Some relatives of immediate former president Peter Mutharika are raising concern over the welfare of the former president, arguing they are being denied access to him since he was trounced in the June 23 presidential election and vacated State House.
One of the family members, who pleaded for anonymity for fear of reprisals, said the family is shocked that critical decisions regarding the life and safety of Mutharika have already been made without their involvement.
They allege that out of all the people that have been deployed to the office the former president, none is a close family member.
“In the past, we were told that our uncle was the head of state therefore our access to him was heavily controlled. Now APM is no longer state president but the situation is even worse…look here, out of all the police officers and the household staff, none is a close family member despite that we have very close members in the family that are serving in the Malawi Police,” our source said.
The family has also questioned the choice of Mangochi as his retirement home when Mutharika opted to stay in Blantyre.
“As you are aware the former president is advanced in age, now as a family we tend to wonder as to who exactly made the decision that Mutharika will be in Mangochi when he has a house in Blantyre and Lilongwe? In an event that he is unwell, how long will it take to access good health facilities? Isn’t this putting his life in danger?” he queried.
He then claimed that Mutharika’s aide, Norman Chisale, and the former president’s wife were the main architects of the growing rift between the family and Mutharika.
Speaking in a separate interview, another family member Ben Kamanga said the family will be meeting over the next few days to discuss the issue.
When contacted, Chisale could neither confirm nor deny the concerns raised but blamed it all on what he termed as ignorance.
“I think they are saying that out of ignorance, the former president is taken care of by government like a baby; security, chefs and even food is provided for by government,” Chisale said.
According to Chisale, Mutharika himself chose to spend his retirement at the lakeshore district of Mangochi.
“In the past, when people retired, they used to go home but now things have changed and the former president decided to spend his retirement in Mangochi…there was nothing I and the [former] first lady could have done but take him there,” Chisale said.
On medical attention, he said government will provide Mutharika a personal doctor.
When we put to him that investigations showed that he personally made the list of aides to the Acting Inspector General of Police Duncan Mwapasa, Chisale simply said if the family members want to take over the responsibility of looking after Mutharika, they are ready to hand him over to them.
“As I am talking to you now, I am no longer a civil servant but as you know I have been close to him, therefore, there is no way I could just abandon him, this is why I am hanging on,” Chisale said.
Mutharika lost the presidency to President Lazarus Chakwera on June 23 this year and he is temporarily being housed at Chikoko Bay in Mangochi while awaiting completion of renovations at his retirement home.