Malawi President falls into coma

bingu.jpgBingu wa Mutharika
Malawi President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika has been seriously taken ill and cancelled all his scheduled campaign meetings for 19 May re-election bid, Nyasa Times has established.


Mutharika was expected to launch DPP campaign at Kamuzu Stadium on
Sunday afternoon but his ill-health emergency forced him to cancel the
rally.

State House sources said South African doctors were flown-in to treat
the President who was in a semi-comatose state ahead of referral to a
foreign clinic.

"We did not hesitate to call-in South African doctors to stabilise his
condition ahead of a referral transfer to a South African hospital,"
said the presidency source.

But Presidential spokesman, Chikumbutso Mtumodzi e-mailed Nyasa Times a
statement at 05.58am on Sunday in which he briefly said the President
cancelled the rally due to bad weather condition.

I wish to inform you that the DPP campaign launch, which was scheduled
for today at Kamuzu Stadium, March 22, has been postponed due to
persistent rainfall and bad weather, said Mtumodzi.

The president, Ngwazi Dr. Bingu wa Mutharika has also advised that in
the absence of a clear weather change forecast, another rally which was
due to take place in Mangochi in the eastern region should also be
postponed, said the statement.

Mtumodzi said both rallies will be rescheduled at later dates, which will be announced in due course.

Mutharika, 75, who has been a subject of prostate cancer, but
government, has always been in denial that the President has a
chronically ill problem.

Chief Political Advisor to the President, Dr Heatherwick Ntaba who is
also a physician only conceded after the death of First Lady that she
had been suffering from cancer.

Mutharika and his late wife were diagnosed with cancer at the same time
three years ago, according to reliable sources.Ntaba says President's
health is personal prerogative information but the public have always
argued that his health is of national concern since he lives on tax
payer's money.

A well-wisher posting on the Malawian discussion forum, Nyasanet,
Chimunthu Chino wrote: Let’s continue praying, the Big MAN is still in
a Coma in a South African Hospital. It is not clear whether he’s been
poisoned or not. Other preliminary reports suggest that he drank one
too many while partying after learning that the [Malawi Electoral
Commission] MEC had disqualified [Bakili] Muluzi.

The poor health of Mutharika is generating fears of political turmoil
in his ruling DPP, and that the opposition will capitalise on this
ahead of elections, political analyst Pofela Nyekanyeka said.

He called for government to learn a culture of openness in a democratic
political setting involving the First Citizen's state of health.

The President's state of health should be well-handled. Prayerful
Malawians would seek divine intervention if the government can come out
in the open and explain the condition of Mutharika, he said.

Nyasa Times

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