Ladies and gentlemen, I had not been thinking well lately. The group of politicians, civil society proper and politicians pretending to be civil society were getting the better of me. Some of these people have been saying that the President must resign. Some have even given some deadlines within which the President must resign or else. Then, there is a group that is proposing what is being described as a government of national unity. I am sure there are those who will be accused soon of orchestrating a coup or something like that.
I have to confess, I was getting interested to learn more about what it would mean if the President were to resign. What happens next? Well, imagine then the President speaking on MBCtv saying that he has decided to resign and he has submitted his resignation letter to someone. I don’t even know who will receive such a letter and accept the resignation.
But for now, let us assume that the letter is acceptable and the President packs his bag and goes back to Nyambadwe. The people in Beam trust now wonder whether it is worth continuing with the former first lady’s charity or not. According to the Constitution, the Right Honourable Saulos Klaus Chilima is sworn in as President of the Republic.
Now, I know that I live in the Malawi of 2016. If this was the Kenya of 1977, under Jomo Kenyatta and Attorney-General Charles Njonjo, I would have been arrested by now. Kenya’s Attorney-General of that time had crafted a bill, which by the way passed in the National Assembly, that it was treasonous to think that the president would die or that he would be replaced somehow. In 1983 Njonjo himself was forced to resign from Cabinet and left public life. What was his crime? A judicial inquiry concluded he had abused his office, amid allegations that he was trying to take over the presidency from Moi. Living by the sword indeed. Here in Malawi, we do not have such dictatorial hangovers. We do not condone childish behaviours by suggesting that the elections were rigged and “according to the powers I have, there will be another election in 90 days in which I am not a candidate.” In Malawi, we know the President leaves office or dies, the Vice-President ascends. A President loses an election, she leaves the office and the winner is inaugurated. We know that presidents must serve their full five-year term, and we want them, we will renew their mandate or else we JB them.
Have you really thought about a government of national unity? Who will decide who should be in that government? What does it mean? Sharing ministerial positions? Among who? A government of national unity will take us back to the period before 1994. All the people who mattered in politics had positions in the party. There is no opposition in a government of national unity, unless, of course, you again take the Kenya example of the government of Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga. n