President Peter Mutharika Monday came out of his three-week public absence and hit at the Judiciary for allegedly putting lives of Malawians at risk by stopping the lockdown that his government had ordered while allowing that a fresh presidential election should go on amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mutharika visited the Malawi University of Science and Technology (Must)—his first outing since May 7—where he appreciated innovations the university’s students and staff are undertaking in fighting the spread of the novel coronavirus.
In his speeches during the whistle stops he had at Goliati and Bvumbwe trading centres on his way to Must, Mutharika described the nullification of the 2019 presidential election as a judicial coup d’état.
He had made similar allegations in a programme aired on Malawi Broadcasting Corporation last Friday.
On the suspension of the lockdown, Mutharika said the country is risking lives of children and the elderly as campaign rallies are being held across the country amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.
He then hailed Must for the Covid-19 innovations, saying that is what his late brother Bingu wa Mutharika wanted the university to be doing.
“[Must] has lived up to our expectations of leading in science, technology, education, research and entrepreneurship. This is the way it must be. University academics must lead in research and innovation to find solutions for problems confronting society. At the moment, we have a problem. We are in the middle of a coronavirus crisis,” Mutharika said.
Malawi has so far recorded 336 Covid-19 cases after 52 new cases were announced yesterday by the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19.
Co-Chairperson of the task force, Dr John Phuka, said of the 52 new cases, 42 are returning residents who came into the country through Mwanza Border at the weekend, nine are truck drivers and the other one is a resident of Dedza who returned from South Africa on May 11.
In one of his speeches, Mutharika also threw a punch at former president Joyce Banda regarding an incident he claimed happened in China, in an apparent reaction to what Banda had said the other day about the same trip where she implied Mutharika was a drunkard.
But in an interview after Mutharika’s sentiments, Banda said she would not be drawn into a verbal war with the President, insisting: “I did not listen to what the President said, but I noted from what others have written. My response is that what Malawians need now is to have a younger leader.”
Meanwhile, there was tension at Rumphi Boma yesterday as some people, chanting songs against the Democratic Progressive Party and United Democratic Front Alliance, pelted stones at a rally which the alliance’s running mate Atupele Muluzi addressed.
Things returned to normalcy after the police and other security personnel from the DPP/UDF Alliance took charge.
Muluzi condemned the acts and said he is not afraid of anything as he goes around the country to drum up support for Mutharika with whom he is expected to stand at the fresh election.