Malawi President Joyce Banda and her ruling People’s Party (PP) plan to celebrate 12 months of her rule on April 7, two days after the nation commemorates the first anniversary of the death of president Bingu wa Mutharika—a misfortune that ushered PP into power.
Mutharika died on April 5 2012, according to findings of a commission of inquiry set up by President Banda.
PP spokesperson Hophmally Makandeon Tuesday confirmed the issue, but said: “Please, talk to honourable Moses Kunkuyu because this is a government programme”.
When called for an interview, Kunkuyu said “there are no details as of now.”
“As soon as I get details, I will share with you,” he said.
The celebrations, which sources said are scheduled to be held at the Civo Stadium in the capital, Lilongwe, were announced to ministers, principal secretaries and some directors at a meeting held in Lilongwe in mid March, according to sources who attended the meeting at Capital Hill.
The idea has ignited angry reactions from some quarters of society with the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) describing it as “insensitive to people’s suffering.”
The celebrations also come amid rising cost of living hitting Malawians hard in the wake of a floating of the kwacha and monthly fuel price adjustments pushing headline inflation to a record 37.9 percent.
The kwacha now stands at K435 to dollar from K167 in April last year.
CCJP national secretary Chris Chisoni said: “One would think government will be saying let’s remember the death of the late president than celebrating [one year in office].”
He added: “What is there to celebrate when people are starving and there are no drugs in hospitals? This is a very good joke government is embarking on when the economy is grinding to a halt.”
President of Political Science Association (PSA), Joseph Chunga, also described the idea of celebrating PP’s one year as stunning.
“It’s stunning because I don’t know if we should be celebrating as it were. It puzzles me when we focus on celebrations while losing focus on challenges we ought to overcome.
“Why do people want to pat themselves at the back before achieving real milestones? Do we have anything to celebrate for looking at the past year?” he queried.
PP annoyed people last year when they celebrated 100 days of their rule in July when Malawians ought to have been celebrating independence.