Governance experts have faulted former President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika (APM) for refusing to attend the engagement President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera called to discuss and identify solutions to the effects of Tropical Cyclone Freddy.]
Following the devastation caused by the cyclone, President Chakwera invited former Heads of State to a meeting to find a common approach to resolving the social and economic problems that have engulfed Malawians in nine districts of the Southern Region.
While Dr. Bakili Muluzi and Dr. Joyce Banda responded positively and duly attended the engagement, Mutharika declined to show up, citing lack of knowledge on the agenda for the meeting.
But reacting to the development, governance expert George Phiri said Mutharika had missed the opportunity to contribute towards nation-building.
Phiri said by not showing up at such an important engagement, the former Head of State had proven to the world that he is still bitter with loss in Fresh Presidential Election held in June 2020.
Adding his voice to the conversation, governance expert Wonderful Mkhutche said he could not understand the reasons Mutharika gave for his failure to attend the meeting with President Chakwera and his fellow retired presidents.
Earlier before the engagement meeting on Thursday, governance expert Dr. George Chaima saluted President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera for demonstrating statesmanship and servant leadership by engaging former Heads of State in a discussion on what the country needs to do to address challenges emanating from Tropical Cyclone Freddy.
Chaima observed that Chakwera is apparently the first leader to consult his predecessors on national issues.
He is also the first Head of State to pay courtesy calls to retired presidents in their respective places of residence and also assigning them to represent him at national and international events.
“This is very encouraging step taken by President Chakwera. You know, right from the beginning after he assumed office, Chakwera called for unity among all Malawians. He also took a tour to visit former Heads of State like Dr. Bakili Muluzi and Professor Mutharika. And that was all in the spirit of solidifying relationship for national good,” he said.
“And when he has also called for this meeting today, I think this is very commendable and it shows President Chakwera is a man who would always depend on others for participatory decision-making so that all that collective efforts can be put together for the good of the nation,” added Chaima.
But Chaima expressed disappointment with the advice Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) loyalists gave Mutharika to shun the engagement when Muluzi and Dr. Joyce Banda responded positively to the invitation.
The governance expert said he expected that any former Head of State would gladly take such an invitation as an opportunity to discuss and contribute to the matters of the nation.
“President Chakwera did not invite party followers to the meeting. He invited former Heads of State and not former heads of political parties. And Malawi is that state. I think the political party leaders of DPP are misguided by advising their president in a wrong manner,” he emphasized, further advising Mutharika to stop living in denial that he lost the election.
Earlier in the week, DPP National Governing Council member Ken Msonda also took a swipe at his fellow party following for misleading Mutharika on the matter.
Msonda said he expected that all the three former state presidents would respond positively and attend ‘this very important meeting’.
“The Think Tank would like to remind those misguided, confused, disgruntled and frustrated overzealous blind party loyalists that this call from the state president is meant for former state presidents and not political party presidents. Therefore calls from these called party members, followers, supporters sympathizers that the former state president shouldn’t attend this very important meeting is not only uncalled for but unreasonable, undemocratic, primitive line of thinking and unfortunate,” he said.
Msonda reminded his fellow DPP loyalists that Chakwera’s call for a meeting with former Heads of State is ‘a call for the national unity to work together’.