Malawi's Banda to investigate Mutharika transition plot
President Joyce Banda has announced an inquiry into an alleged plot by the inner circle of Malawi's late former leader to block her rise to power.
“By public demand, I have decided to immediately set up a commission of inquiry to investigate the circumstances and intent of the alleged coup plot,” Banda told Parliament in a speech broadcast on national radio on Friday.
Banda said she had been “receiving a lot of requests” from Malawians to institute the probe since the death of her predecessor Bingu wa Mutharika on April 5.
Mutharika, who had been president since 2004, died following a heart attack.
He had anointed his brother Peter, the former foreign affairs minister, as his heir apparent, even though Banda, as Mutharika’s vice-president, was next in line to succeed him at his death.
She was not sworn in until April 7 after two days of backroom dealing.
Media reported that several ministers had met twice to seek ways of installing Peter Mutharika as the new president instead.
“Depending on the outcome [of the inquiry], appropriate action will be taken for important lessons to be learned,” Banda said.
She also announced a probe into Mutharika’s death “to establish ... the cause of death, medical attention available to the president at the time of his death and the role and activities of various individuals during and after the transition”.
Banda has taken over an economy hobbled by shortages of fuel and foreign currency, making life even more difficult in one of the world’s poorest countries. – AFP