President Peter Mutharika says the African Union (AU) encourages all its member States to respect their constitutions as part of entrenching democracy on the continent.
He was answering a question on his opinion on leaders trying to extend their term limits from an audience member during a briefing after his address to the University of London’s School of African and Oriental Studies (SOAS).
Said Mutharika: “I don’t know why someone would want to stick around after completing their terms. But as AU, we encourage leaders to respect their constitutions. I strongly believe after two terms, one should pave the way for others and let them contribute also.”
The President’s second term re-election is being challenged in the Constitutional Court by opposition Malawi Congress Party and UTM Party.
Mutharika said he invited opposition leaders to a roundtable to find a political settlement to the ongoing violent demonstrations they had been endorsing, adding it was imperative to let the courts adjudicate on the matter.
“I was declared a winner and they were not happy about it. But we can only leave it to the courts. On our part, as politicians, let us work together to preserve peace. Malawi is a peaceful nation we have had no tribal or ethnic divisions,” he said.
The President, who was in his best form tackling all questions, said his aim is to leave office with a happy Malawi that had lives of its people improved through education, skills transfer and rural development.
“The majority of our people live in rural areas. I want almost 50 percent of all children leaving primary school to go to secondary by 2023. I want every constituency to have a rural skills college. I want strong rural economy that is diversified. That is why 700 000 farmers will move from subsistence to commercial farming through a project I have recently launched,” he said. Answering a question on poor infrastructure development that a prominent Malawian Dr. Mpalive Msiska said he had noted across Malawi during his visit, Mutharika said the focus on rural development would require good roads and infrastructure to support it.