Bingu’s death probe to go ahead despite family disavows – JB

Malawi President Joyce Banda has said her government would still continue with the inquiry  into the death of her predecessor Bingu wa Mutharika  despite his family’s rejection of the probe.

Speaking  at a news conference  on arrival from visits to the United States  and Britain on Thursday, President Banda said the probe will help  end speculation of what happened to the death  of Mutharika .

The family last week rejected the probe as an “unjustified satanic mechanisation to advance personal and political agendas.”

President Banda: Late president was no longer a family member

But President Banda told reporters: “The late president was no longer a family member… he was the president of Malawi and there are rules how you look after a president.”

President Banda said the commission will among several areas investigate the circumstances leading to the death; the role some government officials and cabinet ministers played during transition in
the wake of reports of attempted coup during that period.

“All we are trying is to find out what happened, not who killed him,” said Banda.

“Is there anything we could have done to avoid his death, did he receive enough first aid, why were there three different signs of date of death?”

Banda  said there were a “lot of gaps” that needed to be filled with the probe to “end speculation” on why it took time for the government to announce his death “when the rest of the world was announcing the president had died.”

But the Mutharika  family said investigations will only drag the dignity of their late relative “into political duplicity that has nothing to do with establishing the truth”.

“It is the nation that wants to know the truth surrounding the former Head of State’s death.  He was our President and the law states that we take good care of him, which is why everyone else would want to know the whole truth about his death since we have had conflicting dates as to when he actually died,” said Banda.

President Mutharika died on April 5 after a cardiac arrest but there have been controversies over the actual date of his death as some put it April 6 while others put April 7.

This followed attempts to conceal the death as soon after his death authorities flew his body to
South Africa.

It was believed that this was done to buy time to manipulate the constitution so that Banda should not take over despite being backed by the Constitution as the first vice President of the
land then.

Mutharika had groomed his brother Peter, the former foreign minister, as his heir apparent.

Justice Elton Singini is chairing the commission of Inquiry.

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