Malawi President Peter Mutharika has said there is no good relations with his predecessor Joyce Banda but have said he is prepared to bury the hatches.
Mutharika made the comments when he was asked during an interview published by News African magazine if he was in “talking terms” with his predecessor Banda.
In responded, President Mutharika described the question posed by New African editor at large, Baffour Ankomah as “ interesting” and explained what he said was history to the relations.
“After my brother [Bingu wa Mutharika] died in 2012 and Mrs Banda became president, there was a campaign against my family, they seized my properties, vehicles, and I myself was arrested and faced trumped-up charges of treason. So there were no good relations, in fact there were no relations at all between her and myself before the 2014 elections,” said Mutharika.
Mutharika maintained that Banda snubbed his inauguration after last year’s elections, saying failure to hand over power to him was “very unusual. “
“The Sword of State, which is the symbol of power and authority in this country, had to be handed over to me. But she [Banda] refused to come and hand it to me.
“Then, again, Malawi was the chairperson of SADC at the time of the 2014 elections. There is a badge that is the symbol of SADC authority that she had to hand over to me, so that I could in turn hand it over to President Mugabe of Zimbabwe who succeeded me. But Mrs Banda refused to give me that badge.
“She again refused to attend our 50th independence celebrations last July. In fact a day before the celebrations, she left for South Africa. So there has been that situation, but as I said in my inauguration speech, I hold an olive branch in my hand and I am prepared to work with all the parties in the country and their leaders,” said Mutharika.
Mutharika said if Banda decides to call him, “I will respond and we can work together.”
The President claimed that Banda, who is currently out of Malawi, is going around the world talking about “imaginary persecution.”
Mutharika who said he want to practise “progressive politics” said fears of Banda for persecutions are not founded.
“Mrs Banda has not been arrested. She has not been charged with anything. So I don’t know what oppression she is talking about,” said Mutharika.
But Banda recently trashed Mutharika’s offer of an “olive branch”, saying late Yasser Arafat, who was Palestinian President once said: ‘I come bearing an olive branch in one hand, and the freedom fighter’s gun in the other. Do not let the olive branch fall from my hand.’
Banda said this was a serious quote with hostile connotations.
“I take serious exception to the President’s ‘extension of the olive branch’ because he has never attempted to reach out to me if he were indeed to talk about reconciliation.
“Within the six hours of his being declared winner, my official cars were withdrawn. I woke up at six o’clock in the morning without any car. In his inauguration speech, President Mutharika started by castigating me. I have ignored all this and I have told myself and all Malawians that a country can only have one leader at a time and that as a country, we must move together into the future.
“Since I left office in May 2014, I have not uttered any single word to denigrate Professor Peter Mutharika; On the contrary, I have endured untold political persecution and abuse in the past year,” she said.
Banda said DPP government, through its spokesperson, Kondwani Nankhumwa told a news conference in Lilongwe on December 4, 2014 that they had handed over CCTV footage to the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) that captured meetings between chief cash-gate convict Oswald Lutepo and her.
“This was an apparent attempt by the DPP government to implicate me in the cash-gate scandal. However, State House security officers have confirmed that CCTV cameras at all state residences have not been functional since the time of the former President late Bingu wa Mutharika. The ACB has been calling for the alleged CCTV footage without any success,” she pointed out.
“In February 2015, government announced through spokesperson Nankhumwa that international organizations should not recognize and honour me for my various life achievements before consulting the Malawi Government. Government went further to demand that I must always take leave of President Mutharika every time I make any trip abroad.
“I find such demands not in conformity with the law. I am a private citizen who can travel to anywhere in the world anytime without any restrictions,” stated Banda.
Banda added that President Mutharika has also made “serious allegations” to the effect that she had planned to kill him when he was arrested on alleged coup plot charges in March 2013.
President Mutharika claimed “fake doctors” had been hired to poison him while in police custody and that he has sworn affidavits of the alleged ‘fake’ doctors. Mutharika further said he would use this information when the right time comes.
“On May 9, 2015, at the memorial of late President Bingu wa Mutharika at Ndata Farm in Thyolo, government through spokesperson Nankhumwa, claimed they had evidence that I had killed President Bingu wa Mutharika and that I must therefore be taken to court. These claims are extremely serious and expose me to serious danger. This issue was extensively reported both in local and international media,” Banda said.
The former president said recently the DPP government weakened her security by withdrawing some security apparatus.
“The withdrawal of security apparatus, accusations of attempted murder and killing of a sitting President and the CCTV footage allegations are a source of great concern not only to me and my entire family but to many people both in Malawi and abroad.
“Malawians are aware that there is a total breakdown of security in the country where both police officers and innocent civilians are being killed in broad daylight. This scenario does not help matters in as far as my own security is concerned,” she said.
Furthermore, she said events of October and November 2010 justify her concern.
“ During that time, when I was State Vice President, my security was also drastically reduced and weakened. On November 19, 2010, one month later, I was involved in a mysterious road accident at Kanengo in Lilongwe. This accident was widely reported by newspapers in Malawi. As a family as well as many people feel the current scenario may be history repeating itself.”
She also accused the DPP government for not providing her with any of her retirement benefits, including a decent and secure home, transport and salary since she left office in May 2014.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :