President Peter Mutharika on Tuesday resumed his re-election bid with campaign in Salima after cancelling whistle-stop meetings on Sunday following intense rumours that he was unwell and assured his supporters – while looking jovial – that he was fit and well to continue governing Malawi.
Mutharika on Sunday cancelled a whistle-stop tour of Salima and Dedza districts as part of the campaign for the May 21 Tripartite Elections.
Chief Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) Lloyd Muhara said Mutharika, who is governing Democratic Progressive Party candidate in the elections, had postponed the campaign tour due to “other urgent matters”.
The cancellation of the campaign whistle-stops triggered rumours of his well-being with opposition ridiculing him that his health is declining.
But on Tuesday, Mutharika, 79, told a DPP campaign rally at Salima Boma that he has a clean bill of health.
“Kodi mukuwona mtembo pano? Ine ndafa? Afa ndi iwo, afa pa May 21, pa May 21 ndiamene atapite kumanda (Are you seeing a ghost in me? Am I dead. My politicial rivals will be consigned to the political grave on May 21 after losing the elections),” said Mutharika tongue-in-cheek, referring to speculation by opposisiton that he had succumbed to illness.
Mutharika said the DPP has fulfilled projects promised in its 2014 manifesto and will come with more development projects if re-elected.
The DPP has three main rivals in this election—Malawi Congress Party (MCP), which is in alliance with former president Joyce Banda’s People’s Party (PP) and Freedom Party (PP), Vice-President Saulos Chilima’s UTM and the United Democratic Front which has Minister of Health Atupele Muluzi as its torchbearer.
Analysts have predicted that the next week Tuesday May 21 elections will be highly contested.
In 2014, DPP made a 36.4 percent surprise presidential votes win from the opposition, beating incumbent president Joyce Banda whose People’s Party (PP) came third. MCP came second, with a difference of about 400 000 votes.
According to the Malawi Electoral Commission, 6.8 million people nationwide registered to vote in this year’s elections.