Mutharika trashes US Green card issue as ‘ nonsense’, mum on illness

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) president Peter Auther Mutharika has described the notion that he will not stand for presidency because he is a holder of the United States Green Card as “nonsense” and  “baseless”.

Speaking at Mgona township in Lilongwe on Saturday upon arrival from the USA, Mutharika said come rain or sunshine, he is going to stand as DPP presidential candidate on May 20.

“All what is being said is total nonsense, all those who are saying that are just afraid of me. But rest be assured that come May 20, I am standing . And by May 21 I will be the president of this nation,” he told a large crowd which came to welcome him.

Mutharika, as an assurance to the supporters, said the country has an independent Electoral Commission which works without any external influence.

Peter Mutharika addressing a sea of supporters on arrival
Peter Mutharika addressing a sea of supporters on arrival

But Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) spokesperson Sangwani Mwafulirwa hinted that the Malawi Constitution bars the nomination of anyone who has allegiance to another country apart from Malawi from participating in the elections. Mwafulirwa cited Section 80 (7) (d) of the Constitution.

“No person shall be eligible for nomination as a candidate for election of President or First Vice President or for appointment as First Vice President or Second Vice President if that person owes allegiance to a foreign country,” reads the Section.

The US Embassy in Lilongwe has insisted that a Green Card holder is a not a citizen of the USA although he is allowed to reside in the country indefinitely.

Mutharika nonetheless said Malawi “has a very good and independent judicially so be assured that this issue will be sorted out.”

He also tackled the issue that he left the country at a time when the party needed him most.

“Some are saying that I had run away, that is also another lie. Why should I run away? I said during the burial of my late brother Bingu wa Mutharika that I will never leave the party and today, I say the same thing,” he said.

He said the Joyce Banda’s ruling PP and other opposition parties  are afraid of DPP because it is the only  party with clear programs.

“These other parties have nothing, some only have Cash Gate as their program,” he said in apparent slur to the ruling PP over corruption scandal.

But Mutharika did not comment on reports that he has been to three hospitals in South Africa and the US seeking medical attention.

According to court documents cited in Malawi News on Saturday, the 74-year-old Mutharika has on three times sought permission from the High Court where he is answering treason and perjury charges to allow him to travel abroad for medical reasons.

In his letters of request for permission to travel abroad, Mutharika says the medical “check-ups” are routine.“…On Tuesday 5th November 2013, I applied to this Honourable Court for variation of my bail conditions referred in Paragraph 6 above to enable me access my passport and travel to South Africa for medical checkup which was duly granted,” reads part of the affidavit.

It further adds: “I normally attend annual routine medical checkups in the United States. However, in the view of the fact that I am undergoing criminal accusations, I arranged therefore (the medical checkup) to be done in the Republic of South Africa.”

The  affidavit were lodged at the Lilongwe High Court by his lawyer Kalekeni Kaphale and is dated December 12, 2013.

Accoriding to the record,  Mutharika has for three times between October, 2013 and January, 2014, requested – and was granted – permission to travel abroad.

The High Court documents, however, make no mention of any specific illness, save for indicating that he earlier travelled to South Africa and saw Dr. Rajen Pillay of Sunninghill Hospital and later visited Waterfall City Hospital, also in South Africa in the month of November, 2013 alone.

On 23rd December Mutharika also filed an application to which Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Bruno Kalemba gave consent in the matter which  was held in the chambers of Justice Esmie Chombo.

Among those who welcomed Mutharika was Vuwa Kaunda, Yunus Mussah, Patricia Kaliati, Dan Liwimbi and Hetherwick Ntaba.

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