President Peter Mutharika has said his late brother, former president Bingu wa Mutharika, confided in him that he had regretted picking former president Joyce Banda as his running mate in 2009 elections.
Banda made history becoming Malawi’s first female president and only the second woman to lead a country in Africa in 2012 when she ascended to power following the death of Bingu who died in office after heading up the southern Africa country since 2004.
Bingu wa Mutharika’s decision to appoint her as his running mate for the 2009 elections surprised many in Malawi’s mainly conservative, male-dominated society – which had never before had a female vice-president.
But speaking on Saturday on arrival in Mzuzu, a visibly charged Mutharika said Bingu regretted the choice of Banda.
“I want to tell you two things that Bingu told me he regretted. One was to select Joyce Banda as runningmate and two marrying that woman (Callista Mutharika).
“And that’s the truth, God is my witness, Bingu told me that,” said Mutharika.
Banda and the incumbent President have had a bad relationship as the former president publicly protested against Bingu – by refusing to endorse his plans for his brother, the current President , to succeed him as president in 2014 when he was due to retire.
She was promptly thrown out of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and subjected to daily doses of derision at public rallies and on Malawi’s state airwaves.
Banda also resisted calls for her to resign as the country’s vice-president – she was elected not appointed so she could not be fired and instead set up her own People’s Party (PP).
President Peter Mutharika was elected in 2014 after Joyce Banda was embroiled in the “Cashgate” scandal when government officials siphoned off millions of dollars of public money.
Mutharika is also on record claiming that Banda and her PP government wanted to kill him during the time when he was in the opposition.
The President recounted the challenges he went through to become Malawi’s leader, saying Banda put his life under threat and that Bingu “ mysteriously died” after Nigerian Prophet TB Joshua, a spiritual father of Banda, predicted correctly his death while serving as the State President of Malawi.
“In the two years we were in opposition, I was earmarked either for the graveyard or prison. Every criminal accusations was made and every attempt on life was tried,” Mutharika is on record as saying.
During the Banda administartion, Mutharika faced treason charges for allegedly trying to prevent Banda from ascending into power.
Mutharika said that it was only by the grace of God that he managed to survive five assassination plots in the run up to Malawi’s national elections in 2014.
“When I was campaigning to lead this country, I was hunted like a criminal. I survived five assassination attempts. I am happy that most of you gave me refuge, solace and courage. You have been the fortitude of the persecuted as Christ wishes,” he was quoted as saying at the time.
Banda is interested to run in the elections against Mutharika during next year’s Tripartite polls.