LILONGWE—Malawi’s new government can pat itself on the back for a good start but the former governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) says there’s nothing to celebrate after Pres Banda’s first 100 days in office.
“Cases of rape are on the increase,” said Jean Kalirani, DPP Vice president and former cabinet minister. “Many people have nothing to eat. The priorities are wrong. It’s trial and error in the way they are running this government.”
Kalirani, who spoke at a well-attended rally at Mgona ground, Area 25 in the capital Lilongwe, said the transition was peaceful after the sudden death of Pres Bingu wa Mutharika in April but false accusations were being made against the DPP.
“We were government; we couldn’t have plotted against government,” she said, answering to allegations that the party’s inner circle wanted to circumvent the constitution and install Bingu’s brother, Peter, as president instead of then Vice Pres Joyce Banda.
“If they want to arrest us, let them arrest us,” she said, accusing the Banda government of going after DPP officials.
After suffering a heart attack, the government announced that Mutharika would be flown to South Africa for treatment although it’s believed he was already dead. He was pronounced dead on arrival at a military hospital there. Meanwhile, the DPP in Malawi was making the case that Banda couldn’t succeed Mutharika because she didn’t belong to the party. Banda was sacked from the DPP in 2010 over the issue of Peter succeeding Bingu in 2014.
Patricia Kaliati, DPP Director of Women who was among the ministers who said Banda couldn’t be president, told the Lilongwe rally that the new government was failing to provide security in the country.
“There’s a crisis in this country yet the president is never in the office. What a shame,” Kaliati said.
Hammering on the same theme of crime and hunger, acting DPP leader Peter Mutharika said his government would bring about a sound economy that address these concerns.
He reminisced about a big rally the party addressed last week in Thyolo, saying it was evidence that people weren’t satisfied with what the new government was offering.
He thanked the Malawi media - The Nation and Daily Times - for covering his rally last week.
“Let’s work together,” said Peter Mutharika whose brother, Pres Mutharika, had a stormy relationship with the media which he often accused of reporting negatively on his government.
Mutharika would threaten to shut down media houses which he said were tainting his government’s image and DPP supporters, apparently taking the cue from him, would intimidate journalists, especially at his press briefings, to prevent them from asking tough questions.
But seeking a fresh start, Peter Mutharika at the rally apologised for DPP’s contemptuous treatment of the media.
---©2012 The Maravi Post. Reproduction authorised, with usual acknowledgment.