As the dust surrounding Malawi President Peter Mutharika on hisUnited Nations (UN) trip refuses to settle, Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) Executive Director Timothy Mtambo has torched Mutharika’s volatility down with sober fire.
The Malawi president attracted controversy during his trip to the United Nation General Assembly (UNGA) that took place in New York – USA by taking with him a huge number of delegates, beating almost any represented state at the world summit.
The general public also accuses President Mutharika of chartering a Jet, a move which has been described as expensive and an unnecessary drainage of the government coffers.
Adding salt to the injury, President Mutharika spit fire during a press conference at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe last Thursday.
Reacting to the accusations leveled against him and his administration, Mutharika banged tables while spitting unguarded volatile statements against his critics.
He attacked the opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP), the press, and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs).
In a reverse jab, one of the country’s active CSOs, the CHRR, has responded to Mutharika’s outbursts in a manner that has dismissed the president’s intended threats.
Mtambo has described the President’s recent loss of emotions as “un-presidential and worrisome”.
Mtambo faulted Mutharika for being “too emotional and hostile” describing his outbursts and table banging as a flagship of an emerging autocrat.
“The president lacked decorum in his unguarded emotions as well as insensitive and irregular remarks towards his critics. The sole purpose of his flare was to threaten his critics to stop holding him to account. This is a flagship of an emerging autocrat and it is very worrisome after the country has long-achieved democracy.
“The public is interested to know why, amidst the country’s prevailing economic doldrums, the president took a costly volume of delegation to the Assembly,” Mtambo said.
According to Mtambo, the general public is dazed and bemused as to what is the president’s stand on the country’s economic mess. Instead of practicing austerity, he is poking fun at the public coffers.
“A lot of taxpayers’ money was spent in paying allowances, transport and upkeep costs for the bloated entourage not to mention of the Jet chartering. This is a gesture that has sent a wave of shock and worry across the public,” Mtambo said.
In his response to why his administration chartered a Jet and the size of his entourage to the summit, Mutharika said he was surprised that the MCP are complaining now about him chartering a Jet and taking what he quantified to be 106 delegates while Kamuzu was also doing the same things.
“Kamuzu was also chartering planes and taking hangers on abroad. Why are you complaining now?” Mutharika said during the presser.
On his take, the CHRR boss said Mutharika was being irregular to justify his lavishness and poor conduct by premising on what Kamuzu did.
“If Kamuzu did that, President Mutharika should remember that Malawians got tired of him and he was eventually dropped on our way into the current multiparty zone. Otherwise, President Mutharika is, in this case, displaying arrogance and poor judgment thereby automatically betraying his capacity as a viable leader of an impoverished people.”
“Failure of president Mutharika to understand this concern entails that he can’t afford simple logic therefore rendering his reasoning and himself unfit for the presidency,” said Mtambo.
The CHRR also faulted Mutharika on his remarks towards the plight of civil servants in the country. The President unknowingly contradicted his party’s manifesto which highlights the welfare of Civil Servants as its focus area.
He bluntly told them that there will be no salary increment for them saying Malawi is broke and they should consider leaving the civil service for the private sector if their goal is to become rich.
Responding to these remarks, Mtambo said what the civil service demand from government is only for basic survival. He said it is an insult of highest order for the President to insinuate that the civil servants’ demands are out of order.
“The civil servants never ask the government to increase their pays so that they can accumulate more. They do it when the cost of living goes up. The government must kindly realize this.
“While the President and his executive team are ever-comfortable whatever economic situation in the country due to their huge benefits and salaries, the junior civil servants bears the blunt. Look at the living conditions of the police, nurses and teachers. The President needs to withdraw such remarks and apologise to the nation,” said Mtambo.