JB visits Atupele Muluzi in ‘solidarity’

Malawi   Vice President Joyce Banda on Wednesday visited incarcerated Atupele Muluzi, son of former Head of State Bakili Muluzi at Maula Maximum Security Prison in Lilongwe.

 Banda, who is also President of the People’s Party (PP) was forced to get out of the car and walked for close to a kilometre into the prison as the police stopped everyone from driving through into the Maula Maximum Security Prison premises.

 According to Stephen Mwenye, PP publicist who was among the senior PP members that accompanied Banda, the three-vehicle convoy VP was blocked by Lilongwe Police Officer-in-charge, who argued that it was a “strict order” by the Police Headquarters not to let any vehicle pass that point.

Banda cheering Atupele

“He pretended to be attempting to get clearance from the Police Headquarters through the phone; it was surprising he was contacting Headquarters when the Central Region Commissioner of Police and the Police Headquarters Officer-in-charge (Operations) were loitering around,” Mwenye told Nyasa Times in an interview.

He added that when Banda was walking back, renowned musician and former Balaka legislator Lucius Banda drove his Mitsubishi Pajero DID to collect the Vice President  half a kilometre from where her official vehicle was parked.

Inside the prison, Banda found Atupele in high spirits, encouraging him to remain strong against growing tyranny in Malawi, observing that the future of Malawi lay in the hands of young people like him.

 She praised the young United Democratic Front (UDF) 2014 presidential aspirant for his “clean politics” as he castigates no-one, saying his arrest was politically-motivated.

“I personally don’t want to see the fight for multiparty democracy in 1993, which was championed by (PAC) and some political parties to be a waste,” said the VP, adding that the opposition in Malawi will not accept dictatorship to creep back into the country as the people of Malawi deserve better and caring leadership and government.  

 Meanwhile, Atupele’s UDF, the party that sponsored President Bingu wa Mutharika in 2004, has threatened massive protests if Atupele is not released today, according to its Secretary General, Kennedy Makwangwala.

 Police arrested Atupele, a presidential aspirant on Tuesday on charges of inciting violence. They accuse him of allegedly going ahead to hold political rallies on Sunday after city authorities had refused him authority.

 Armed police teargased Atupele supporters and stopped his rally at Area 24 in the capital City before angry supporters set fire to a police station, a police car and a police officer’s house.

Atupele’s arrest follows the detention last weekend of the outspoken chairman of the government’s Human Rights Commission John Kapito on sedition charges.

Long walk: Vice President walking to Maula Prison to see Atupele

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