National Islamic Ijtma Committee of Malawi (NICM) has refuted allegations that the committee has divided over who to choose to be guest of honour between the State President Mrs Joyce Banda and former President Dr Bakili Muluzi.
On September 5, Malawi Muslims Official Website reported that all members in the committee had initially proposed to invite the State President to grace the event which was scheduled to take place in September this year but another rival camp emerged to fight against the initial proposal because they had not yet received any support from the government hence, the reason to push for the shifting of the event to October 5 in order to give a chance Muluzi who contributed K4 million, a half of this year’s total budget.
Muluzi is currently in South Africa for medical treatment.
Quoting a ‘well placed’ source, the website also reported that the other faction approached the former president to assist them financially, in the process promising him that the committee will try its best to sell his loved son Honourable Atupele Muluzi who is eyeing for the 2014 presidency under the UDF ticket.
However, in an interview on Sunday Vice Chairman for this year’s Ijtma organising committee Sheikh Aman Matiya refuted the allegations saying the committee has never been divided nor discussed anything about promotion of Honourable Atupele Muluzi’s 2014 presidency.
“Assertions made in an article on Wednesday on your website that we have a slight misunderstanding in our committee over who will be the guest of honour and that we want to promote Honourable Atupele’s candidacy is not true. The committee has never discussed that issue and even I as Matiya, cannot allow that gentleman to be our guest of honour. We fail to understand where that reporter got the information. I feel like that article was just aimed at confusing Muslims and sowing seeds of division between us and Malawi Government. As Muslims, I think sometimes we have to be sensitive on other issues like this,” said the vice chair.
Sheikh Matiya also said a confirmation by anonymous source quoted in the article is categorically false.
“These comments, attributed to an anonymous source don’t represent the truth of what we are discussing on the ground about guest of honour. Further, our guest of honour is Mufti Abbas Cassim and nobody else.”
However, Sheikh Matiya confirmed that the two (President Mrs Joyce Banda and Dr Bakili Muluzi) are on the list of to be invited guests but said there is no any agenda behind their invitation.
He also clarified that the money Muluzi contributed was not all from his pocket but from other well wishers as well.
“As a big man, we asked him to help us raise funds so he managed to get that amount form his colleagues but it is not all from his pocket,” he said.