The Barton family based in the highly populated Ndirande Township in Malawi’s commercial city, Blantyre has asked former president Bakili Muluzi to apologise for his conduct when he visited their home last week, Malawi Digest can reveal.
The family says it will take some unspecified action on Muluzi if the United Democratic Front (UDF) party national chairman does not apologise for his actions.
One of the family members, Magret Saonda (Nee Barton) has confirmed in an interview with Malawi Digest Monday afternoon that the family is demanding an unconditional apology from Muluzi and his opposition UDF party following their misbehaviour at the family residence last week.
Details of the incident indicate that Bakili Muluzi and his party officials went to the Barton’s house in Ndirande Township with an intention of visiting the mother of the house who is reported to be very sick.
As usual, Muluzi is reported to have arrived with his pop, a convoy of vehicles including a yellow UDF open Land Rover.
It is reported that Muluzi had already organised UDF supporters from parts of Blantyre to converge at the Barton’s house in readiness for his arrival.
Muluzi’s arrival at the residence of the critically sick Mrs Barton was welcomed by the tens of drumming and dancing UDF supporters.
After visiting the sick and ageing Mrs Barton inside the house, Muluzi came out of the house before ridding on his open Land Rover.
A public address system was organised immediately upon which officials of the UDF started a political campaign mass rally right outside the house of the sick Mrs Barton.
First to speak was UDF district party governor Eric Chiwaya before handing over to southern regional governor Macdonald Simon who asked Muluzi to address the people who gathered outside the Barton’s residence.
As Bakili Muluzi was conducting his campaign meeting outside, Mrs Barton was in deep agony inside her house with her children and other members of the family on her bed side.
When he stood up in the open Land Rover, Muluzi justified why he decided to come and visit the sick Mrs Barton.
“The sick Mrs Barton I came to see played an important role during the political change in the 1990s,” said Muluzi.
He went on further to ask supporters of the UDF to vote for UDF parliamentary candidates in the forth coming General Elections.
“I want to take this opportunity to introduce to you the UDF parliamentary candidate for this area Mr Ernest Maganga,” said Muluzi before asking Maganga to address the people.
The drama at the Barton’s residence took well over 45 minutes before Muluzi and his supporters dispersed.
Reacting to this uncalled for behaviour by Bakili Muluzi and his UDF supporters, Magret Saonda (Nee Barton) said the family is very disappointed with the conduct of the UDF leader and his party supporters.
“We appreciate Muluzi’s coming to see our sick mother but their conduct outside the house is uncalled for,” she said.
Saonda said that it was very surprising that despite being president of Malawi for 10 years Muluzi could not respect the cultural norms of Malawians.
“How could they be campaigning outside our house when our mother was lying in pain inside the house? To make matters worse have drumming and singing supporters on loud speakers. This is uncalled for,” she said.
Magret Saonda (Nee Barton) said the family has since complained to the UDF national chairman and his party demanding an apology for their unusual behaviour.
The family has promised to take some unspecified action, if the UDF and its leadership do not apologise.
Former president Bakili Muluzi is trying to come back into power for a third term of office although the country’s laws only allow presidents to serve for a maximum two-five year terms of office.
This is not the first time that Muluzi has fallen into trouble for campaigning at very unusual venues and functions just to make sure that third term campaign goes through.
Last year, Muluzi’s campaign at Metro chain of stores in the heart of Blantyre ended acrimoniously when shoppers ended up picking more than what the former president could afford.
Muluzi ordered people inside the shop to take any items they wished and admired and that he would pay on their behalf.
However when the bill reached MK21 million and other items in the shop looted, Muluzi refused to pay.
Later, Muluzi negotiated with Press Corporation owners of Metro shop where they agreed for a K6 million bill.Bakili Muluzi was allowed to settle this amount in instalments.
Muluzi is also known for campaigning at funerals, weddings and hospitals as long as there is an opportunity for people.
Last year, his efforts to campaign at a funeral for Traditional Authority Masula in Lilongwe also ended up in a big fight resulting in damage of property and serious injury of some mourners.
The coffin of the late chief had to be rescued from the Bakili Muluzi generated fight and burial hastily conducted at a nearby grave yard– Malawi Digest.