Group asks Malawi leader to resign
Blantyre - A leading Malawi rights group called on Thursday on President Bingu wa Mutharika to resign or face "civil disobedience" for mismanaging the economy and trampling on democratic freedoms.
"We call for the resignation of the president or for a referendum within 90 days to seek fresh mandate from the people of Malawi," the religious rights group Public Affairs Committee (PAC) said in a statement.
The group, which defied a ban to hold a two-day meeting of bishops from the Catholic and Anglican churches and opposition figures, said it wanted Mutharika to step down within 60 days.
"In the event that these demands are not met, we will call on Malawians from all walks of life to go for civil disobedience," it added.
Riot police had been deployed to prevent any protests to Mutharika's rule, with the group sidestepping the government ban by holding the meeting in a Catholic church outside the commercial capital Blantyre.
The PAC called on political parties and other civic groups to push for a national referendum if Mutharika refuses to step down.
"Malawi has drastically deteriorated politically, economically and democratically ... a country on the run from 2004-09 is now bordering on a failed state," the statement added.