Former president Professor Peter Mutharika. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)
Former president Professor Peter Mutharika. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

Former Malawi president asks current president and government to ’stop persecuting citizens’

By Molaole Montsho Time of article published Apr 18, 2021

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Rustenburg - Malawi is becoming a dictatorship again, former president Peter Mutharika said.

Mutharika told a press conference at his retirement home in Mangochi, southern Malawi on Saturday that innocent people were being beaten and harassed by police.

“The justice system of this country was founded on assuming that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. But Malawians who are targeted for persecution are now being assumed guilty until proven innocent. This is the practice of dictatorship,” he said.

“I want to ask President [Lazarus] Chakwera and his government to stop persecuting Malawians.”

He said evidence that Malawi was becoming a dictatorship was that the Malawi Congress Party was using arbitrary power to victimise innocent people, adding that he has not committed any crime and was not answering any charges, but, government froze his bank accounts for no reason at all.

“These include the account where I was receiving my personal salary. This is the account through which I am supposed to be receiving my retirement benefits,” he said.

“Today, I want to ask President Chakwera to explain to Malawians what wrong I have done. Am I being punished simply because I was president of this country?”

According to Malawi media reports, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ABC) froze the bank accounts in August 2020 when it started investigating Mutharika over the K5 billion (about US$ 6.6 million) cement scandal where his tax number was used to import bags of cement duty free from Zimbabwe and Zambia between 2018 and 2019.

Mutharika called for unity, stating that the country was going the wrong direction.

“I want to ask all Malawians to remember that this is our country and we are all Malawians, in particular, I want to ask all DPP [Democratic Progressive Party] members to unite in saving this country.”

He said Malawi could only develop with patriotism, integrity and hard work.

Chakwera – who has spent much of his life as a theologian – started his term as president in June 2020, taking over from Mutharika.

Former Malawian president Hastings Kamuzu Banda consolidated power and later declared Malawi a one-party state under the Malawi Congress Party in the 1960s.

African News Agency (ANA)

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