Malawi President Peter Mutharika has claimed that former President Joyce Banda and her People’s Party (PP) administration tried to kill him when he was in opposition.
Mutharika made the claims after receiving the African Leadership Award on 22 September in New York.
In his acceptance speech, Mutharika took time to recount the challenges he has gone through to become the leader he is today.
The Malawi leader said when former President Joyce Banda took over the reigns of power, his life was threatened as he was earmarked either for the graveyard or prison.
Banda has overtime denied the accusations she wanted to get rid of Mutharika.
”I took over the leadership to my political party soon after the death of my brother Professor Bingu wa Mutharika who mysteriously died while serving as the state president of Malawi.
“In the two years we were in opposition, I was earmarked either for the graveyard or prison. Every criminal accusations was made and every attempt on life was tried,” he said
The Malawi leader however said he will not revenge the former president now that he is power.
Mutharika also narrated the story of how he took over power during the 2014 tripartite elections. He said he came into leadership in the most dramatic elections in modern African democracy.
“My predecessors tried to frustrate the elections and prevent me from being sworn in using every means available,” he said. “In fact my predecessor refused to hand over power to me.”
Mutharika also reiterated how he took power and the way he found the country. He said he found the country bankrupt after it suffered the plundering of resources called cashgate which led to suspension of aid by donors.
But he claimed that the country has learnt the hard way since government is managing to implement programs within its means.
Mutharika was arrested for treason in 2012.
He and six others who were accused of a coup plot and intending to rape the constitution to prevent the then Vice President Joyce Banda from taking over after President Bingu wa Mutharika’s death on April 5 2012.
On April 6 at midnight, Mutharika who was leading the opposition DPP and six other ministers reportedly spearheaded by former Information Minister Patricia Kaliati held a live news conference to argue that the then former President Banda was ineligible to succeed because she was no longer a member of the ruling party.
At the press conference, the six ministers Patricia Kaliati now Minister of Information and Civic Education, Culture and Community Development, Jean Kalilani who serves as Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare.
The then Sports Minister Simon Vuwa Kaunda who is now Presidential Advisor on National Unity, Henry Mussa who is currently Minister of Labour, Sports, Youth and Manpower Development, the then Deputy Minister in the President’s Office Nicholas Dausi and Kondwani Nankhumwa who is Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, acted as if the President was still alive.
It transpired that this was an attempt to buy time on their wish to have the President’s brother, Peter Mutharika succeed illegally.
The Malawi Constitution in section 91 (1) states that “No person holding the office of President or performing the functions of President may be sued in any civil proceedings but the office of President shall not be immune to orders of the courts concerning rights and duties this Constitution”.
The case was later dropped when he attained the presidency immunity having won the polls defeating Banda and other candidates in 2014 but the case was still understandably on for the rest.
Additional reporting by Joseph Dumbula.