Blantyre - Malawi leader Peter Mutharika has said the culture of hatred resulted in him being hunted like a criminal at the time he was campaigning for the presidency.Mutharika said it was only by the grace of God that he managed to survive five assassination plots in the run up to Malawi’s national elections in 2014.“When I was campaigning to lead this country, I was hunted like a criminal. I survived five assassination attempts. I am happy that most of you gave me refuge, solace and courage. You have been the fortitude of the persecuted as Christ wishes,” he said during the consecration of a bishop at the weekend.Mutharika said one of the challenges facing Malawi was the culture of hate and envy that derailed people from fighting poverty. “There is a war of good and evil in the country. Every time people fight for the good, evil fights them and every time people fight to take others to light, darkness and its forces interfere,” he said.Usual complaintMutharika has over the past two years been complaining about the persecution he suffered when his predecessor Joyce Banda was in power.Among others, Mutharika regularly cites his arrest over allegations of plotting a coup d’etat when he was in opposition as an example of persecution.During the Banda regime, Mutharika faced treason charges for allegedly trying to prevent Banda from ascending into power.Treason slammedMany analysts have said authorities in Malawi use treason charges to silence those in opposition or government critics.One prominent Malawian lawyer recently observed that it was time Malawians demanded answers as to why a lot of resources were spent on sedition and treason offences without any appreciable progress being registered.The lawyer Khumbo Soko said cases of treason pointed to an unprincipled use of law enforcement powers by the state. “The history of prosecution of treason offences in this country, especially since 1994, is rather troubling,” he said.Cases of politicians and army officers in Malawi who are arrested over treason cases end up being dropped or in acquittals.