Blantyre, Malawi | AFP |
Malawian President Peter Mutharika said Friday he was in “excellent health”, dismissing rumours of illness as he made his first comments after an extended trip to the United States.
“I am not sick. I am still alive and I have more than nine lives,” the 76-year-old joked after returning home last weekend amid widespread speculation about his health.
Mutharika entered the press conference in the administrative capital Lilongwe, waving both hands to an audience of media, cabinet ministers, supporters and diplomats.
Last Sunday when he disembarked from his plane from the US, his right arm appeared stiff and he instead used his left arm to wave and to shake hands with officials.
He told the press conference he was unable to use his right hand then because of “slight rheumatism”.
“It’s getting better now. I am really fine and there is nothing to worry. I hope that puts to rest the rumours about my health,” he added to wild applause and dancing from supporters.
He said if he was sick, he would have been “crazy” to leave the US and fly home.
When Mutharika extended his stay in the US for two weeks after the UN General Assembly in New York, his office condemned rumours that he was critically ill as “baseless, malicious and sickening”.
It threatened legal action against anyone responsible for “damaging rumour-mongering”.
Mutharika, a former lawyer, was elected in 2014 for a five-year term.