Malawi President Peter Mutharika on Friday said in his State of the Nation Address (Sona) – the first in his second term of office – that he has evidence that the opposition which has rejected the outcome of last month’s election were discussing Islamist militant group al-Shabab to destabilise the country with the intention to overthrow the government by force.
Mutharika said this when he delivered his address to parliament in the capital Lilongwe after opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) legislators caused drama in Parliament. The MPs later walked out of the House saying they can’t listen to an “illegitimate” leader.
MCP president Lazarus Chakwera, who rejected the outcome of the presidential election as “daylight robbery” and launched a court battle to have the result annulled on the grounds of fraud, did not come to the House.
Mutharika described the actions of the MCP legislators in the House as democracy at work.
He branded Chakwera, who was conspicuously absent from the House, as blood thirst and power hungry, saying the government has credible evidence that two opposition leaders want to overthrow the government by violence and force using a Islamist terror group Al Shabab .
In his address, President Mutharika said 25 years ago, Malawians made a decision in a national referendum on June 14 to have a democratic nation from one party dictatorship of MCP.
“And that we shall have a democratic Parliament whose Members shall be democratically elected by the people. We must accept that democracy,” said Mutharika.
Never accept terror
The Malawi leader said since the 21 May Tripartite Elections he has heard political leaders calling for bloodshed in particular reference to Chakwera call blood bath to plunge the country into chaos.
“We vowed that we shall never, never, ever accept politics of terror, brutalization and victimization of the people. The majority of us rejected tyranny of the minority, politics of intimidation, and blood-thirsty politicians,” said Mutharika.
Mutharika chronicled the post-election violence, saying the nation has witnessed head teachers evicted and their schools demolished because they administered polling centres where communities voted for candidates whom some people did not want.
“Is this the democracy we agreed?” wondered Mutharika.
“We have seen two innocent children killed. We have seen innocent women stripped naked and beaten in public. We have seen our judges intimidated and justice threatened. Is this the Malawi we want?”
Mutharika warned that if the nation sit back in silence and watch the spirit growing, “one day evil will rule this nation and take us ransom. It only takes silence of the good people for evil to triumph.”
The President said Malawi has been declared one of the most peaceful countries on earth.
“Malawi is the third most peaceful country in Africa. But we cannot take peace for granted. Peace is delicate. Peace is precious. When peace suffers, innocent people suffer.”
Malawians cannot be taken for granted
Mutharika said he aware that two political leaders discussed the possibility of exploding Kamuzu Stadium on the day of his Swearing-in Ceremony.
“They must know that I know. This far, we have defended peace with peace. But that cannot be taken for granted either. One thing I know. We are peace lovers. But Malawians cannot be taken for granted. I repeat, we cannot take Malawians for granted. Malawians will jealously defend their peace if endangered,” he said.
Mutharika, who is also commander-in-chief of the Malawi Defence Force, issued a stern warning to leader who are inciting violence.
“Those who attack peace should know that we shall pay any price, confront any danger, conquer any challenge to defend our precious peace.
“We shall defend every Malawian, protect every school child, save every life to defend this country. Our mothers and fathers, our brothers and sisters, farmers, fishermen, teachers, nurses, police officers, military officers; those vendors and minibus drivers, carpenters and tailors, men and women, and the Youth of this country expect us to rise above our differences and improve their lives.”
Mutharika said legislators have sworn before the Almighty God to defend the country and change the lives of the people.
“ That is why we are here. But we can only develop this country and improve lives of the people who voted for us when there is peace and order,” said Mutharika.
In the ballot count, Mutharika, of the Democratic Progressive Party, was declared the victor with 38.57% of the vote, beating Chakwera on 35.41%.