"It's shameful that the UDF party wants to take us back to the dark days,"

Mr Gwanda Chakuamba (2003)

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Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Last Sane Politicians - PPM says no to impeachment

The People’s Progressive Movement (PPM) has disassociated itself from politicians who are agitating for the impeachment of President Bingu wa Mutharika.
PPM president Aleke Banda said Monday at a press conference the impeachment process, if allowed to proceed, would only worsen the already fragile Malawi economy and render the country poorer.
The United Democratic Front (UDF) is pushing for procedures in Parliament’s standing orders so that the President, who became Malawi’s leader on its ticket and resigned to form his Democratic Progressive party (DPP), gets impeached as soon as possible.
“It might be easy to find two-thirds majority in Parliament, but the person who has been impeached by Parliament would not accept that position lying down. Most probably he will challenge it in court,” Banda said, adding that as the two sides will be fighting in court, development programmes in the country are likely to halt and donors and foreign investors are also going to back away.
“PPM strongly believes that Mutharika’s impeachment is not necessary because it is not in the interest of poor Malawians, who would like the people they elected into Parliament to address issues of HIV and Aids, tuberculosis (TB), poverty and food security,” said Banda, who was flanked by his vice Mark Katsonga Phiri and director of legal affairs James Makoza Chirwa.
“It is our considered view that there will be no winner. The opposition will not win. The President will not win. All of us will be losers,” he emphasised, adding that Parliament should avoid playing complainant, prosecutor, jury and judge at the same time, as some MPs have shown in the House.
Banda said PPM is not against the proponents of the impeachment, but feels that there are other ways of solving problems that led to Mutharika falling out with UDF.
Katsonga Phiri said PPM is concerned that some MPs are preoccupied with Mutharika’s impeachment when there are many more important things for them to fight for, for their constituents.
“[Impeachment] is really occupying a lot of our time. We are ignoring the important issues of our nation. This is worrying us. [It] is disturbing the rapport we were creating with our donors and friendly governments,” he said, adding that “after all this government has only three years to go and to some of us who have struggled in life, three years is nothing.”
If Mutharika is not the right material for the presidency, reasoned Katsonga Phiri, let the electorate say so at the polls in 2009.
But Banda said PPM feels that Mutharika should initiate contact and dialogue with the opposition to avert the looming political crisis.
He said although the President has said at political rallies that he is ready to discuss his differences with UDF and other opposition parties, he has fallen short of taking a lead in ensuring the round-table discussions take place.
“We have always advocated for contact and dialogue but it seems it is falling on deaf ears,” Banda lamented, adding that Mutharika has nothing to lose by letting the opposition leaders “bare their chests”.

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