(AFP) – Feb 22, 2009
MALAWI (AFP) — Former president of Malawi Bakili Muluzi on Sunday claimed that his bid to return to power was being hampered by government intimidation, in comments to a private radio station.
And he said he had discussed the situation with a senior African Union delegation made up of the former presidents of Mozambique and Ghana, Joachim Chissano and John Kufuor respectively, he told the station.
"We are being intimidated by the government," Muluzi told Capital Radio. "If we don't avoid this, there will be problems."
Muluzi, who served two terms as president between 1994 and 2004, said the government of President Bingu wa Mutharika had launched a fierce media attack on his bid for re-election, he added.
The two African elder statesmen Chissano and Kufuor are in Malawi representing the African Union ahead of legislative and presidential elections in May.
Chissano told reporters late Saturday: "We are sent here to appraise the situation in Malawi so that we grasp the sense of the political situation."
Part of their task was to "see if there is anything that will be required for the AU to do in order to have peaceful elections," he added.
"Mutharika and Muluzi also gave me a picture of the situation," Chissano said.
After the March 20 dissolution of the parliament, the Malawi Electoral Commission, will inform the candidates whether they have qualified to stand in the poll.
Mutharika, 77, turned against his one-time mentor by ditching Muluzi's United Democratic Front to form his own party, the Democratic Progressive Party after the 2004 elections.
Muluzi, who wrested power from dictator Kamuzu Banda in 1994, reluctantly handed power to Mutharika after failing to change the constitution to allow him stand for a third consecutive term.
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