Peter Mutharika hands himself in to police, Kalirani arrested: Malawi transition plot

Opposition DPP president Peter Mutharika has handed himself in to police in Blantyre after an arrest warrant was issued on him in relation to the transition plot when his brother late president Bingu wa Mutharika died after a heart attack last year.

Police raided Mutharika’s house in the wee hours of Monday but failed to find him.

Mutharika dressed in a black suit, blue shirt and red neck tie presented himself to Southern region police station shortly after 10 am.

He arrived on a Toyota Prado VX registration number PK4499 and looked calm.

Mutharika was accompanied by his loyalists Letson Mulli, Noel Msangwi and Francis Mphepho.

Peter Mutharika; Handing himself in at police

Peter Mutharika; Handing himself in at police

Lawyers Kalekeni Kaphale and Chancy Gondwe also joined him.

Before Mutharika entered the police, there was tension between scores of DPP supporters who had gathered as they wanted to accompany their party leader for questioning. It took 15 minutes before Mutharika entered the police.

Earlier, Police arrested former Information Minister Patricia Kaliati, former Local Government Minister Henry Mussa and former  presidential guard commander Duncan Mwapasa in connection to events surrounding the death of Mutharika.

Also arrested is former health minister Dr Jean Kalirani and lawmaker Kondwani Nankhumwa.

Police said they are interested to interrogate them on their key role played  in the failed plot to block President Joyce Banda from ascending to power.

An official commission of inquiry into circumstances leading to the death Mutharika exposed the transitional plot.

The report released last week, highlighted the key role Economic Planning and Development Minister Goodall Gondwe, the Chief Secretray to Office of President and Cabinet (OPC), Bright Msaka, with Mutharika’s brother, Peter played in the failed plot.

An inquiry revealed shocking details of how Gondwe, Msaka and Peter Mutharika tried to block Banda from ascending to power circumventing the Constitution.

The inquiry also revealed that Mutharika died on April 5, 2012 on his way to the hospital in the capital Lilongwe and not in South Africa as claimed by government and the late President’s family last year.

The damning report showcased how the three officials flipped flop in their statements made before the Commission when they were asked to explain why the Vice President was kept in the dark about the death of Mutharika.

Msaka still heads of the public service. Many expect the trio to resign because of the damning evidence in the report against them.

According to the Commission of Inquiry Report, when doctors pronounced President Mutharika dead at Kamuzu Central Hospital, Peter Muntharika called Msaka aside and asked him if the Malawi Defence Force would take over.

A law lecturer at the University of Malawi’s Chancellor College in Zomba, Edge Kanyongolo has  since said attempts by some members of late Mutharika’s Cabinet to set up a transitional leadership after his death is tantamount to treason.

Kanyongolo said the Constitution states that when a vacancy occurs in the office of the President, the Vice-President assumes the presidency; hence, it is automatic and that the swearing-in ceremony is “merely formality to confirm the assumption of office that arises by operation of law.”

The renowned constitutional law expert further added that the concealment of Mutharika’s death on April 5 2012 as revealed in the report, is also illegal.

Meanwhile,  Police have been charged the politicians with ‘insinuating to break a law’ which is contrary to Section 124 of the Republican Constitution, according to Southern Region Police publicist Nicholas Gondwa.

While Duncan Mwapasa, who was the guard commander to late Bingu wa Mutharika has been charged with ‘prohibiting government officials from executing their duties contrary to Section 126 of the constitution.

DPP supporters at police station

DPP supporters at police station

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