Malawi Government has said people should not always expect animosity between a former president and the incumbent.
Minister of Information, Tourism and Culture Kondwani Nankhumwa said this in an interview yesterday, noting that world over, former presidents are not “spent forces” as such they are given roles to play.
Nankhumwa was reacting to critics that questioned President Peter Mutharika’s decision to send former president Bakili Muluzi to represent Malawi at Zambia’s 50th independence celebrations last Friday.
The minister said people should desist from reading too much into every decision the President makes, arguing a former and a current president must coexist and work together.
Nankhumwa said: “This is not strange, it happens elsewhere and Malawi is not the first country to ask a former president to represent a country. Find out if there was no other former president at the function representing their countries; they were there.”
Muluzi, too, in an interview yesterday, expressed disappointment at the criticism, saying “if people do not have information, it is advisable to ask”.
He said there were several former presidents in Lusaka that represented their countries at the celebrations.
“That is not fair accusation. There were former presidents from other countries such as South Africa’s Thabo Mbeki. Several other countries were represented by other government officials other than presidents and vice-presidents.
“Does that mean their presidents are fighting with the vice-presidents as other people want to portray it here in Malawi? This is sad,” said Muluzi.
He commended Mutharika for demonstrating a spirit of reaching out to the other sectors of society on political, governance and economic issues, saying, as a nation, there is need to move away from confrontation and focus on nation building.
Muluzi was accompanied to Zambia by Foreign Affairs Minister George Chaponda.