Zambia’s President Rupiah Banda has denied inviting embattled Malawian leader Bingu Wa Mutharika to Lusaka at the weekend.
President Mutharika, in power since 2004, is under unprecedented pressure from Malawians after the July 20 street demonstrations that left 18 people dead, several injured while others arrested as his compatriots protested against his rule.
“It must be put on record that President Banda’s decision not to invite President Mutharika, or indeed any other Head of State, has nothing to do with the recent disturbances in Malawi,” stated Dickson Jere, the spokesperson of the Zambian ruler, in a media release.
Some Zambian media houses carried stories that President Banda had invited 77-year-old Mutharika to open the annual Zambia Agricultural and Commercial Show in Lusaka Saturday, sparking denunciations from some opposition parties.
President Mutharika officiated at the same event last year.