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

Mr Gwanda Chakuamba (2003)

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Sunday, June 07, 2009

Malawi President seeks reconciliation with opposition party

Malawi President Bingu Wa Mutharika has
extended a hand of reconciliation to former president Bakili Muluzi and
opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) leader John Tembo on condition
that the two apologize for what he calls violation of his integrity
during and before the recent election campaign, Xinhua reported.

    Speaking to Malawians through a special program aired Sunday on
state radio and television, Mutharika emphasized that politics of
vengeance should be a thing of the past and that he would want Muluzi
and Tembo to be part of rebuilding of a new Malawi.

    Mutharika said he has power through his majority government to do
whatever he wants but he was now looking at mature politics.

    The president said Tembo warned that if he won the State House
race, he would deal with Mutharika. He alleged that some people were
given instructions to arrest him once Tembo was inaugurated as State

    "Should I deal with Tembo now? Is that the way we want to run government?" he asked.

    "Muluzi used to say he can deflate the tyre he inflated, he had no
development agenda but just to remove me. So that's why I say look, let
us have reconciliation but it does not mean that those people who
violated the law will go scot-free..but in terms of political bickering
and the kind of things we were doing, I say let's forget it," Mutharika

    The president added that he was now looking at mature politics because he was a leader not a ruler.

    On his part, Muluzi said he quickly congratulated Mutharika on his
re-election because he was peace to prevail and not bloodshed adding he
believes in democracy and welcomed Mutharika's statement that the
nation should move on and that there would be no vengeance.

    MCP spokesperson Nancy Tembo said the party's president did not say
anything derogatory against the president but just criticized his
various policies like the agricultural subsidy program.

    "It is the wish of MCP to see positive coexistence and respect for
each other. We might differ on some issues but we don't get personal,"
she said.

    Meanwhile, a legal expert told Xinhua that members of Parliament
have the powers to remove Tembo as leader of opposition group in
Parliament by amending the House's Standing Orders since the position
is not constitutional.

    Tembo has been leader of opposition group for the past five years,
Justin Dzonzi said, adding that "strictly speaking, the position of
leader of opposition just like the position of leader of the House, is
not a constitutional position or a legal position as such. The position
is an administrative one governed by Standing Orders."

    He said if need arises legislators can amend the Standing Orders without problems.

    However, a political analyst from the University of Malawi, Mustafa
Hussein, has warned that removing Tembo from position of leader of
opposition will weaken further the already frail opposition, which lost
its supremacy during the elections after the ruling Democratic
Progressive Party took a total of 114 seats against opposition's 44.

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