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Friday, 10 October 2014 13:52

Mutharika, opposition parties' leaders discuss cashgate, electoral system

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Blantyre, October 10: President Professor Peter Mutharika on Thursday met leaders of political parties who contested in the presidential race in the May 20 polls at Sanjika Palace in Blantyre where among others, he discussed with them the electoral system, the cash gate scam and economic development of the country. 

Eight leaders showed up namely Atupele Muluzi of UDF, George Mnesa of Mafunde, Mark Katsonga Phiri of PPM, Davis Chester Katsonga of the dissolved CCP, Professor John Chisi of Umodzi Party, Kamuzu Chibambo of PETRA, Abusa Hellen Singh of UIP and Friday Jumbe who had represented New Labour Party-NLP.

MCP's Dr Lazarus Chakwera, Dr Joyce Banda of PP and James Mbobe Nyondo of NASAF did not show up, but Professor Mutharika said he would still invite them during future discussions.

"I want this reservoir of talent to assist me in developing the country. We have discussed matters of cash gate, economic development and the electoral system and they have made some proposals which I will accommodate," the President said.

Professor Mutharika added:  "I have told them to call or email me when they have suggestions on how best we can develop the country. The country has so many problems and we are in this together; I tell you no one can develop this country alone, it needs all of us."

Speaking on behalf of the other leaders, Peoples Transformation Party-PETRA president, Kamuzu Chibambo described the discussion as an open and constructive discourse.

"We talked about issues like the cash gate. We told the president that it was important for people to know what happened and who did what. Some are taking court cases as persecution, but we said no, the law must take its course,” Chibambo said.

According to Chibambo, the meeting also looked at how the country would progress without the support from donors who withdrew their direct budgetary support due to the looting of public resources at Capital Hill.

"Another issue we talked about was that of electoral reforms. You remember that during the 2007 constitutional review it was suggested that we move from the current system in determining presidential winner in which one with a simple majority carries the day to that of the 50plus one. So we looked at the pros and cons of the system," explained Chibambo.

Chibambo also hailed Professor Mutharika for what he termed providing a conducive room for an open discussion and 'showing traits of a listening president'.

During his inauguration as president on 2nd June 2014, Professor Mutharika extended a reconciliatory hand to all presidential contestants.

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