President Peter Mutharika has been declared to be Malawi’s life president by Culture and Sports Minister Grace Chiumia, remarks which have been condemned by influential Catholic Church through its governance arm, Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP).
Chiumia made the remarks at the fundraising dinner of the Mulhako wa Alhomwe in Lilongwe on Friday where Mutharika was guest of honour.
She referred to Mutharika, 76 as the “Life President”, remarks which were not disputed by Mutharika.
Discussions over succession plans have intensfifies recently in Mutharika’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) with Minister of Agrcutlure and Irrigation, George Chaponda seen as repositioning himself to tae over.
As confusion reigns in the DPP and rumours begin to fly that President Mutharika is not interested in a second term, factions are forming.
One is led by the First Lady, Gertrude Mutharika, pushing for the Head of State to go for another term and others are grouped around each of the following: Chaponda, Labour Minister Henry Mussa and Ben Phiri, the party strongman and Mutharika’s confidant – all seeking to be successors.
Chiumia realigned herself to First Lady faction, by calling Mutharika as Life President, a statement viewed as whipping the Malawi leader’s interest to hold on to power.
But Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace says remarks by Minister Chiumia that Mutharika should be Malawi leader-for-life are retrogressive and creating dictatorship.
The life-presidency remarks comes after another DPP senior politicians, regional governor for the north Kenneth Sanga told a rally that Mutharika’s party will be in power until 2099.
And secretary general Ecklem Kudontoni said DPP will until keep on winning the elections for the next 50 years.
Also commenting recently in Presidential Advisor on National Unity, Symon Vuwa Kaunda who said Mutharika will remain President of Malawi even if elections were held today, saying ” there is no one else.”
Malawi will hold next elections in May, 2019.
Mutharika is eligible to contest for the second and final five –year term.
To Chiumia, Sanga, Kaunda, Kudontonie and all DPP top brass, term limits whatsoever do not mean anything to them, all the propagate is Mutharika being in power “till death do us part.”
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