"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, June 10, 2008

Bingu challenges opposition on popularity


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Bingu wa Mutharika on Sunday reiterated that opposition political
leaders want to use Section 65 of the Constitution to bring down his
government. He challenged his rivals to wait for next year’s general
elections to have their popularity tested.

But a human rights activist has called for an end to
the blame game and asked both sides to support the on-going mediation

Mutharika made the remarks in Thyolo after presiding
over the ground-breaking ceremony of the
Thyolo-Makwasa-Thekerani-Bangula Road construction.

Work on the 94 km road, which started in February,
is expected to end in three years’ time. It is funded by government and
donors to the tune of about K9 billion, according to Minister of
Transport, Public Works and Housing Henry Chimunthu Banda.

Mutharika, who addressed a rally at Thekerani
Community Centre after the ground-breaking ceremony, challenged the
opposition to meet him in 2009 if they want to rule this country and
not through Section 65.

"DPP is a ruling party and the strongest. And if the
opposition want to rule, let us meet in 2009 and not through Section
65. It just shows they are cowards. If they are popular, people will
vote for them," said Mutharika amid cheers from a large crowd.

The President said opposition MPs should think over
their alleged intention not to pass this year’s budget before Section
65 is tackled. Mutharika made similar remarks in Blantyre on Saturday
after officially launching the first phase of the extension of the
Masauko Chipembere Highway into a dual carriageway.

But MCP spokesperson Ishmael Chafukira told Nation
on Sunday that Mutharika should be calm and understanding, and allow
the mediation talks facilitated by the clergy to progress smoothly.

UDF deputy secretary-general Hophmally Makande said
Mutharika should stop talking about UDF because he is not a member of
the party.

Commenting on the developments, Human Rights
Consultative Committee (HRCC) chairperson Undule Mwakasungula said
political leaders, both in government and opposition, should refrain
from hate speeches at this stage when the clergy are trying to find a
solution to the political impasse.

"The country needs the budget but there are also issues like Section
65 which need to be tackled. So, at this point, we should not point
fingers to either government or opposition but find an amicable
solution and move forward," said Mwakasungul

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