President Peter Mutharika and his advisor on political affairs Francis Mphepo say they will not apologise over alleged nepotistic remarks alleged to have been made by Mphepo.
Both Mutharika and Mphepo were reacting to statements made by opposition political parties–Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and Alliance for Democracy (AFORD) which asked the duo to apologise on the alleged statements believed to have been made during a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) meeting.
According to an audio clip that has been circulating on social media, it is alleged that Mphepo said Mutharika will withdraw development projects in the Northern Region for the people’s ‘ungratefulness’.
In an interview, presidential press secretary and spokesperson Mgeme Kalilani, who is with Mutharika in the United Kingdom (UK) where he is attending the UK-Africa summit, wondered why the president should apologise when the alleged sentiments were not made by him.
Said Kalilani: “I would like to categorically state that the president does not share the views expressed in the alleged audio. In any case, Honourable Mphepo does not speak for the president or the DPP.
“As such, the alleged utterances cannot be attributed to the president to warrant a demand for an apology from him. Honourable Mphepo does not even speak for the DPP itself.”
Kalilani added that the president has made it clear on numerous occasions that Malawi belongs to all citizens equally and that its citizens deserve national development equally.
On his part, Mphepo, in a statement through his personal assistant Peter Mangulenje, said he suspected the audio might have been twisted by his political rivals to tarnish his image.
Said Mphepo: “It is very unfortunate that at a time when the country is going through a phase of political challenges, there are people who are trying to tarnish my image by circulating such sensitive issues. I did not utter such words and in no way did I ever said that.”
When contacted, he confirmed that a meeting took place on Saturday where Mphepo met about ten district party officials where they discussed issues surrounding the party’s projects of the region, among others.
In a statement AFORD released on Sunday signed by the party’s publicity secretary Khumbo Mwaungulu, failure by Mphepo as well as Mutharika to issue a public apology will lead to the party mobilising northers to take an unspecified action.
The statement claims that the alleged remarks by Mphepo compliment the nepotism, segregation and discrimination that the Mutharika led government has portrayed, despite the region having numerous important resources.
On their part, MCP described as a sad reality that under the Mutharika administration, the country has been subjected to such irrational, prejudicial and nepotistic ideas and actions with the north being inflicted with disproportionate suffering through such policies.
“To this end, it has been a sad chapter for the north and as MCP, we are in prayer that such prohibitive policies must come to an end now,” reads MCPs statement in part signed by the party’s spokesperson Reverend Maurice Munthali.