By Deogratias Mmana – Mana
The Malawi President, Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika has challenged Malawians to prioritize development over politics.
Mutharika said this on Friday in a recorded State of the Nation Address when opening budget session of Parliament.
“It is important for us to define the mission that brings us here— the mission by which we want to serve Malawians. The first step in solving a problem is to identify, define and accept the problem.
“The first problem we have experienced in the past year is that we like politics more than development in this country. We have forgotten our love for our country,” said Mutharika.
He added: “We have a very difficult road ahead of us. But not everything is lost. We continue to deliver development in spite of the crises and challenges. When the going gets tough, the tough gets going. And we must be tougher! Great countries have risen from the worst crises in human history. We still have a bright future ahead.
“What we need is to unite, to put our country first and speak with one voice. Let us rise above partisan politics and put development before politics. Malawi is bigger than us all and our children are watching.”
Mutharika condemned the spirit of hurting others in the name of defending human rights.
Said Mutharika: “We have allowed Malawi to be a country where we offend and hurt others in the name of human rights. We have allowed others to kill, burn property and frustrate development in the name of human rights. Is that the Malawi we want?”
The president said after the May 21, 2019 tripartite elections the country witnessed demonstrations organized by the opposition protesting the presidential results. He said the opposition Malawi Congress Party ganged up with UTM and went to court to challenge the presidential election results.
“The Constitutional Court nullified the presidential election citing irregularities and called for a rerun in 150 days. Likewise, the Supreme Court of Appeal upheld the ruling. The country is now preparing for a fresh presidential election.
In the address, Mutharika has also urged judges not to live in fear of criticism as long as their conscience is clear.
“Speaking my views when the Courts err is not attacking them. This poor thinking must stop. As a matter of fact, no judge in this country must live in fear if they have a clear conscience,” he said.
He added that disagreeing with judgements made in the courts is not disrespecting the courts; rather it is a way of holding one another accountable, just as the President and the Executive are always held accountable every day by Parliament and the people.
“This Parliament respects the Courts. But that does not mean that we must agree with every judgement that comes from them. We must all hold one another accountable,” he said.
The President urged Parliament, as representatives of the people of Malawi to always make sure to do what is right for the people.
“Let us remember that Parliament is more supreme above the Courts. We are elected members who represent the people and we have the authority to make laws for the Judiciary to interpret,” he said.