Take us through what happened for you to be arrested by police in Lilongwe?
Naturally, there were these rumours which were circulating for my impending arrest, but of course, I thought a rumour is a rumour until the police make this formally known.
So, that day I proceeded, went to town in Lilongwe and then proceeded to go to Blantyre, I was driving myself. When I approached Bunda Roadblock, I was stopped by police and told to pack my vehicle. I then entered the police office.
After 30 minutes of being in the office, a Landrover came with CID officers and senior police officers and told me to go to police headquarters for questioning. It was then that I was put in a Landrover and taken to what I thought was Area 3 Police Station, only to discover that while there, the vehicle [changed direction] and I had been taken to Kanengo Police.
When we arrived there, it was as if the car was in a chase, and I believe they wanted to lose my security car that was coming behind me. They took me to Lumbadzi Police where I was informed that I was under arrest for allegedly inciting violence, but the police failed to produce a warrant. I was told to remove shoes and other items on me and was placed in a holding cell. This was around 1 Oâ€™clock in the afternoon.
I was only allowed on three occasions to meet relatives. Later that day, I was served with a caution statement and told to sign in writing, but when I asked for my lawyer, they refused; so, I decided to use my constitutional right to remain silent. The cell that I was put in was very small with a bucket at the corner and at lunch I was given some lunch.
At six oâ€™clock, the cell was closed. In the morning, I was handcuffed and asked to sit on the floor and then I was taken to Maula Prison. At around nine, I started receiving visitors. Then around one or two I started feeling ill. I have a pre-existing condition of high blood pressure and I take my medication every morning, so that day, I had not and that is when I was taken to Lilongwe Clinic for treatment.
Police said they picked you up because you defied a police order?
Thatâ€™s what they claim, I donâ€™t want to jeopardise the court proceedings because the matter is still in court, but they should prove those allegations, because you know very well that Atupele Muluzi is not UDF and [that] I am not a senior member of UDF, and you know very well that we held two [rallies] successfully without any violence in Lilongwe the same day. [But] as we were proceeding out of Likuni, our convoy was tear-gassed. That was the first provocation by police. Not a single officer approached me to tell me that I could not hold those meetings.
Now that you have been in prison, is there anything that you intend to change?
Let me say this: I would like to commend the great job our police do in this country. There are many very good police men and women doing a highly commendable job of providing law and order and, of course, security to our communities at the same time, there are a few bad apples that are becoming political and going to extremes. [Whilst I was in cell], I witnessed the beating of suspects at Lumbadzi, then I was placed in a holding cell.Â This is unacceptable, and there is a need to do some investigations on this. The police, however, need to be professional. I also believe that there is need to reform our prisons, as well as their conditions of service.
Is this going to slow you down?
No, not at all. I made it very clear that there would be obstacles along the way and I envisaged these obstacles. Let me make this clear, this is not going to slow me down because I know what this agenda is all about and I am not a coward. I know change is not going to be easy.
Would you consider your arrest as a baptism of fire?
I find it archaic thinking, that for one to be a leader, they have to be in prison. In this modern world, this kind of thinking needs to change and we should not fear competition. [Those] in leadership should not fear alternative views, [instead] we should embrace democracy and better governance [which] is about big ideas. Those in leadership should be prepared for anything and those aspiring for leadership must be mentally prepared for anything. That is one of prerequisites for leadership.
Most people say you are not yet mature to lead people 14 million people. What is your take on this?
The first thing that I have always told people is that I did not wake up one morning to say I want to lead 14 million. I woke up to say there are big problems and I want to bring about change. It is not about me as an individual, it is about making sure we bring about change that resonates with peoplesâ€™ needs.
I became a politician in 2003 and joined Parliament in 2004. The problem is that when you are bringing change, people will use whatever weapon they have to demoralise you in order to bring you down because there are others who donâ€™t want the younger generation to take up space.
Most people say you are still your fatherâ€™s son, and that is why he rushed back home when he heard that you had been arrested?
My father was not with me in Maula. I am very surprised when people ask me that question. Dr Bakili Muluzi is my father and I am his son. What did you expect him to do? I think that is not fair, these people need to answer why they think he should not have been there? If he were attending my rallies then people should have asked that question, but he was coming to see me, his son.
Customarily, you are married, but you have not made this formal. When are you going to set a good example and marry your â€˜wife.â€™
Look, I am married. The reason I delayed the public wedding was because I wanted my mother to be here with me. I am her only son. This is my marriage and we are married and she [Angela] is my wife. If people want a public marriage, then I want my mother to be here and witness her only son getting married.
So, when will this happen?
We wanted [to have it in ] April, but we have postponed it to later this year
But it will surely be before 2014?