Acting President for the former ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Peter Mutharika has described as untrue reports that there were plans to swear him in as president after the death of his brother, Bingu wa Mutharika on April 5.
Speaking to Zodiak Radio in his first interview since his brother died, Peter Mutharika said they only met as a cabinet to discuss if the Vice President, in opposition then, was legible to take over.
“We met to discuss the way forward as cabinet. Remember there was a referral case in which cabinet had asked the High Court to interpret if a Vice President in another party would take over if the president was incapacitated or dead. It was not personal, we only wanted to know the way forward,” said Mutharika.
Asked if as a law professor himself he did not find the matter straight forward that the Vice President (Joyce Banda then) was supposed to take over, Mutharika said “the constitution says there should be two vice presidents and that the second must come from an opposition party so we were not clear if the vice president in opposition would take over.”
However, the succession and the issue of the second vice-president are completely separate issues and Mutharika and his colleagues who were meeting at night must have known this.
“In all the meetings we discussed the interpretation of the laws and not that there plans to swear me as President,” Mutharika said.
Peter Mutharika said his brother’s death came as a shock because the previous night they had spoken on the phone.
“In fact he never suffered from heart problems so after we heard that he died of cardiac arrest we are shocked,” confirming that the President died on April 5 and not 6 or 7 as some quarters insisted.
Asked if his brother knew he would die because he called his children for a talk three or four days before he died, Mutharika said the talk was just a routine one.
“I don’t think so. I think that was just a routine father to children chat. Such chats happen most of the time for some of with grown up children,” said Mutharika.
He has vowed to go on with politics and that he is prepared to lead the DPP in 2014 if elected at the party’s fourth coming convention.
“I will also die on Malawi soil just like my brother, Bingu. So I am here and I will happily lead the DPP if I am elected at the convention,” he said. “But mind you I will run a smooth campaign not personalised. I will contrite on issues not personalities.”
He said it was not true that President Joyce Banda was forced to endorse him as DPP presidential candidate.
“Even Bingu did not endorse me. He was concerned that people would not like the idea. So to say that we forced President Joyce Banda to endorse me it is not true,” he said.
He said he is not married at the moment having lost his wife to breast cancer some years ago, but had three children with her and they live in the US.