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Editorial CommentOpinion & Analysis

The President is out of touch with reality

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When a president, who happens to be a constitutional law expert, gets thoroughly inflamed by the just calls of the citizenry, people have no choice but to realise that they are not in safe hands.

We say so because sentiments raised by President Peter Mutharika, who yesterday accused the opposition of plotting to topple his government by December 31this year, do not inspire confidence in us.

More so because, as far as Malawians— at least the 64 percent who did not vote for the President during the 2014 tripartite elections— are concerned, the country’s electoral system has chaos-inducing loopholes that have, countless times, taken the country on the precipice of violence.

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Events of the 2014 General Elections come to mind. In the aftermath of the elections, which pitted the then ruling United Democratic Front presidential candidate against Malawi Congress Party and Mgwirizano Coalition candidates, the innocent life of Epiphania Bonjesi, who was in the morning of her life, was lost as voters, dissatisfied with results of elections, went on rampage in Blantyre City.

History also almost repeated itself in the 2014 Tripartite Elections, which were marred by unforgivable irregularities. Even the courts ordered a recount of the votes but, according to electoral laws, it was too little too late because an announcement had to be made in tandem with the law. This means Mutharika was sworn-in simply because time was against justice.

We were, therefore, hoping that Mutharika and his government would see sense in tabling the Electoral Reforms [Amendment] Bills but, nay! The President and his cohorts had other ideas, which is why we are not surprised, though sad, that the 50 percent + 1 and other equally important bills have been thrown back at the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs for redrafting.

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Even the Public Affairs Committee has cried foul, accusing the Mutharika administration of cheating the quasi-religious body.

What this means is that this administration does not wish Malawians well.

That is why, instead of giving Malawians a convincing reason for his government’s dilly-dallying in tabling 50 percent + 1 and other bills, he chooses to settle for the lame excuse that the opposition, led by Malawi Congress Party president Lazarus Chakwera, wanted to use the electoral bills to remove his government by December 31 this year.

This beats reason because after rising, Parliament will only meet in another session and meeting next year— which is past December 31. Surely, the President either leaves on Mars or is fed a cocktail of lies, which does not augur well for the country because we need a president who is well-informed.

The President should stop pointing fingers at imaginary enemies and accept that he, and not others, is afraid of the unknown.

Malawians need a president who is so confident that he can deliver what Malawians want: namely, Electoral Reforms [Amendment] Bills.

That way, we will give our elections a semblance of credibility.

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