LILONGWE Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika yesterday collapsed with a suspected heart problem amid reports he was set to be airlifted to South Africa after doctors at Kamuzu Central Hospital reportedly failed to resuscitate him, medical sources said.
There were conflicting reports from Malawi at the time of going to Press last night on the state of the President, some saying waMutharika had died.
According to the reports from Malawi, officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to journalists, said the 78-year-old wa Mutharika was taken to Lilongwes Kamuzu Central Hospital in a very serious condition.
He collapsed while meeting an MP, Agness Penimulungu, according to the Nyasa Times newspaper.
The President has died, said a top government official who declined to be named. The
Nation newspaper reported that wa Mutharika arrived at the hospital in a green ambulance which was part of a three-vehicle convoy.
He was ferried on stretcher into the hospitals intensive care unit, the newspaper reported.
Associated Press and Reuters said his spokesperson Heatherwick Ntaba and other government officials could not immediately comment amid heavy security presence at the hospital.
His wife Callista arrived at the hospital at 1:45pm local time, but left two hours later, according to a Nation correspondent at the hospital.
Others were his brother Peter, his chief secretary Bright Msaka, national intelligence services director Bintony Kutsaira and State House chief of staff Edward Sawerengera. Health minister Jean Kalirani, police chief Peter Mukhito and Energy minister Goodall Gondwe were also among government officials at the hospital.
The news will inevitably lead to speculation about Malawis political future, but the constitution says the Vice-President takes over until the next elections.
Wa Mutharika is a former World Bank official once heralded for his stewardship of a Southern African country that is among the worlds poorest. In recent years, he has been accused of trampling on democratic rights. He first came to power in a 2004 election and was overwhelmingly re-elected five years later.
This past Sunday Nigerian prophet Temitope Balogun Joshua (TB Joshua) repeated his February prophecy that the death of an old African president is imminent. TB Joshua, who leads the Synagogue, Church of All Nations, announced that an African leader would die within 60 days.
God loves us. You should pray for one African head of state, when I say president . . . again the sickness that is likely to take life; sudden death, it could be sickness being in the body for a long time, but God showed me the country and the place, but Im not here to say anything like that, TB Joshua said in February.
On Sunday, TB Joshua narrowed down the location by excluding West Africa.
What I was saying is very close now. You want to hear more, and it is very, very close now. Whether you like it or not, this is what Ive seen. Pray for a leader. Well, God showed me everything, but Im praying to see if this thing can be changed, TB Joshua said, adding he would not say anything more than that.