The Centre for Multiparty Democracy (CMD) has challenged political leaders to seize the post-June 23 fresh presidential election moment to unite and embrace a development agenda to improve the plight of Malawians.
In an interview yesterday, CMD executive director Kizito Tenthani said this is the message his organisation stressed to President Lazarus Chakwera’s nine alliance partners and representatives of opposition parties during a meeting it brokered at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe on Tuesday.
He said as a forum for dialogue for political parties in the country, CMD requested to engage the President to appraise him on its work and the expectations people have from the new administration.
Describing the meeting as historic and one that saw participants speaking freely and candidly, Tenthani said: “Now that as a country we have sorted out the political question and we have a political leadership that has the legitimacy, the focus should be to bring the country together.”
He said issues discussed included ensuring full implementation of the Political Parties Act as currently most instruments, including the establishment of the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties as provided under the new law, are not in place.
Tenthani said that while welcoming and supporting the President’s commitment to personally engage the Leader of Opposition in Parliament quarterly, the CMD asked Chakwera to scale up that effort by forming a more inclusive Party Leaders’ Forum to bring together all presidents of political parties represented in Parliament in nation-building planning and synergy.
He noted that the President warmed up to the issues presented to him, adding that he commended the CMD for enhancing national unity among parties and he pledged to consult adequately in removing any hindrances to quality service delivery to ordinary citizens.
Reacting to the meeting, University of Malawi Chancellor College-based political scientist Mustafa Hussein said it set the tone for needed collaboration among parties in information sharing and the politicians’ commitment to their national development agenda.
All the CMD members in Parliament—Malawi Congress Party, UTM Party, Democratic Progressive Party, United Democratic Front, People’s Party (PP) and the Alliance for Democracy—attended the meeting.