Peter Mutharika vows to contest Malawi polls 2014 despite treason charges

Opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) interim leader Peter Mutharika on Saturday spoke for the first after his arrest a fortnight ago, vowing to contest in 2014 tripartite elections despite facing treason charges.

Mutharika, who has been charged with treason alongside other DPP officials and former top civil servants, held whistle-stop rallies in Mulanje district just days after he was gagged during another whistle-stop tour on his way from Lilongwe on Wednesday.

On Saturday, he made some stops at Lauderdale, Chisitu, Nkando and Limbuli where scores of people including DPP supporters converged to cheer their leader.

“I will contest in 2014 if am voted during the DPP convention. We have good plans for you people and I will not let you down. I will lead you,” said Mutharika.

Peter Mutharika: I will run for presidency, no doubt about tthat
Peter Mutharika: I will run for presidency, no doubt about tthat

The 74-year old Mutharika said he will rejuvenate the country’s economy if voted into power, saying ‘things will be affordable again’.

He said: “Now life has become tough for Malawians. The economy is in bad shape. But once we take over, we will rebuild the economy and make sure that people are able to buy things at cheap price”.

Mutharika was accompanied by some DPP top officials including his alleged treason accomplices, Kondwani Nankhumwa, Henry Mussa and Patricia Kaliati. Also present was the party’s vice publicity secretary, Francis Katsaira.

On Wednesday Police blocked Mutharika from addressing the party’s supporters on his return to Blantyre after his release on bail in Lilongwe last a fortnight ago.

DPP is expected to hold its convention in Lilongwe from 17th to 19th of April to elect its executive committee with Mutharika tipped to win as party president and torchbearer in 29014 tripartite elections.

If he is elected, Mutharika will have to battle it out against UDF’s Atupele Muluzi and the incumbent Head of State Joyce Banda – representing PP – to take over the mantle of the country’s leadership.

Police arrested and charged with treason Mutharika, interdicted Chief Secretary to Government Bright Msaka, his former deputy Necton Mhura and former Cabinet minister Goodall Gondwe.

The arrests included former  ministers Patricia Kaliati, Symon Vuwa Kaunda, Henry Mussa and Dr Jean Kalirani as well as deputy ministers Kondwani Nankhumwa and Nicholas Dausi.

DPP's Kaliati in her political backyard
DPP’s Kaliati in her political backyard
DPP crowds
DPP crowds

Former presidential guard commander Duncan Mwapasa was among those arrested.

The accused, who were released on bail on Mar. 14, and also charged with other counts of inciting mutiny, conspiracy to commit a felony, breach of trust, and giving false evidence to the Commission of Inquiry into President Bingu wa Mutharika’s death.

The Commission of Inquiry report revealed that the accused consipired to prevent Banda’s ascendance to the presidency.

The inquiry also found that they allegedly tried to convince the Army Commander of the Malawi Defence Forces, General Henry Odillo, to take over the country. Odillo had refused as the request was against the country’s constitution, which calls for the vice president to assume power in the event of the death of a sitting president.

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