Malawi ‘s former president Bakili Muluzi will from Wednesday pay a two-day visit to Zambia at invitation from the new Zambian President Michael Sata. ‘Yes, I have been invited by His Excellency President Sata to visit Zambia,’ Muluzi told PANA in an exclusive interview Saturday. ‘I’ll leave this Wednesday.’ Muluzi, who retired as Malawi leader in 2004 after serving his official two five-year terms, said apart from congratulating President Sata on his September victory he would also pay homage to Zambia’s late leaders Levy Mwanawasa and Frederick Chiluba.
Muluzi said: ‘I worked closely with President Chiluba during the transition to multiparty democracy both in Malawi and Zambia and I was very close to him. I also worked with his successor, President Mwanawasa. I have to pay my homage to both African statesmen.’
Muluzi, who could not attend Chiluba’s funeral because he was in hospital in Cape Town, South Africa, nursing his bad back, said he would condole with both the Chiluba and Mwanawasa families before laying wreaths on their tombs.
They are both buried close together in the hero’s acre in Lusaka.
The former Malawi leader will return home on Friday to prepare for another medical trip to Cape Town .
‘I was scheduled to see my doctor this week but we had to reschedule the appointment for logistical problems,’ he said.
The Nation reported last Wednesday that bureaucracy delayed Muluzi’s medical trip to South Africa. According to the daily, the retired politician was to meet his doctor last Thursday but government only released a cheque for the medical trip the same week. He was quoted as saying his doctor was working on a new appointment schedule.
Since leaving office in 2004 Muluzi has been in and out of London and Cape Town clinics because of slipped discs that cause him severe pain to his back. He cannot stand or sit at same positions for prolonged periods.
Muluzi, who spectacularly fell out with his anointed successor, President Bingu wa Mutharika, is currently on bail answering to a US$13 million corruption case. According to court records, he allegedly diverted the funds – meant for government development projects – to his personal bank accounts. He denies the charges, calling his prosecution ‘political persecution’.
The case is dragging in court because of his ill-health.