Monday, March 11, 2013

Callista calls Pres. Banda ‘stupid’ over Peter Mutharika’s arrest: Malawi failed coup

Callista calls Pres. Banda ‘stupid’ over Peter Mutharika’s arrest: Malawi failed coup
By Maurice Nkawihe, Nyasa Times
March 11, 2013

Former First Lady, Callista Mutharika visited his brother in-law Professor Peter Mutharika at Southern Region Police an hour after he handed himself in and told agitated DPP supporters that she was disappointed with President Joyce Banda for “orchestrating the arrest”.

Callista arrived at the police station at around 11:20am amid cheers and chants from DPP supporters and was accompanied by Parliamentarian Olive Masanza and orphanage boss Maria Ndasowa.

After an hour chat with Mutharika inside the police station, late president Bingu wa Mutharika’s widow stormed out angry and could not hide her frustration over the arrest of her late husband’s young brother.

“I am angry, what more do you expect? I am angry at this arrest. And I am angry that it is been done by a woman who was supposed to rule the country properly but has failed,” Callista, who married the late president in 2010 after the death of the president’s wife of 30 years in 2007, said in apparent reference to Malawi’s first female leader.
Callista Mutharika calls President Banda a 'disgrace'.

-Photo by Maurice Mkawihe/Nyasa Times

“We are told that women leaders are better because women are empathetic – is this what we are seeing now? She [Ms Banda] goes on public podia preaching forgiveness, even quoting biblical verses – is there forgiveness here?” she said.

Callista, who recently made headlines for calling President Banda ‘mai wamandasi’ could not hide but to openly declare her dislike for Banda.

She claimed President Banda is becoming despotic and is a “disgrace” to all women in the country.

“Timadana ndi anthu opusa, ameneuja ndi mzimai opusa (I hate stupid people, that woman is stupid). She has failed to improve things in the country and now she wants to start arresting people”.

“She has failed to run the affairs of government and has resorted to arresting people. She is a disgrace to women who are busying campaigning for 50/50 women representation at levels,” said Callista, who was whisked away to safety after police broke up her impromptu news conference with tear gas.

Government spokesperson Moses Kunkuyu said it was wrong to suggest that Pres. Banda was oppressive, arguing that the police were doing their duty and would only arrest people suspected of wrongdoing.

Kunkuyu said Banda’s government “will never use police or any of its machinery to silence the opposition or any other individual.”

Police fired teargas at around 500 people protesting against the arrests outside police headquarters in Blantyre, while another group, estimated to be in the thousands, blocked the main highway to the capital, Lilongwe, with boulders and branches.

Several vehicles were smashed and policemen assaulted during the protests.

At least 11 people have been arrested and are accused of plotting a coup to try and prevent President Joyce Banda from taking power last year.

They incude current Economic Planning Minister Goodall Gondwe, Chief Secretary to Government Bright Msaka, ex-Health Minister Jean Kalirani and former Presidential Affairs Minister Nicholas Dausi.

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