The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has called upon President Lazarus Chakwera to act on Minister Ibrahim Matola’s conduct after the minister called Malawians “frogs”.
In a press release seen by this publication, CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa has condemned in the strongest terms the disparaging and demeaning remarks made by Minister of Energy Ibrahim Matola, who has described Malawians as Achule (frogs) simply because they are asking President Lazarus Chakwera to walk his talk on austerity measures by keeping his local and international travels to a bare minimum.
Matola called well-meaning Malawians ‘Achule’ on Monday at a public function presided over by the President in Dedza and to the surprise of many without coming back to his senses after tagging them ‘Achule’, Matola went on to encourage the Head of State to travel across the country as it pleases him.
CDEDI has since demanded the President to discipline Matola to avoid giving the impression that now that the electorate have put the Tonse Alliance in power, they no longer deserve to be treated with dignity and the President has no problem with that.
“Malawians are too forgetful and as former president Bakili Muluzi used to say, but some Malawians still remember that it was the same Matola, who publicly insulted some high-profile official, but former President Dr. Joyce Banda swiftly rebuked him, exhibiting a rare leadership quality virtue,” he recalls.
He added that by asking President to be the protector of the dignity of all Malawians, his organisation is not expecting too much from the presidency.
According to Namiwa, by any measurements of reasoning, calling fellow citizens ‘Achule’ is demeaning and such language is uncalled for, especially in a democratic dispensation like Malawi’s.
“On behalf of all Malawians who value the dignity of a person, CDEDI hereby demand a retraction of this shameful statement, and a public apology from Matola. It is equally disheartening to note that such a word uttered in the presence of the Head of State went unrebuked by Chakwera himself,” he said.
However Namiwa said that maybe Matola is not wholly to blame for using the disparaging word in the presence of the President, considering that Chakwera himself might have set the tone at the weekend when he described Malawians as ‘cry-babies’.
“It is against this background that CDEDI is challenging Chakwera to explain to Malawians if at all insulting the electorate is now part of the Tonse Alliance administration’s policy, as the coincidence of the incidents is too glaring,” he said.
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