"It's shameful that the UDF party wants to take us back to the dark days,"

Mr Gwanda Chakuamba (2003)

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Bakili Muluzi arrest justifiable - Presidential advisor

Presidential advisor on political affairs
Hetherwick Ntaba Tuesday addressed a press conference where he said the
arrest of former President Bakili Muluzi was justifiable because it was
made in respect of the country’s security laws.

However, one of Muluzi’s lawyers Fahad Assani said that Ntaba was
‘misguided in his comments as they were made simply to satisfy his job
at the Office of President and Cabinet (OPC).’

Assani said he would formally respond to the accusations against Muluzi in a court of law.

But Ntaba said Muluzi, as former president, thought that he was above the law and could not be arrested.

Muluzi was arrested at Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe on
arrival from a holiday in the UK for alleged treason. He was ferried in
a Malawi Army plane, which dropped him in Blantyre to be under house

Muluzi has since described his arrest as laughable, political
harassment and a DPP political strategy aimed at blocking him from
contesting in the 2009 general elections after being elected as his
party’s candidate at its April 24, 2008 convention.

Ntaba claimed Malawians had breathed a sigh of relief when police
uncovered the coup plot and immediately moved on the alleged coup
plotters before an “evil event” took place.

“The arrest of Muluzi was a simple application of the security laws of
this country because no one is above the laws of this country,” said

He said those who want to create an impression that Muluzi was being
victimised, harassed, abused and subjected to a political process were
very wrong.

Ntaba, who is also Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) secretary
general, said police had incriminating evidence that a security breach
was imminent in the country forcing them to act on Muluzi.

“The former president, as you all know, has vowed to unseat the
President. Dr Muluzi has repeatedly insulted the President for quite
some time, and I think you are all aware that the President has not
reacted to all these insults,” said Ntaba.

He said President Bingu wa Mutharika was not politically vindictive and
if he were such he would have arrested Muluzi a long time ago over a
catalogue of insults that Muluzi spewed on Mutharika.

He cited remarks Muluzi made at a rally in Lilongwe that Mutharika was
a tube he inflated and that he could as well deflate it with ease.

Muluzi went further, according to Ntaba, to claim that Mutharika had
been a difficult person to sell to the people during the 2004
presidential campaign, an insult he said has not driven the President
to act on him.

He also said Muluzi made ‘outrageous statements’ last year at a rally
in Nkhotakota that the country did not have a President but Mutharika
left him scot-free, adding the former president has been intimidating
the president by remarks such as “who is Bingu wa Mutharika after all?”

According to Ntaba, Muluzi has repeatedly asked his MPs to reject the
budget every year, citing the rejection of K8 billion additional
budget, whose resources came from HIPC debt relief.

However, since president Bingu wa Mutharika took over government in
2004, every budget has been passed with difficulty by a Parliament
whose majority is the opposition.

On why police arrested Muluzi on arrival instead of the time he was
leaving the country for UK if indeed the state had evidence of treason,
Ntaba said police move in when there is a strong evidence against a

He also attacked reports that Muluzi started planning to take over
government in 2006, saying there was no sense in the claim because
Muluzi would have been arrested then.

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