Malawi Chief Justice Munlo retires early, bids farewell

Malawi Chief Justice Lovemore Munlo has gone into retirement earlier than scheduled , Nyasa Times understands.

Judiciary sources told Nyasa Times on Thursday that Munlo has bid farewell to the judges .

The development comes after Munlo has been linked with the leadership contest of opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) which he served in the past.

Munlo was accused last year by Malawi President Joyce Banda of being part of the plot to thwart her ascendancy to the presidency.

Banda—after assuming office last April following the death of then president Bingu wa Mutharika—told The Guardian Newspaper of the United Kingdom that Munlo participated in a conspiracy to foil her swearing-in as Head of State because, she claimed, he preferred Peter Mutharika, the late president’s younger brother who at the time was Foreign Affairs minister.

Munlo: Out of judiciary

Munlo: Out of judiciary

But Munlo was cleared of any wrongdoing by the Commission of Inquiry into Mutharika’s death—which also investigated machinations to stop Banda from taking over power

The Mutharika death commission of inquiry established that while Munlo visited Peter Mutharika’s residence twice on April 6 and 7 2012, none of the visits had anything to do with making Peter President of Malawi.

“From the totality of the evidence, the Commission established that there were no judges who gathered at Honourable Peter Mutharika’s house on the 6th or 7th April 2012 for the purposes of swearing in Honourable Peter Mutharika as acting president of the country.

“The Commission, however, established that the Chief Justice went to the house of Honourable Peter Mutharika on Friday, 6th and Saturday, 7th, April 2012 to offer his condolences to him on the death of the President as a family friend,” reads the report in part.

The report further says when Munlo returned from Tanzania after being recalled by chief secretary Bright Msaka following the emergency, the Chief Justice stayed in Lilongwe on instruction from then Attorney General Maxon Mbendera since he was told he was supposed to swear in a next president.

The report has led to the arrest of 11 DPP and top government officials for the roles they played in events surrounding the death of the late president Mutharika and the subsequent transfer of power.

The 11, who include DPP president Peter Mutharika, Economic Planning and Development Minister Goodall Gondwe, interdicted head of public service Bright Msaka and his deputy Necton Mhura.

Others are former ministers Patricia Kaliati (Information and Civic Education), Symon Vuwa Kaunda (Sports and Youth Development), Jean Kalirani (Health) and Henry Mussa (Local Government and Rural Development) as well as former deputy ministers Kondwani Nankhuni (Foreign Affairs) and Nicholas Dausi (Office of the President and Cabinet).

The accused were charged with, among other charges, treason, inciting mutiny, disobedience to statutory duty and giving false evidence to the Commission of Inquiry.

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