Opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) presidential candidate Atupele Muluzi has demanded a retraction and an apology from Home Affairs Minister Uladi Mussa or face a lawsuit over ‘toddler’ remarks made against him.
According to a letter of demand dated April 24 2014, Atupele, through his lawyer Jai Banda, said the remarks that he falsified his true date of birth and not fit as the country’s next president, as aired on Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS), were defamatory.
Banda, through the letter, warned Mussa that should he fail to retract and apologise within five days, Atupele would have no choice but to start legal proceedings against him to clear his name.
The letter reads: “Please be advised that should we have to take this route, we will claim costs of the proceedings, which you will be condemned to settle.”
Mussa in an interview on Thursday said he had not yet received the letter, but said there was nothing to retract or apologise for because he did not lie that Atupele was underage for a presidential contest.
Mussa, who has been leading ruling People’s Party (PP) onslaught on opposition leaders during rallies attended by President Joyce Banda, said the UDF constitution was amended solely to fit him in because he was under 35 and stood disqualified to contest at the party’s convention.
The letter stated that the statement that he was a liar and was not truthful about his date of birth has lowered Atupele in the estimation of right thinking members of society.
It reads: “You made your allegation; knowing it was false and you published the same recklessly and acted from express malice. Your intention was to expose our client to contempt or ridicule which our client has now suffered.”
The letter stated that Atupele’s personal esteem and respect that he commanded as a law abiding citizen and a successful and well-renowned politician have deteriorated.