Malawi from 1994 to 2004 and is currently the Chairman of the United Democratic Front (UDF).
2.1 2009 presidential candidacy
2.2 2008 arrest
2.3 Allegations of intimidation and 2009 legal charges
4 External links
Muluzi was the candidate of the opposition UDF in the May 1994 presidential election, the country's first multiparty election. He won the election with 47% of the vote, defeating Malawi's leader since independence, Hastings Kamuzu Banda. He was re-elected in June 1999, taking 52.4% of the vote and defeating challenger Gwanda Chakuamba. In 2002 he proposed an amendment to Malawi's constitution that would have allowed him to run for a third term, but this was abandoned due to demonstrations against him. He therefore stepped down after the May 2004 election, in which UDF candidate Bingu wa Mutharika was elected to succeed Muluzi as President.
Muluzi came to lead the UDF after leaving the Banda government, and he became an advocate for democracy. Muluzi's time as President was marred by controversy and scandal, particularly due to the sale of Malawi's reserves of maize to other countries shortly before the onset of a drought, which resulted in famine throughout the country. Despite international pressure, the millions of dollars realized from the sale of Malawi's food reserves have never been turned over, and it is widely suspected that it wound up in foreign accounts belonging to Muluzi and his supporters.
Even with the controversy and questionable dealings, Muluzi was a popular leader, particularly in southern part of the country. He remains the Chairman of the UDF, and after a dispute with his successor as President, Mutharika, the latter left the UDF and formed his own party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), in February 2005. In April 2005, Muluzi apologized to Malawians for choosing Mutharika as his successor "and imposing him on the country".
On July 27, 2006, Muluzi was arrested on fraud and corruption charges; he was released on bail later that day. Hours after his arrest, the chief investigator Gustav Kaliwo was suspended by President Mutharika and Director of Public Prosecutions Ishmael Wadi said he had no choice but to drop the charges. Dr. Bakili Muluzi was once more arrested on 26 February 2009 and initially charged with 86 counts of corruption and abuse of office. He is being accused of allegedly diverting 1.7 billion Malawi Kwacha (US$11m) of donor money into his personal account. The said money, among others, came from the Republic of Taiwan, the Kingdom of Morocco and Libya.
 2009 presidential candidacy
In early March 2007, with many prominent members of the UDF calling for Muluzi to run for president in 2009, the party said that he would have until March 11 to declare whether he intended to run. Accordingly, on that date Muluzi announced that he would seek the party's nomination as its presidential candidate. The question of whether Muluzi is eligible to run again has raised some controversy. Because the constitution refers to a limit of two consecutive terms, this could be regarded as enabling Muluzi to run again after being out of office for a term.
The Chairman of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), Alex Nampota, announced on March 17, 2008 that the ACB intended to prosecute Muluzi for allegedly diverting about 11 million dollars of donor money into his personal account; Nampota said that the ACB had asked the courts to lift an injunction that prevented it from questioning Muluzi. Kennedy Makwangwala, the Secretary-General of the UDF, denounced this as "political persecution".
On April 24, 2008, a UDF convention chose Muluzi as the party's 2009 presidential candidate. He received 1,950 votes against 38 for Vice-President Cassim Chilumpha.
On March 20, 2009 the Malawi Electoral Commission passed a judgement to bar Bakili Muluzi from running for the presidency for the third time. Muluzi challenged this, but on May 16, only three days before the election, the Constitutional Court ruled that Muluzi could not run again. By that point, Muluzi and the UDF had thrown their support behind the candidacy of John Tembo, the President of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP).
 2008 arrest
After Mutharika formed the DPP in 2005, over 70 Members of Parliament joined the DPP; the opposition, including the UDF, has sought to have these MPs expelled from their seats for switching parties. In May 2008, Mutharika said that Muluzi was trying to remove him from office by depriving the DPP MPs of their seats; to press its demand for the removal of the DPP MPs, the opposition had refused to debate any government bills. Mutharika called Muluzi a "coward" and accused him of treason. Speaking on Joy Radio, a station he owns, on May 12, 2008, Muluzi denied any plot against Mutharika and expressed exasperation with threats made by Mutharika.
Eight prominent associates of Muluzi were arrested shortly afterward in connection with the alleged plot to overthrow Mutharika; an arrest warrant was also issued for Muluzi, who was in the United Kingdom at the time on holiday. In connection with the investigation into this alleged plot, police attempted to search Muluzi's home on May 14, but his guards barred them from entry. According to an aide to Muluzi, Humphrey Mvula, the police said that they wanted to remove guns from the home, but Mvula said that these guns had been issued by the police themselves for Muluzi's protection. On the same day, Muluzi said on Joy Radio that he would return to Malawi from the United Kingdom regardless of the alleged plot. By May 25, all but one of the eight arrested associates of Muluzi had been released on bail.
When Muluzi returned on May 25, 2008, he was arrested at the airport in Lilongwe. Muluzi had planned to address a UDF rally upon his arrival, and police surrounded the stadium where the rally was to be held. Thousands of infuriated supporters of Muluzi clashed with the police and blocked roads following his arrest. Muluzi was promptly flown to Blantyre, placed under house arrest at his home in Limbe, near Blantyre, and interrogated. His home was also searched by the police. Muluzi was questioned for about two hours and was shown documents which purportedly linked him to the alleged plot. Speaking on Joy Radio on May 27, Muluzi said that the documents were "laughable and fake" and accused the government of attempting to "intimidate and silence the opposition". His lawyers said on the same day that they would seek bail for Muluzi. According to one lawyer, the only people allowed into Muluzi's home by the police were four lawyers and a bodyguard, and he had been asked to name family members and lawyers who would be given permission to visit.
On May 29, Muluzi, who had still not been charged, appeared at the High Court in Blantyre for his bail application. On his arrival, he declared that the government was "useless". Fahad Assani, the head of Muluzi's legal team, described the arrest as "illegal and unconstitutional" and demanded his release from house arrest. According to Assani, because more than 48 hours had passed and Muluzi had not been charged, it was necessary for him to be released "without any conditions". Wezi Kayira, the Director of Public Prosecutions, urged the court to reject the bail application, stressing that treason was "a very serious offence which carries a heavy penalty"; he said that investigations were continuing and expressed concern that they "would be jeopardised and evidence tampered with". Kayira also requested that the court impose "very strict conditions" if it chose to grant bail.
Judge Joseph Manyumgwa granted Muluzi bail on May 30, saying that in the absence of any charges against Muluzi he had to be released. According to Manyumgwa, Muluzi had the right to bail regardless of "the gravity of the alleged offence". Kayira said the investigation was ongoing and that charges would follow. anamuwonongera tsongoro.
 Allegations of intimidation and 2009 legal charges
Speaking to Capital Radio on 22 February 2009, Muluzi accused the government of using intimidation against his presidential candidacy and warned that such conduct could lead to "problems". A few days later, he was charged by the Anti-Corruption Bureau with stealing 12 million dollars of aid money; he appeared before a court in Blantyre and was released on bail. He appeared in court again on 12 March 2009 but failed to enter a plea on the 86 graft charges against him. Kalekeni Kaphale, a lawyer for Muluzi, asked for a delay, arguing that "this is the first time someone has been charged with such a volume of cases" in Malawi and that, since the defense had not seen the charges until early March, it needed "at least 14 days to study them to make proper responses".
^ Elections in Malawi, African Elections Database.
^ "Malawi president forms new party", BBC News, February 10, 2005.
^ "Malawi president 'a bad choice'", BBC News, April 5, 2005.
^ Raphael Tenthani, "Former president held for corruption charges", Associated Press (IOL), July 27, 2006.
^ "Malawi anti-graft chief suspended", BBC News, July 28, 2006.
^ "Muluzi appears in court, seeks more time to take plea", Afrique en ligne.
^ Steven Pembamoyo Banda and Emmanuel Muwamba, "UDF gives Muluzi 7 days to declare candidacy", The Nation (Malawi), March 5, 2007.
^ Mabvuto Banda, "Muluzi is prepared to run for office again", Reuters (IOL), March 12, 2007.
^ Anthony Kasunda, "Lawyers divided over Muluzi's candidacy", The Nation (Malawi), March 11, 2007.
^ "Malawi gunning for former president", Reuters (IOL), March 18, 2008.
^ "Tough times ahead for Muluzi", Sapa-AFP (IOL), April 25, 2008.
^ "Malawi court dismiss ex-president's bid for office", AFP, 16 May 2009.
^ "Malawi court delays decision on ex-president's run", AFP, May 15, 2009.
^ "Malawi police arrest ex-security, political chiefs over allegations of coup plot", Associated Press (International Herald Tribune), May 13, 2008.
^ a b c d e f "Lawyer says former Malawi president arrested", Associated Press (International Herald Tribune), May 25, 2008.
^ a b Mabvuto Banda, "Malawi coup plot: police grill Muluzi", Reuters (IOL), May 26, 2008.
^ a b "Muluzi appears in court", Sapa-AFP (IOL), May 29, 2008.
^ "Malawi police investigating coup plot visit home of former president, turned away by guards", Associated Press (International Herald Tribune), May 15, 2008.
^ a b c d "Police fail to formally charge Muluzi", Sapa-AFP (IOL), May 27, 2008.
^ "Muluzi granted bail", Sapa-Associated Press (IOL), May 30, 2008.
^ "Malawi's former president complains of 'intimidation'", AFP, 22 February 2009.
^ "Malawi ex-president charged with graft", AFP, 26 February 2009.
^ "Muluzi seeks delay in graft case", Sapa-AFP (IOL), 13 March 2009.
Born Elson Bakili Muluzi, March 17, 1943, Machinga, Malawi (then Nyasaland); has two wives and seven children;
Education: Malosa Secondary School; Boton College of Education, England; Thisted College of Further Education, Denmark.
Politics: Leader of Malawi's United Democratic Front (UDF) party.
National Assembly, member, 1975-1982; Junior Minister for Youth and Culture, 1976; Minister of Education, 1976-77; Minister without Portfolio, 1977-81; Minister of Transport and Communications, 1981-82; Malawe Congress Party (MCP), Secretary-General and Administrative Secretary 1977-81; founded United Democratic Front in 1992; elected president of Malawi, 1994.
When the nation of Malawi gained its independence from Great Britain in 1964, Hastings Kamuzu Banda was seen as a hero of liberation. Bakili Muluzi's victory over him in the country's first free election thirty years later marked the beginning of a new phase in the history of Malawi. After three decades under the despotic rule of Banda, a classic third-world strongman, the 9.7 million people of Malawi voted to oust the 90-some year old dictator in favor of Muluzi, a former member of the Banda cabinet. The election of Muluzi, a successful businessman, brought hope to many that economic conditions in that country, one of the poorest in the world, might improve by the end of the 20th century.
Before gaining its independence from Britain, Malawi, located in a mountainous region of southeastern Africa, was known as Nyasaland. Muluzi was born in the village of Machinga, located in the southern part of the country. In a country where only 36 percent of the population is literate, Muluzi was fortunate enough to come from a family to whom education was available. After receiving his early schooling in his home country, Muluzi, like so many other future statesmen, went to Europe for his higher education. His interest from the start was in education itself. In England Muluzi attended the Bolton College of Education. He then transplanted to Denmark for additional study at the Thisted College of Further Education.
While Muluzi was receiving his training abroad, at home Banda was consolidating his power. Banda was trained as a doctor, and had practiced medicine for decades in England before returning to Malawi to join the struggle for independence. Banda's Malawi Congress Party emerged victorious in Nyasaland's 1961 general elections, and Banda himself was made prime minister two years later. He was among the leaders of the protests that led to the creation of the Republic of Malawi on July 5, 1964. Banda became president of the republic in 1966. Under Banda, Malawi became a one-party state, in which political dissent was handled harshly. Banda changed his title to president-for-life in 1971.
Muluzi, upon his return from academia in Europe, quickly ascended Banda's Malawi Congress Party (MCP), the only game in town for somebody with political ambitions. In 1975 he was elected to parliament, where he was given a series of ministerial posts of increasing power and prestige. He was named Junior Minister for Youth and Culture in 1976. Later the same year, Muluzi was promoted to Minister of Education. He received the title Minister Without Portfolio in 1977, as well as Secretary General of the party. Muluzi held those posts through 1981. During this period, Muluzi became one of the most powerful individuals in Malawi, a member of Banda's inner circle.
In 1982 Muluzi abruptly fell out of favor. That year his job was changed to Minister of Transport and Communications, clearly a demotion that sliced into his power. He left government for the private sector shortly after this shift in his title. There is disagreement among sources as to what led to his exit from public life. Muluzi asserted that he resigned from the MCP out of fear for his life. He believed that his growing power within the party made him a likely target for Banda's wrath--wrath that had turned other such targets, according to prevalent rumors and the rhetoric of Banda's own articulated threats, into "meat for crocodiles." Given the mysterious deaths of numerous Banda opponents over the years, such fear would have been reasonable. Other accounts claimed that Muluzi simply left because he could make more money as a businessman or that he was pushed aside by other party leaders in the ongoing struggle for influence.
For much of the time he was out of government, Muluzi served as deputy head of Malawi's national chamber of commerce. When startling changes began to take place in Malawi in the early 1990s, Muluzi felt prepared to re-emerge as a force in national politics. In March of 1992, Malawi's Roman Catholic bishops penned an open letter that sharply criticized the Banda regime's terrible human rights record. The letter, which was read in churches throughout the predominantly Catholic country, called for an end to one-party rule and a general increase in political and personal freedoms.
The stir created by the pastoral letter had a huge ripple effect. Initially Banda reacted in his typical harsh manner, and wholesale arrests were made. Eventually, however, the demands for reform became too loud to ignore, especially when backed by the voices of Western democracies, whose aid accounted for a huge share of Malawi's national budget. Under intense pressure, the government agreed to hold a referendum on one-party rule, and in June of 1993, a two-thirds majority approved the institution of a new multi-party system. In spite of arrests, intimidation, and even the murders of several activists, Banda and company allowed the transition to proceed.
Practically overnight, parties of every political ilk were organized. The two most important opposition parties to appear were founded in September of 1993. One was Muluzi's United Democratic Front (UDF). The other major opposition party was the Alliance for Democracy (AFORD), led by popular labor leader Chakufwa Chihana.
The first general election of Malawi's multi-party era took place on May 17, 1994, and by nearly all accounts it was free and fair. Muluzi was the winner, with his UDF capturing 1.2 million of the 3.7 million votes cast. Banda's MCP collected 800,000 votes, thereby retaining a healthy number of seats in parliament. AFORD and Chihana received about 600,000 votes. Votes were cast very much along regional lines, with Muluzi controlling the heavily populated southern part of the country where he was born. Banda dominated in the central regional, while Chihana did well in the north. With this victory, Muluzi replaced the world's oldest head of state.
The transition of power was remarkably peaceful. Banda was surprisingly gracious in defeat, expressing that he would fully support the Muluzi government. Muluzi, by the same token, vowed that there would be no retribution against former members of the Banda regime, some investigation of governmental abuses under Banda would take place. Muluzi announced that his priorities would be to boost Malawi's floundering economy and alleviate the country's desperate poverty. He also pledged to improve health care, education, and roads. Under Muluzi, there has also been a great deal of loosening of the strict rules of behavior that existed under Banda, such as the national dress code that forbade women to wear pants and nixed long hair on men.
After the election, many observers expected Muluzi to seek a coalition with AFORD, including an offer of a top cabinet post to Chihana. Instead, however, the two parties engaged in a lot of bickering. In a move that surprised even members of his own party, Muluzi named Justin Malewezi, a former secretary to Banda, vice president. While talks with AFORD floundered, Muluzi's cabinet was filled by others, many of whom were old-time Banda personnel.
The UDF and Chihana's AFORD officially united as one party in July of 1995 in a deal that made Chihana the country's second vice- president. This pact also promised that 30 percent of all political appointees would be from AFORD's ranks. Despite the political marriage and the unexpected end to a drought that had ravaged Malawi's agriculture for three-years, tensions increased in December as accusations of favoritism and dishonesty were levied. Muluzi's distribution of World Bank funds and his appointment of senior officials without consulting UDF leaders angered Chihana. Though AFORD claimed Muluzi had not kept his promises, the new president served notice that he would not tolerate the violence and human rights abuses of his predecessor's government by immediately closing some of the country's prisons, "a legacy of the total abuse of human rights," according to Muluzi. In January of 1995 Banda was arrested in connection with the murders of four former rivals.
In addition to the obvious tasks of battling poverty and improving the living conditions of his countrymen, Muluzi faces a number of important challenges. He must sustain the momentum that has been gained on the human rights front since 1992 in a country that has grown accustomed to living at the mercy of an eccentric dictator's whims. One of Muluzi's most important chores, however, is even more trying: to create a democratic culture that neatly fits with the new, more democratic government they have managed to construct.
Africa Report, July/August 1994, pp. 49, 52; November/December 1994, pp. 56-59, 60-62.
Christian Science Monitor, May 20, 1994, p. 6.
Economist, May 21, 1994, p. 46.
Facts on File, May 26, 1994, p. 386.
Facts on File World News Digest, January 19, 1995, p. 39.
New York Times, May 20, 1994, p. A1.
Post (Zambia), January 25, 1996.
Washington Post, May 20, 1994, p. A27.
News Articles about Bakili Muluzi
World Briefing | Africa: Malawi: Agents Raid Ex-President's Home
By MICHAEL WINES (NYT)
Police raid homes of former Malawian Pres Bakili Muluzi and son as part of political corruption inquiry launched under administration of current Pres Bingu wa Mutharika; Muluzi is accused of diverting $12 million in political donors' funds to personal use
October 28, 2005
MORE ON BAKILI MULUZI AND: FINANCES, POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT, ETHICS, MALAWI, MUTHARIKA, BINGU WA Malawi Leader Accuses Predecessor in Death Plot
President Bingu wa Mutharika of Malawi said the plot involved members of his own governing party, the United Democratic Front.
January 7, 2005
MORE ON BAKILI MULUZI AND: TREASON, ASSASSINATIONS AND ATTEMPTED ASSASSINATIONS, POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT, MALAWI, MUTHARIKA, BINGU WA World Briefing | Africa: Malawi: Vote For A New Leader
By MICHAEL WINES (NYT)
Malawi parliamentary elections, which are nation's third democratic elections since ending three decades of dictatorship in 1994, draw large number of voters; President Bakili Muluzi is retiring after 10 years as leader and new Parliament will choose his successor
May 21, 2004
MORE ON BAKILI MULUZI AND: SUSPENSIONS, DISMISSALS AND RESIGNATIONS, LEGISLATURES AND PARLIAMENTS, POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT, ELECTIONS, MALAWI World Briefing | Africa: Malawi: Leader Offers Aids Policy And Reveals A Death
Malawi President Bakili Muluzi introduces first AIDS program for nation where estimated 15 percent of people are HIV positive; shares personal story of his brother Dickson, who died of AIDS three years ago; photo
February 11, 2004
MORE ON BAKILI MULUZI AND: ACQUIRED IMMUNE DEFICIENCY SYNDROME, MALAWI, MULUZI, DICKSON World Briefing | Africa: Malawi: President Survives Car Crash
Malawi President Bakili Muluzi and his entourage are involved in five-car pileup; President suffers no injuries
January 9, 2004
MORE ON BAKILI MULUZI AND: ACCIDENTS AND SAFETY, ROADS AND TRAFFIC, POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT, MALAWI World Briefing | Africa: Malawi: Broader Role For President
Malawi President Bakili Muluzi's United Democratic Front party accepts new organization constitution giving him more power as chairman of group in preparation for end of Presidential term in 2004; photo
July 8, 2003
MORE ON BAKILI MULUZI AND: POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT, MALAWI Negotiations in Zimbabwe Fail to Break Political Crisis
By GINGER THOMPSON
Three of Africa's most powerful presidents fail to break stalemate between Pres Robert Mugabe and his leading opponents that has pushed Zimbabwe to brink of economic collapse; meeting of three had raised hopes for start of peaceful resolution; Mugabe made veiled comments two weeks ago about being ready to retire, but three are careful to avoid any public talk of change in leadership in country; opposition party, international human rights groups and several foreign governments, including United...
May 6, 2003
MORE ON BAKILI MULUZI AND: FRAUDS AND SWINDLING, UNITED STATES INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT, SUITS AND LITIGATION, ETHICS, ELECTIONS, ECONOMIC CONDITIONS AND TRENDS, FREEDOM AND HUMAN RIGHTS, MALAWI, ZIMBABWE, SOUTH AFRICA, NIGERIA, MBEKI, THABO, OBASANJO, OLUSEGUN, MUGABE, ROBERT Three Leaders to Push Zimbabwe for Talks
By GINGER THOMPSON
Presidents of three African nations will travel to Zimbabwe to push for talks between Pres Robert Mugabe's government and opposition leaders; South African Pres Thabo Mbeki, Nigerian Pres Olusegun Obasanjo and Malawi Pres BakiliMuluzi are expected to urge Mugabe to step aside and allow establishment of transition govnerment; outrage has mounted in their countries over reports of systematic human rights violations by Mugabe's government, including arrest and torture of hundreds of opposition sup...
May 5, 2003
MORE ON BAKILI MULUZI AND: POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT, FREEDOM AND HUMAN RIGHTS, MALAWI, ZIMBABWE, SOUTH AFRICA, NIGERIA, MBEKI, THABO, OBASANJO, OLUSEGUN, MUGABE, ROBERT World Briefing | Africa: Malawi: No Third Term
By RACHEL L. SWARNS (NYT)
Malawi's governing party withdraws legislation that would have allowed President Bakili Muluzi to run for third term; decision is made in wake of angry demonstrations in Blantyre
January 30, 2003
MORE ON BAKILI MULUZI AND: POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT, DEMONSTRATIONS AND RIOTS, ELECTIONS, MALAWI, BLANTYRE (MALAWI) Blantyre Journal; Not Your Usual Vampires, but Scary Nonetheless
By RACHEL L. SWARNS
Malawi, despite best efforts of its government, is in grip of form of hysteria, certain that vampires are attacking villages; anxious crowds have already killed at least two people believed to be bloodsuckers; hoping to end mounting hysteria, police have arrested nearly 40 people and charged them with spreading lies and falsehoods; some people speculate that villagers are imagining things; others blame hungry thieves for creating havoc; Pres Bakili Muluzi accuses opposition of stirring up troub...
January 14, 2003
MORE ON BAKILI MULUZI AND: VAMPIRES, POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT, MALAWI