LILONGWE (Muchanakhwaye Khwepeya, Malawi NewsNow ) –Critics have argued that the tactic of issuing threats of arrests by President Peter Mutharika is mainly used by dictators to silence opponents.
Mutharika faces the greatest challenge of his rule as despite being eligible for a second term as per the Malawi Constitution—some DPP members are calling for him to go for being “clueless” and that his vice-president Dr Saulosi Chilima be the leader that can take Malawi forward.
Former first lady Callista Mutharika—widow of Bingu who was the incumbent President’s elder brother—sparked the succession debate weeks ago when she said her in-law, 79, should pave the way for the comparatively youthful and energetic Chilima, 45, widely seen as a hands-on and results-oriented leader after he vibrantly led the Public Sector Reforms Programme that has since lost steam after being moved from his domain.
But Mutharika who has already started to use state apparatus to muzzle the independent medua gave Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) members supporting Chilima’s presidential candidacy what he called ‘one more warning’ that he would use the draconian law that stops people from insulting him.
The Section 4 of the Protected Flag, Emblem and Names Act as Malawi laws prevent anyone from insulting the President.
Said Mutharika: “I am giving them one more warning. This is the last warning, if they continue insulting me, as they did in Lilongwe, there is a limit, ndiwafinya [I will squeeze them]. Section 4 is clear about that.”
Mutharika said he does not understand what the DPP officials that have rebelled against him want because he has given them the convention they were demanding.
“They are scared; they know ndikawanyenya [I will give them a whitewash],” challenged Mutharika who was accompanied by some of his legislators and Cabinet ministers.