Muluzi asks doctors to return to Malawi

Former Malawi president Bakili Muluzi has asked his doctors to allow him return home from South Africa where he travelled to receive medical treatment following the arrest of his son, lawmaker and presidential hopeful Atupele Muluzi.

Atupele was arrested by Police in Lilongwe on Tuesday as he was travelling to Blantyre. He has been detained at Lumbadzi Police station. His arrest follows Sunday’s incident when security forces stopped his political gathering with tear gas and angry supporters torched a Police station.

When Nyasa Timescontacted Muluzi in Cape Town  to seek his comment on the arrest of Atupele, the former president  condemned the arrest and said it is part of the crackdown campaign by the Bingu wa Mutharika regime against the opposition and growing band of critics.

Muluzi: I want to return to Malawi

“I condemn the arrest which is nothing but politically motivated meant to scare and intimidate the opposition,” said Muluzi, who ruled Malawi from 1994 to 2004 after defeating dictator Kamuzu Banda in the first democratic elections in1994.

“I am considering asking my doctors to allow me to return home immediately,” Muluzi told Nyasa Times.

“All I am asking the Malawi Police [Force] is not to cause my son any harm,” he said.

Asked what he felt hearing the news about his son’s arrest, Muluzi said he has not been happy with the arbitrary arrests on critics citing the arrests of lawyer Ralph Kasambara, chairman of Malawi  Human Rights Commission, John Kapito, as part of the crackdown.

He appealed to Malawians “to remain steadfast” as the “new wind of change is blowing in the country.”

Muluzi, said his son has been facing regime attacks since he started hawking his ‘agenda for change’, noting the ambush he faced when he had a whistle-stop political meetings in Thyolo and Mulanje districts.

But Muluzi said Atupele is being given “political stamina.”

He quoted  what he wrote in his book, Democracy with a price –Mau Anga, Muluzi said: “Men who travel on a smooth road do not develop strength.”

The former president himself has been facing persecution from President Mutharika regime. He  was arrested on his return from a British holiday in 2008, charged with treason, quizzed by police, and placed under house arrest.

Police raided his residence to search for arms but nothing was found.

Despite the dramatic charges, he and his alleged co-conspirators were never taken to trial and the charges were dropped.

Muluzi had laughed off the coup plot charges, saying he was not a “violent person to take over government by force”.

He is now seeking compensation from government, accusing it of defamation and false arrest and imprisonment.

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