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‘I am sorry’

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Minister of Sports and Culture, Grace Chiumia, has apologised to President Peter Mutharika for addressing him as life president.

Chiumia said the apology also goes to all Malawians. During a fundraising dinner for Mulhakho wa Alhomwe on Friday at the Bingu International Conference Centre (Bicc), Chiumia asked Mutharika to address the gathering and in her invitation she addressed Mutharika as life president.

The remarks attracted mixed reactions with some commentators criticising Chiumia for encouraging dictatorship.

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But yesterday, the minister expressed remorse and conceded she was at fault for the remarks which has resulted in some people directing their anger towards Mutharika.

“I would like to apologise to the president. Let people castigate me and not the president. He is an innocent person. It was a mistake which everybody can make. Malawians should not take this seriously,” Chiumia said.

She said it was a slip of the tongue which she did not realise until a friend later told her about it.

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“If I realised it that time, I would have corrected it,” she said and added: “Let’s concentrate on real issues.”

Chiumia further said: “Who am I to change the constitution [of DPP]? The constitution is there and nobody is above the law.”

National Secretary for Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, Martin Chiphwanya, accused Chiumia of trying to take Malawi back to one-party rule and that her remarks threatened Malawi’s nascent democracy.

And Institute for Policy Interaction Executive Director, Rafiq Hajat, said there is no life president in Malawi and added that it was a concern when Mutharika did not challenge the statement at the function.

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