Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika on Monday morning spoke on phone to journalists in the capital Lilongwe to dispute growing speculation that he is sick.
“I am in south eastern Asia on holiday. I am entitled to go on leave…,” Mutharika said during a press conference in Lilongwe after the ruling party’s deputy President Yunus Mussa phoned him to talk to the press.
Although I am out of the country, he added, I am still working and in control
Mussa phoned the President and asked one of the journalists – Dickson Kashoti – to talk to him.
The conversation was audible enough for everyone to listen to the President has he spoke and explained his absence.
He expressed regret at the comments people have been making in the last few weeks saying that this was beyond the tenets of freedom of expression and the press.
“Those are just fabricated stories and it is actually not good,” he said.
He, however, could not say when he is coming back but indicated that he is entitled to 30 days leave days.
Social media platforms like Facebook, twitter, and some online publications have fueled speculation saying that the President is critically ill and has been operated on.
The President and the First Lady left for Australia late last month for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting from where they proceeded for a vacation amidst speculations in online media and social media platforms that the President had gone for medical treatment.
His spokesperson Hetherwick Ntaba fuelled speculation when he told the media that Mutharika had gone to a secret location for a holiday.
Last week his brother Peter Mutharika, who is also Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, told The Nation that his brother is in good health sentiments he repeated on Sunday on his arrival from Uruguay on Sunday.
Over the weekend the Chinese Foreign Ministry came up with a statement disclosing that Mutharika is in an exotic tourist city of Macao, in Hong Kong.