday said Malawians and parties involved in the post-May 21 tripartite elections dispute should not underestimate the power of the Constitutional Court ruling; hence, calling for preparedness.
“I make a strong appeal to our political leaders to start preparing people in their camps to accept the court’s transparent and incorruptible decision by the end of the day,” he said.
His sentiments come when the court is expected to deliver its judgement while demonstrators calling for the resignation of Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) Chairperson, Jane Ansah, continue to take their grievances to the streets.
Bushiri said the impasse would affect the economy and divide the country.
“Malawi is completely a divided nation. I strongly condemn the manner in which the demonstrations are happening. It is their right but the leaders need to promote peace and not hatred. Just look around. The streets are chaotic and businesses are coming to a standstill. Look around, innocent lives are being lost,” he said.
Bushiri, however, said he was not certain on whether Ansah should resign or not as he is yet to research more on the matter.
“My answer is yes and no depending on the consequences. I am yet to find out from the legal team,” he said.
He emphasised the need for political parties, international community and the clergy to come together and provide civic education to promote peace and unity in Malawi.
“I will do anything to be part of the processes that protect and safeguard the interest of all our people. I have approached them and they say they are open to dialogue. They are not as bad as they are being painted. Peace can be initiated through their interaction,” he said.
Bushiri trashed the ruling party and the opposition parties for being power-hungry when the country needs humanitarian interventions.
“Our leaders appear to have vowed to continue disagreeing without end. We are living in a state where leaders have agreed not to completely disagree. To DPP [Democratic Progressive Party], don’t take demonstrators as fools. Don’t underestimate the number of fools in large numbers. People’s voices must be heard. To the opposition, I may sound ignorant but listen to others, even the ignorant have stories to tell,” he said.
Commenting on the matter, UTM spokesperson, Joseph Chidanti-Malunga, said there was need to wait for the court outcome.
“As Malawians, including men and women of God, we should respect the fact that the matter is in court. We should, therefore, all wait for the court outcome. To suggest otherwise would be going against the court procedures,” he said.
Public Affairs Committee Executive Director, Robert Phiri, said their efforts for dialogue were inclusive in terms of dealing with the aftermath of the court ruling.
“As we discuss scenarios, parties in the dispute have a big role to play as they respect the rule of law. Not only are they expected to hold the rule of law but also persuade their followers to uphold democratic tenets. The moment we ignore court rulings that will be the beginning of the end of democracy. To this end, the Pac initiated dialogue goes beyond the present effects we see today of protests,” Phiri said.
Malawi Congress Party president Lazarus Chakwera and UTM leader Saulos Chilima are challenging the election results after Mec declared President Peter Mutharika winner of the presidential election.
The two leaders allege that the elections were marred by irregularities.
Meanwhile, organisers of anti- Ansah demonstrations continue taking to the streets their grievances.