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Malawi opposition lawmakers halt President Mutharika’s nation address… call him “illegitimate leader”

Mutharika to present his State Of the National Address (SONA)

LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-Opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) legislators on Friday morning  managed to halt business in parliament for 45 minutes, holding and delaying President Peter Mutharika’s state of the nation address.

It all started before the Head of State entered into the 193-strong House, when he was inspecting a guard of honour mounted by Malawi Defence Force (MDF) outside the chamber when Ken Zikhale Ng’oma, an MCP legislator stood on a point of order.

However, Speaker of the National Assembly Catherane Gotani Hara denied him the chance to say what he wanted to through the point of order.

What followed was anarchy as the 55 MCP legislators and others who have joined the party after the elections, chanted and made noise, making it impossible for Mutharika to present his State Of the National Address (SONA).

The anarchy was heightened when Madam Speaker sent out of the Chamber Dedza south MP Ismael Onani, forcing all the MCP MPs pretending that they were going out too but stood on the entrance of the chamber for some minutes, chanting, calling Mutharika “Wakuba” [a thief]  before returning to their seats.

Then the opposition back-benchers allowed Mutharika to present the Sona.

When Mutharika started his address, the opposition legislators continued with the noise to disrupt his speech and then they walked out en masse.

MCP president Lazarus Chakwera who will be leader of opposition did not turn up.

President Mutharika continued to address the National Assembly in a calm tone.

‘Democracy at its best’

In his address, President Mutharika started by saying all legislators come to the august house every five years to make decisions that define the destiny of the nation.

“It is a precious mission of every generation to decide the fortunes of its next generation,” said Mutharika.

He said: “ Nobody here disputes the results that brought you here. Nobody disputes the election that brought you here. We are here because we have accepted the will of the people.”

Mutharika said it not by mistake that the legislators were in the House.

“ We all have accepted to be sworn in as Members of Parliament because we have accepted that we were legitimately, fairly and credibly elected.

“The five years that we begin today shall be the time given to us to change this nation forever. Together, we hold the power in our choices and decisions to build this nation. This is our sacred duty as Members of Parliament,” said Mutharika.

He continued: “We have a past that brought us here. We must accept that past.

It is wisdom that we must accept the past, in order to decide the present, and shape the future. As I speak, the state of our nation demands that we must decide the present in order to determine the future of this country.”

Mutharika pointed out that  on Friday Malawi has seen democracy at its best.

MCP secretary general Eisenhower Mkaka told the media after walking out that they cannot listen to Mutharika because he is an “illegitimate” leader.

“We are here to pass the provisional budget and not to listen to Mutharika. We do not recognize him,” said Mkaka.

This afternoon the constitutional court is expected to make a ruling on Mutharika’s application to dismiss the election case in which MCP and UTM are challenging Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC)’s May 21 polls on presidential results.

The opposition parties are demanding for a re-run over numerous irregularities that marred the elections.

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