Mutharika dismisses Obama link, dual citizenship: ‘I’m Malawian proper’

Peter Mutharika, leader of Malawi’s opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), has said he never went to United States of America to meet   President Barack Obama as his party officials claimed.

The Obama meeting was raised by the party’s acting Secretary-general Dr. Allan Chiyembekeza and Mutharika’s aide Kondwani Nankhumwa.

DPP publicity secretary Nicholas Dausi dismissed that there was no such a meeting, but claimed on Zodiak Broadcasting Service (ZBS) that Obama was a student of law for Mutharika in the US.

However, commenting on the issue on Sunday’s Tiuzeni Zoona interview programme on ZBS, Mutharika said he had not indicated to anyone that he had a scheduled meeting with Obama.

Mutharika: I am a bonafide Malawian citizen
Mutharika: I am a bonafide Malawian citizen

Mutharika said he had met some high profile people in US and UK but declined to disclose their identities, saying they were “private meetings.”

He also denied assertions by Dausi that he once taught President Obama.

“Obama went to Havard law school while I taught at Washington University of Law,” clarified Mutharika. He however said they used to meet during conferences of lawyers in US.

Mutharika’s supposed meeting with Obama generated heated debate especially on social media. Some alleged that Mutharika had gone to the US to renew his citizenship.

He dismissed having any allegiance to another country apart from Malawi.

“I am a Malawian citizen. I have a Malawian passport,” he said.

Mutharika clarified: “I have a Green Card which enables me a multiple entry in United States. I also have multiple entry to United Kingdom. I don’t know who is behind these rumours.”

Public Affairs Officer at the United States Embassy in Malawi, Benjamin Donovan is on record saying his government does not encourage dual citizenship “because of the problems it may cause”.

“Due to privacy concerns, we cannot provide additional information,” said Donovan.

Mutharika detractors had lined up citizenship as one of the tools to dent his eligibility to contest the 2014 presidential elections. Surprisingly, the citizenship questions were not raised when he contested successfully the 2009 parliamentary elections.

Among the requirements, one needs to be a Malawi citizen to contest in the legislative polls.

But the DPP has not disputed the tag given by opponents that Peter Mutharika is a “Mtchona” – having stayed in the diaspora for many years.

Mutharika is tipped to lead DPP in the 2014 elections with the party to hold its convention in April in Lilongwe to elect eligible executive committee.

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