Former Malawi president Bakili Muluzi and rights activists have advised the new President Joyce Banda to tread carefully in accommodating DPP defectors into her government.
The caution comes against the background of former ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) MPs and Cabinet ministers who are currently declaring massive support to the new Presidentâ€™s administration and her now ruling Peopleâ€™s Party (PP).
Sources close to the newly sworn in President on Monday said several MPs have been trying to meet Banda and are rushing to radio stations to announce their defection to PP after being denied access to the new leader.
Said a source: “For example, a group of MPs from Ntcheu came at the gate saying they want to meet the President. They were refused entry and immediately they went to a radio station to announce their defection.
“There are also people phoning to book appointment with the President. You canâ€™t believe the kind of people who are telephoning and you sometimes wonder if people have morals and principles because some of them are the ones who were on a daily basis castigating her.â€
In an interview on Monday, Muluzi said he was shocked that before the late Bingu wa Mutharika was buried, people who served in his Cabinet have already denounced his government.
Muluzi said he was one of the people advocating for 100 percent support to Bandaâ€™s presidency and that he would do anything in his capacity as former president to ensure that the new government is supported.
Said Muluzi: “But what these people are doing now is very â€˜unMalawianâ€™. President Mutharika was their father. Your father dies and before your father is even buried, you are denying that he was your father?
“I can only describe them as opportunists and people without principles and human heart. If I were Her Excellency the State President Joyce Banda, I would be very careful with such type of people. These are the same people who dumped UDF and now they are jumping ship again.”
Muluzi said the late Mutharika may have made some mistakes, but he deserves respect, especially as his remains would be coming home for burial.
However, Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC) chairperson Undule Mwakasungula said although the country needs new thinking, it would not be wrong to use some performers in DPP.
Said Mwakasungula: “The President has said she wants to build the nation and not through exclusion, but national inclusion. If there are some who proved [to be] performers in the DPP government, why not use them for the sake of moving forward?â€
Era of opportunism over
Renown human rights activist Billy Mayaya said the era for political opportunism is over and that the expectation of Malawians is to see high level of transparency and accountability in the new system.
Since the official announcement of the death of former president Mutharika and Bandaâ€™s subsequent ascendancy to the presidency, there have been numerous pronouncements from Cabinet ministers and MPs from the DPP to support Bandaâ€™s PP government.
“While we agree with the new Presidentâ€™s call for national unity, national unity can only be achieved in the context of justice and the rule of law,” said Mayaya. â€œNational unity does not suspend the inevitability of justice, transparency and accountability. Anything less will be perceived as a betrayal of the public trust.”
He said Malawians have suffered a lot from bad decisions and arrogance of the DPP government which has resulted in lack of essential commodities such as drugs in public hospitals, fuel, sugar and shrinking of business opportunities due to shortage of forex.
Chancellor College political science associate professor Blessings Chinsinga said the President has an opportunity to try new people since Malawi is blessed with a lot of skilled personnel.