The Malawi Government says it will arrest anyone spreading reports that President Peter Mutharika is ‘dead’, saying the stories are bringing fear and panic among Malawians.
Mutharika is in the United States of America where government claims he is carrying out important business for Malawi though there has been a state media blackout on his activities.
The president has also overstayed in the US where he initially went to attend the United Nations General Assembly which ended two weeks ago.
This has led to speculations over the president’s health with some reports claiming that he might be dead. But government, while describing the reports as baseless, malicious and sickening, claims that the president is enjoying a very robust health and is continuing to carry on state functions and duties whilst in America.
In a state signed by Minister of Information Malison Ndau, government also warned those using their freedom of expression to spread reports about Mutharika’s health that they will face the long arm of the law.
“Spreading false rumours about the health of the president is a criminal offense and unless this behaviour stops forthwith, Government will not hesitate to bring to book those responsible for this irresponsible, malicious and damaging rumour-mongering which is clearly aimed at spreading fear and panic among law abiding Malawians,” reads part of the statement.
But reacting to the statement, whistleblower Gerald Kampanikiza challenged government to provide evidence in form of a live video of the president so that Malawians can believe that Mutharika is well.
“Take a video feed of Mutharika and post rather than his last public appearance photo as you are doing. Tell him to talk to us now,” said Kampanikiza.
He also urged government to stop threatening Malawians for speculating over Mutharika’s health.
“My question is why can’t Mutharika speak to the nation and what kind of assignments is he having in USA all this time? Secondly stop intimidating Malawians with the so called limitations of freedom, whatever Mutharika is doing he is not using his money but money from Malawians this nonsense must stop,” said Kampanikiza.