LILONGWE, June 19 (Xinhua) -- Malawi government has distanced itself from an online article that is in circulation claiming that Malawi President, Peter Mutharika, verbally attacked Zimbabwe President, Robert Mugabe, at a political rally.
The article, titled President Mtharika attacks Mugabe, authored by one, Chifundo Phiri, is undersigned Nyasa Times without any link provided.
The author of the article, who misspells the Malawi leader's surname, claims that the Malawi leader had said he would not seek second term but would rather step down to pave way for new blood.
The article quotes the Malawi president to have allegedly said "I don't want to be another Mugabe; Mugabe is in power for 37 years and look what he has done to the once Jewel of Africa?"
"We used to go to Harare for shopping and to seek medical attention but look what the old dictator Mugabe has done. I don't want to be a dictator like Robert Mugabe."
The article continues by alleging that Mutharika in his alleged speech at the said rally vindicated Botswana President, Ian Khama's alleged attack on Mugabe.
"Clinging to power is not good for SADC and Africa. I'm sorry for the people of Zimbabwe to have a dictator like Robert Mugabe," the article further quotes Mutharika to have said.
But in a statement dated June 18, 2017, Malawi government spokesperson, Nicholas Dausi, who is also Minister of Information and Communication Technology, described the article as "pure propaganda", adding that the Malawi President had never spoken ill of Zimbabwe.
"Government would like to distance itself from lies that have been made in the media that President Arthur Peter Mutharika is interfering in the internal matters of the Republic of Zimbabwe," wrote Dausi in the introduction of his statement.
"President Mutharika has never addressed a rally in Machinga, and has never held a meeting in public or in private where he made that statement where the unfortunate suggestions by the article have been drawn."
Dausi described Mutharika as an international diplomat and international law expert who understood the obligation of non-interference that nations were expected to comply with.
The Minister further described Zimbabwe as a sovereign state, and that as such they were entitled to determine their own internal matters as they saw fit.
"Suffice it to say Malawi has no business to dictate to the people of Zimbabwe how they should conduct their affairs," wrote Dausi.
The statement assured the people of Malawi and Zimbabwe that the Government of Malawi would remain resolute to its policy of not interfering in internal matters of other countries.
The spokesperson said due to lack of credible winning strategy for the 2019 elections, opposition parties in the country were running a desperate campaign to tell lies against the President and his administration in order to create chaos in the country and abhorrence in the international community.
Meanwhile, Managing Editor for the popular UK-based Nyasa Times, Thom Chiumia, has disowned the article through a WhatsApp media forum, Malawi Media Hub, where he wrote: "Nyasa Times never carried that story at any time."