Malawi Vice President Saulos Chilima faces a death threat, according to a leaked text message that was sent to a wrong number.
In a twist of events, a senior intelligence official sent a message to a wrong number as he mistakenly thought he was sending to his juniors who were assigned for an unspecified task against the Vice President.
The message landed in the handset of a Mr Kumbanga of National Food Reserve Agency. It appeared to be a follow-up as to how far the team had gone with the assignment of some unspecified clandestine activity concerning the Vice President.
“Did you find zija ndinakutumani about the VP? As we said last time, he likes attending Catholic events. That’s where you can start.”, the message says. “We need to move fast.” When Mr Kumbanga asked for clarification, the sender of the message wrote back, “Sorry, wrong number. Please, ignore.”
Meanwhile, the Vice President’s security detail has been tipped to be very alert following the leakage of the information.
A source within the hierarchy of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) says Director of the National Intelligence Bureau, Nicholas Dausi, and Minister of Local Government, Kondwani Nankhumwa, are behind the clandestine operation.
Attempts to reach Vice President Chilima or his office to comment on this story proved futile, but a source familiar with the Vice President’s security arrangements confirmed the existence of the threat.
“Yes, we have received that information,” he said.
“But whoever is planning such things needs to know that Malawians will not let them assassinate our Vice President and get away with it. It’s one thing to kill Issa Njauju, but it’s another to kill our Vice President.”
Both Dausi and Nankhumwa did not respond to telephone calls.
Speculation is rife that President Peter Mutharika – who has not returned from the United Nations General Assembly one month after departure – is seriously ill and admitted to the Robert Wood Johnson University in New Jersey, where he is said to have undergone a brain surgery to remove a tumor.
In various press releases and also in an interview with the BBC, Information Minister Maliseni Ndau has harrumphed, claiming the president is enjoying “robust health” in the US and that he is meeting nameless individuals “one by one.”
On Tuesday, the President’s Press Secretary, Mgeme Kalilani announced that the president will arrive on Sunday at 1 p.m., although sources say government is weighing options to fly him late at night to avoid scrutiny.
Gerald Chavez Kampanikiza, a Facebook activist who often has accurate top secret government information, says Mutharika’s family is strongly opposed to the president’s proposed travel this Sunday as he is not fit to travel.
“He is experiencing bouts of dizziness, weakness, poor balance and body coordination and sometimes appears confused,” says Kampanikiza.
He added: “The president is also suffering speech problems and there have been five occasions of fits/seizures in the past ten days. Doctors are against him traveling long distance at the moment.”
Section 87 of the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi says: “Whenever the President is incapacitated so as to be unable to discharge the powers and duties of that office, the Vice-President shall act as President, until such time, in the President’s term of office, as the President is able to resume his or her functions.”
The rank and file of the ruling DPP are said to be afraid of Chilima taking over as they view him as an outsider both in the party and also because he is not a member of the Lomwe tribe, where Mutharika hails from.
They also fear that Chilima could take drastic steps to end the corruption and self-enrichment that is prevalent among the president’s cronies.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :