In Malawi, President Bingu Wa Mutharika's administration has
sharply denied he is engaged in an intimidation ploy against former President
Bakili Muluzi ahead of the general election. This comes after the former leader
accused the government of launching a fierce media attack on his bid to return to power after already serving two consecutive
years as Malawi's president from 1994 to 2004.The government said the
accusation is a
publicity stunt engineered by the former leader to garner sympathy votes in the
election. Malawians will go to the polls on May 19 to choose a president for
the next five years between incumbent President Muthairka's ruling Democratic
People's Party (DPP) and former President Muluzi's United Democratic Front
(UDP). Speaking with reporter Peter Clottey, former President Muluzi called for
a free election, saying he would not be intimidated in the election.
I can say is that my party, the United Democratic Front elected me as their
presidential candidate last year on April 24 which meant that naturally I was
going to represent this party. But since then they (government) have been
saying oh Bakili Muluzi cannot stand or because the constitution does not allow
him to do so. Look, it is not correct. The constitution of the Republic of
Malawi is very clear. It does allow a president who was there two consecutive
terms and waits another five years can come back. It's open and it is there. So
this has been going on for the last one year or so," Muluzi said.
said partisans of the opposition United Democratic Front are not happy about
incumbent President Muluzi leaving the party to form his own Democratic
People's Party (DPP).
my supporters are very adamant that because Dr. Mutharika who was in UDF in my
party betrayed us by actually ditching the party that elected him into power
went and form a political party, which never even contested an election and
calls is a ruling party, my supporters don't accept that," he said.
said he would continue to fight for his and the party's rights, adding that he
would not be intimidated by the incumbent and what he called the government
the constitution is very clear, why should somebody outside the constitution
say I can't stand? What is there is that there is some very strange fear by the
current president (Mutharika) and by his supporters for me not to stand. There
have been so many arrests of senior members of my party and that is not the
democracy we voted for in 1994. But we are not going to be intimidated, let me
repeat that again," Muluzi pointed out.
denied speculations that his personal disagreements with incumbent President
Mutharika are the main reason why he wants to win back power.
is not true. If Dr. Mutharika was still in the UDF the question I always asked
is would I have been a candidate? The answer is no. So, it is not a personal
kind of vendetta against Dr. Mutharika.
It is because I wanted to make sure my party wins the next election. We
won in 1994, we won in 1999, and my party won in 2004 with him (Mutharika) as a
presidential candidate. So, it has nothing to do with personal matters at all.
It is because we feel betrayed not only me but also all the supporters of this
party," he said.
said the incumbent president does not understand the principles and
fundamentals of democracy.
is not democracy where a political party goes into an election through a
political party and the president ditches that party that got him elected in
the first place in order to form his own party and call it the ruling party. It
is not acceptable, it is not," Muluzi noted.
denied he is the only person who can win this year's election for his
haven't said that. All what I'm saying is that in my party, we believe in the
democratic values in this country. In my party, we went through an election and
even the current vice president came to contest in that election for the
presidency in the party. Naturally I won almost 95 percent. What does that tell
you?" he asked.
The former president said he had recently discussed the
situation with an African Union delegation made up of Mozambique's former
President Joachim Chissano and Ghana's former President John Kufuor.
Muluzi, who wrested power
from dictator Kamuzu Banda in 1994, reluctantly handed power to Mutharika after
failing to amend the constitution to allow him stand for a third consecutive
Muluzi is however
constitutionally barred to run for a presidential office after ruling the
country for two consecutive terms in office. The Electoral Commission is
expected to rule on his eligibility in the coming days ahead of the election.
Some political analysts say
the former president's disqualification could potentially plunge the country
into chaos fearing that his supporters might violently protest the verdict.