President Peter Mutharika, who is also a torch-bearer for the DPP, UDF alliance in the June 23 presidential fresh election, has accused opposition leaders of hiring assailants that stoned him in Ndirande last month.
But in a related development, Vice-President Saulos Chilima, who is running mate for the Tonse Alliance, has condemned Mutharika’s growing attacks on the Judiciary and ‘victimisation’ of senior judicial offices.
Mutharika motorcade was stoned in Ndirande Township on May 7 2020 during a whistle-stop he undertook with his running mate Atupele Muluzi, after presenting his nomination papers to the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC).
In that evening fracas, an unidentified people in the township jeered and pelted at Mutharika’s convoy.
Speaking on Saturday at Nyambadwe ground in Blantyre after launching construction works of stadia for Nyasa Big Bullets and Be Forward Wanderers, Mutharika said there was no way Ndirande residents could stone him.
“The people who stoned me on the nominations date were not members from Ndirande Township, but they were 39 men hired by opposition leaders and were given K1 000 each to stone me,” he said.
Mutharika said once voted into power he will continue with development projects that are spread across the country.
He also accused the UTM leader Chilima for allowing his body guard to shoot people in Machinga, allegations which UTM has dismissed.
Meanwhile, in reference to Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda’s forced leave, pending retirement, Chilima has condemned Mutharika’s growing attacks on the Judiciary and ‘victimisation’ of senior judicial offices.
He was speaking on Saturday at a rally at Ganya in his Ntcheu home district at the end of a whistle-stop tour. Chilima urged Mutharika to respect the rule of law and emulate past presidents whom he said “relinquished power peacefully”.
“Malawi is governed by laws. We will not be intimidated by these threats. I as Vice-President stand in solidarity with the Chief Justice and everyone who is being threatened,” said Chilima.
He alleged that he has evidence that DPP are scheming to remove Nyirenda on the pretext that some judges are working against him.
Chilima said it is worrisome that Mutharika has resorted to threatening everyone in order to remain in power.
“Mr President, stop issuing these threats to intimidate people. Malawians are tired of your rule and want elections to take place,” he said.
The Veep said it is not strange that Mutharika is attacking judges and disrespecting court rulings as he has a history of disrespecting rule of law.