Home Affairs and Internal Security Minister Uladi Mussa has filed his defence on a lawsuit by United Democratic Front’s 2014 presidential candidate Atupele Muluzi over “toddlers” remarks made against the young presidential hopeful.
Muluzi sued Mussa over remarks he had been making at public rallies addressed by President Joyce Banda that Muluzi lied about his age.
The minister has also been telling Malawians that the UDF leader is ineligible to run for the country’s presidency as he would be still under 35, come 2014 tripartite elections.
He recently told Zodiak Broadcasting Station’s Tiuzeni Zowona programme that the Muluzi falsified his true date of birth and not fit to be the country’s president.
Muluzi, who will be tunring 35 years in August the age one is allowed to run for presidency, is claiming for damages for defamation, exemplary damages, aggravated damages and costs of the action.
But according to courts documents, Mussa in the defence filed at the High Court in Blantyre by his lawyers argued Muluzi, being a politician and an aspiring presidential candidate for 2014 elections, is liable to public scrutiny and fair comments on his age, character, experience, ability to public speeches and any other attributes relating to a public office, more particularly of the high office of the President of Malawi.
“The defendant only made a fair comment that only people who have attained the prescribed age for any office of a Member of Parliament and President of the Republic of Malawi may be voted into the office…
“The defendant made a fair and true comment that in case of UDF during their 2013 convention amended their constitution on the question of age of the president in order to accommodate the plaintiff, who by the time of the convention was under the age of 35,” reads Mussa’s defence statement.
Muluzi’s lawyer Jai Banda wrote Mussa in a letter dated April 24, 2013. “You made your allegations; knowing it was false and you published the same recklessly and acted from express malice. Your attention was to expose our client to contempt or ridicule which our client has now suffered.”
The UDF presidential hopeful contends that remarks that he was a liar and not truthful about his date of birth were defamatory.