By Pilirani Kachinziri &Richard Chirombo:
The post-elections period has been marked by protests, demonstrations and the boycott of the President’s State of the Nation Address (Sona) in Parliament Friday.
Political scientist Augustine Magolowondo Friday said Mutharika should find means of unifying the country, especially after disagreements with opposition political parties threaten to poison the democratic atmosphere.
His sentiments have come after opposition legislators heckled Mutharika Friday, disrupting his Sona for over half an hour.
“It is clear that we are a divided nation. Both the government and the opposition need to map the way forward. It is more than just saying we are one nation,” he said.
Magolowondo further observed that Speaker of Parliament Catherine Gotani- Hara had difficulties to moderate proceedings in the august House.
“It will take a lot… the situation requires more visible action. It is important that the language he (the President) uses should heal the wounds,” he said.
Magolowondo’s sentiments were echoed by Mtendere Elections Support Network spokesperson, Edward Chaka, who said national development goals could only be achieved if stakeholders were satisfied with electoral processes.
“More importantly, electoral stakeholders should look beyond voter education, election monitoring, vote counting and results announcement. Elections are a process, which means fairness should characterise the pre, election and post-election period.
“Before the elections, presidential, parliamentary and Local Government election candidates should be taught dispute resolution mechanisms for them to ably iron out differences like those that have marred the post-election period. All in all, it is the President who holds the key to peace and unity,” Chaka said.
Chaka, who is also executive director for People’s Federation for National Peace and Development and one of the African Diaspora Forum top officials in the country, said disagreements had potential to disrupt national development.
However, Centre for Religion and Public Affairs Chairperson, Pastor Alex Business, warned against overzealousness on the part of ruling and opposition parties, citing the disruption of the President’s Sona.
“We expect stakeholders such as members of Parliament to demonstrate maturity not only in politics but also in age. That is why, as one way of ensuring that there is unity in the country, Crapa will be summoning all member of Parliament that will be seen not to be helping people,” he said.
Discontentment with election results has seen Malawi Congress Party and UTM move the Constitutional Court to nullify the outcome of the May 21 2019 presidential election.