Two civil society organisations (CSOs) have faulted President Peter Mutharika’s leadership in 2015, saying it is a departure from the “servant leadership” that Malawians hoped for.
But State House has condemned the statement, saying it portrays the hatred the signatories have for the President besides reflecting the authors’ “lack of maturity” in activism.
Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) and Centre for the Development of People (Cedep), in a joint statement issued on Sunday to evaluate the performance of Mutharika and his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in terms of governance and human rights in 2015, said the President was silent on critical issues requiring his decisive leadership.
The statement highlights what it called NAC-gate, the sale of 75 percent Malawi Government shareholding in Malawi Savings Bank (MSB) and a strike by the Judiciary as some of the missed opportunities where the President failed to demonstrate decisiveness.
Reads the statement in part: “In the midst of such ’silence’, there were contradicting messages emanating from Cabinet and Mutharika’s advisers and in some cases, contradicting his own position.”
The statement also accuse the DPP-led government of having some vestiges of intolerance towards dissenting views, claiming critics of the regime were sometimes subjected to verbal threats by the President and his cronies or banned from issuing ultimatums along the year.
Mutharika is also faulted for labelling the media and CSOs as unpatriotic, according to the statement, and hell-bent on tarnishing the image of the current leadership “simply for holding him accountable on how he was managing the public purse.”
On a positive note, the CSOs commended the President and his administration for swift responses in the condemnation of the brutal attacks against people with albinism, reaction to the floods situation by effectively coordinating the national and international responses to the crisis and notable progress in Cashgate trials where significant convictions were secured.
Reacting to the statement, presidential adviser on NGOs, Mavuto Bamusi, dismissed the assessment by the CSOs, calling it too negative and that it reflects the lack of respect which the signatories have for the President. n