President Peter Mutharika makes his first tour of the North today amid contentious calls for the region to become a standalone State or country.
According to presidential adviser on unity and parliamentary affairs Symon Vuwa Kaunda, Mutharika will spell out his development agenda for the North when he confers degrees on Mzuzu graduates today and hold a mass rally at Mzuzu Upper Stadium tomorrow.
Yesterday, Young Pastors Coalition of Malawi (YPCM) weighed in on the simmering debate rekindled by People’s Party (PP) vice-president Harry Mkandawire’s statement in Parliament that the country should adopt a federal system since Mutharika’s first Cabinet is hugely dominated by ministers from the South where the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) enjoyed massive votes in the May 20 polls.
Last week, PP provincial governor, the Reverend Mzomera Ngwira raised the debate when he said the North, actually, needs to secede because apart from leaving the country fractured on regional lines, the first-past-the-post electoral system hardly favours the region to produce a president.
YPCM executive director, the Reverend Patrick Banda of World Alive Ministry, could not articulate the group’s stand on demands for equitable distribution of public positions, but said the development just shows the debate has the potential to worsen disunity in the country.
“Those calling for federalism and division of the country will only bring more harm than good to innocent Malawians,” said Banda at a press briefing initially scheduled to be addressed by Kaunda.
Kaunda denied any involvement, but “totally agreed that the country needs peace, unity and tolerance” as an enabling environment for development.
“Recently, I have been meeting traditional and religious leaders on nation-building. The opposite of peace is violence, chaos, anarchy and riots. We don’t want that in Malawi,” he said.
Like the pastors, he asked Malawians to be wary of “failed ideas” from frustrated politicians knowing the calls are coming just months after polls.
In an interview, Ngwira, who once occupied executive positions in DPP and PP governments, termed the pastors opportunists.
He credited Mutharika’s predecessor Joyce Banda for choosing Khumbo Kachali as vice-president, saying the reigning DPP rebuffed “a fully qualified and capable Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe” for the No. 2 job (vice-presidency of the country) because he comes from the North.