With the presidential election case in court, coupled with ongoing anti-Jane Ansah demonstrations, President Peter Mutharika has insisted that he won the elections clean; hence, opposition parties should accept and move on.
Mutharika was speaking on Satueday at Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) in Lilongwe on arrival from New York, USA, where he attended the United Nations General Assembly (Unga).
Among other issues the President tackled in his address at Unga, was the state of affairs in the country following the May 21 presidential elections.
Both Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and UTM have described that statement as strange and an act of contempt of court.
The President arrived at KIA at around 2.20pm in a chartered Global Express Bombardier (P4–BFK).
Facing the press, Mutharika appeared calm and spoke in a relaxed tone, a departure from his podium rants, especially when he is talking about the contested presidential elections.
He justified his talking of internal politics at Unga, saying the UN was a political body; hence, the platform was the right one to talk about the political situation in the country.
“The reality is they lost the election and they must accept. I am not talking about the case. The case is in court. I am talking about the election which they lost and they must accept and that’s a fact. I will continue talking about it,” said the President.
MCP president Lazarus Chakwera and UTM’s Saulos Chilima are challenging the presidential results, in a historic court case being handled by a panel of five judges in a constitutional court.
Reacting to the statement, MCP spokesperson the Reverend Maurice Munthali said he is surprised that Mutharika decided to engage the UN on a domestic matter which is in court.
He said the President’s statement has the potential to undermine the court process, adding that as much as they and their ally UTM are concerned, there is a legitimate case against the DPP presidential candidate.
Munthali said Mutharika should be more concerned with the state of terror that his party cadres have created, citing the recent attack on demonstrators in Blantyre.
“The case is in court, why informing UN. Mutharika is begging for sympathy. As far as we are concerned, there is a case against him and we have evidence which we have tendered in court. Let Mutharika handle his party thugs than trying to divert attention from what is of major concern for most Malawians—the DPP is terrorising the country under police watch,” he said.
UTM spokesperson Joseph Chidanti-Malunga said his party is surprised that the President is determined to make himself a winner when the same is being decided by the court. He said he was wondering why the President, “who is a law professor himself, is bent on undermining the authority of the judiciary”.
“We are not saying we are the winner, neither is Mutharika. The issue of winner is exactly what is being decided in court. I am not sure what the President is up to, but I would urge him to allow the court process to go without undue influence. We all have trust in the judiciary,” said Malunga.
Mutharika left for Unga on September 18. Going by his previous trips to the Summit, this has been the briefest. He has, in the past, come under fire for overstretching his stay in the USA in the name of Unga, without justification.
A number of commentators are wary of Unga because it is one expensive presidential international undertaking. While the size of the entourage is not yet known for this trip, Mutharika has in the past gone with a large delegation, raising questions of financial prudence.
In his last-term of office, Mutharika attended all Unga sessions, yet he has missed 90 percent of the African Union and Southern Africa Development Community summits.