Concerns Over Malawi President’s Prolonged U.S Stay

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President Peter Mutharika has remained in the U.S, two weeks after the United Nations General Assembly ended, sparking widespread speculation about his health.

Malawian President Peter Mutharika who has been subjected of speculation that he was gravely ill and had sought medical help following his extended stay in the United States after attending the UN General Assembly in New York will return home on Sunday, October 16, 2016, according to his spokesman.

Presidential Press Secretary at official Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe, Mgeme Kalilani said on Tuesday morning that the Malawi leader will touch down the home soil at 13:00 hours on Sunday through Kamuzu International Airport.

“His Excellency Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika will return home on Sunday, October 16, 2016 from the United States of America (USA) where he attended the 71st United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and also attended to various government businesses,” Kalilani said in a statement made available to Nyasa Times.

The accouncement comes in the wake of a circulating copy of Zimbabwean newspaper, Newsday, published on Tuesday claiming Mutharika had died.

With a headline of ‘The President of Malawi confirmed dead’, the Newsday claims Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe has send condolences and that government of Malawi is hiding the death from Malawians “after doctors in the US confirmed his death.”

Several online media in Malawi have been sensationally reporting about Mutharika’s condition, albeit without any facts or credible sources.

Mutharika, 76 spoke at the UN on 25 September and has been out of Malawi since then sparking speculations about his health.

But government insists that the Head of State enjoys a clean bill of health and that there was no need for people to panic.

“The President is enjoying very robust health and is continuing to carry on his duties” government spokesman Malison Ndau said.

Ndau, who is also minister of information and communication, warned that people speculating on Mutharika’s health will be “brought to book”.

He said the rumours that Mutharika was gravelly ill “were baseless, malicious and sickening”.

Government spokesman also reminded “all Malawians that whilst the laws of this country provide for freedom of expression, those rights ought to be exercised responsibly and within the law.

“Spreading false rumours about the health of the president is a criminal offence.”

Nonetheless, Mutharika will return back to the grim reality of rising public anger over an economic meltdown, power outages, widely blamed on corruption.

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