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

Mr Gwanda Chakuamba (2003)

search antimuluzi.blogspot.com

Monday, February 18, 2008

Malawi clerics urge ex-ruler Muluzi withdraw from poll

Mon 18 Feb 2008, 16:00 GMT
[-] Text [+]

By Mabvuto Banda

LILONGWE, Feb 18 (Reuters) - Former Malawi President Bakili Muluzi should withdraw from next year's presidential election in the interests of democracy, an influential group of Christian and Muslim clerics in the African nation said on Monday.

Muluzi, who stepped down in 2004 after unsuccessfully trying to change the constitution and run for a third consecutive term, announced last year he would challenge incumbent President Bingu wa Mutharika on behalf of the United Democratic Front party.

"Muluzi had his time and we ask him to withdraw his intentions to contest again in next year's elections," Rev. Boniface Tamani, head of the Public Affairs Committee (PAC) clerical lobby, said in a statement.

"His intentions may undermine the achievements that the country has made so far and destroy the confidence with the country's donors," Tamani said.

Clerics have played an important political role in Malawi. Calls by Christian leaders for the government to respect democracy and human rights helped pave the way for the 1994 departure of longtime strongman Hastings Kamuzu Banda.

But Kennedy Makwangwala, the UDF's secretary-general, dismissed the clerics' request. "UDF supporters are the ones that want Muluzi and not the churches," he told Reuters.

Muluzi was hailed as a hero in Malawi, one of the world's poorest nations, for ousting Banda, a victory that appeared to mark the end of authoritarian rule in the country of 13 million people.

But a decade later he was defeated in an unsuccessful bid for an unconstitutional third, five-year term amid growing tensions with Western donors who account for a large chunk of the country's finances.

Relations between Muluzi and wa Mutharika, his successor, have deteriorated since the incumbent launched an anti-corruption drive that netted a number of Muluzi's allies. Muluzi was briefly arrested in 2006 in the crackdown.

It is not clear whether the former Malawi leader will be free to run again under the Constitution, which limits the president to two terms but says nothing about whether the restriction applies to former rulers.

Malawi's Constitutional Court is expected to rule on the matter. Muluzi and his supporters in the UDF have said they believe that the constitutional limit applies to consecutive presidential terms.

Wa Mutharika, who quit the UDF after winning the 2004 poll and formed the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), is likely to stress his government's economic achievements in his re-election bid. Inflation and interest rates have fallen and harvests have been generally good under his rule.

Muluzi says prosperity has not trickled down to many Malawians.

UDF loyalists in parliament have made several attempts to impeach wa Mutharika, while police have accused UDF figures of plotting to have the president assassinated. The DPP has a minority of the seats in Malawi's parliament. (Editing by Paul Simao and Giles Elgood)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The charity 'Raising Malawi' (PR firm) founded by Madonna AND TWO OTHERS over three years ago held fund raisers for over two years before finally getting registered as a non-profit. In other words, Madonna and the others were free to squander the lion's share of that funding any way they saw fit for those first two years. She also pleaded with her fans worldwide for donations along the way. In the meantime, she toured the world to promote her latest CD and raked in another $280,000,000 gross in just over 12 months. To date, the basic financial info for 'Rasing Malawi' still hasn't been posted on the website or anywhere else. The 'progress' page only tells of the collective works by over 20 seperate charities. Each of which have their own sources of funding and may have recieved some sort of promotion or support from 'Raising Malawi' in order to be considered 'partners'. But no indication is made how much of their funding came from 'Raising Malawi' or how much of their progress if any could be directly attributed to 'Raising Malawi'. The fans/donors have no clue how many millions of dollars were raised in that first two years, no clue how much Madonna herself chipped in, and no clue how the money was spent before they finally registered as a non-profit. No clue what fraction of funding or works listed on that 'progress' page could be directly attributed to 'Raising Malawi'. Nothing to go on but the vague word of Madonna. The vague and very misleading word of Madonna. For example: She states in her latest promotional video that she will match any contributions made to her charity (PR firm) "dollar for dollar". However, there is a disclaimer posted on the website for 'Raising Malawi' that Madonna's total contribution will not exceed $100,000. Thats not per donation. Thats a maximum of $100,000 TOTAL. Less than a single days pay for Madonna. Also much less then she will surely rake in by promoting her own CDs, DVDs, and 'for profit' merchandise through this massive worldwide publicity stunt. So I called the office of 'Raising Malawi' in an attempt to verify some sort of efficient financial operation (310) 867-2881 or (888) 72-DONOR). These details are ALWAYS made available by legitimate charities to their potential donors. But not in this case. I got nothing but recorded messages and hangups. So I did some research on my own. 'Rasing Malawi' still hasn't been given any kind of rating by ANY independent charity watchdog like Charitywatch.org. The vast overwhelming majority of 'celebrity' foundations never are. In general, they are inneficient and riddled with corruption. Like the promotion of CDs, world tours, commercial websites, entire lines of jewelry (not just the single piece from which proceeds are donated), and high end fashion retail flagship stores. Celebrity foundations are also notorious for squandering much of their funding on private jet rides and super high end accomodations for their managers, PR crews, and celebrity figure heads. Its legal even for a nonprofit but not noble or efficient by any stretch of the imagination. In general, 'celebrity' foundations are a twisted inefficient mutant of charity, self-promotion, exotic travel, and PR crap. Still, they compete for funding with more efficient legitimate charities who do more work with less money. The celebrity figure heads often disregard the primary donors, co-founders, and managers, take personal credit for any collective work done, and seek maximum publicity shortly before or after the release of their own commercial projects. Its a sham. So if its not rated, then don't support it. Instead, support a top rated charity like any of those given high ratings at Charitywatch.org.