Cape Town – Malawian leader Peter Mutharika has reportedly claimed that former president Joyce Banda and her People’s Party (PP) government wanted to kill him during the time when he was in the opposition.
According to Malawi24, Mutharika made the claims in New York last week after receiving the African Leadership Award.
The southern African country leader was recognised for “exceptional leadership” and for “impacting lives positively” by the African Leadership Magazine Group, reports said.
In his acceptance speech, Mutharika recounted the challenges he went through to become Malawi’s leader, saying Banda put his life under threat.
“I took over the leadership to my political party soon after the death of my brother Professor Bingu wa Mutharika who mysteriously died while serving as the state president of Malawi.
“In the two years we were in opposition, I was earmarked either for the graveyard or prison. Every criminal accusation was made and every attempt on life was tried,” Mutharika was quoted as saying.
Five assassination plots
He said, however, that he would not revenge.
Mutharika has over the past two years complained about the persecution he suffered when Banda was in power.
Among others, Mutharika regularly cites his arrest over allegations of plotting a coup d’etat as an example of persecution.
According to reports, during the Banda administration, Mutharika faced treason charges for allegedly trying to prevent Banda from ascending into power.
Many analysts have said authorities in Malawi use treason charges to silence those in opposition or government critics.
In August, Mutharika said that it was only by the grace of God that he managed to survive five assassination plots in the run up to Malawi’s national elections in 2014.
“When I was campaigning to lead this country, I was hunted like a criminal. I survived five assassination attempts. I am happy that most of you gave me refuge, solace and courage. You have been the fortitude of the persecuted as Christ wishes,” he was quoted as saying at the time.