Confusion in Mutharika govt over ‘fake’ coup

First were Members of Parliament from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to allege that some Malawians were plotting to overthrow the Bingu wa Mutharika government on 14th March this year. The party’s Vice President and a senior cabinet minister, Goodall Gondwe followed suit.

A few days later, it was Mutharika himself publicly echoing the allegations and now it has become almost an anthem for members of the ruling party that the civil society groups with support from some Western donors are planning to overthrow Mutharika.

However, the allegations are slowly brewing confusion in the governing party with Gondwe, in an effort to reclaim his respected-but-now-fading political image, disassociating himself from the grave claims.

Kaliati: There is a plot to overthrow Mutharika

Gondwe speech is on record after he was quoted by the country’s private media including Nyasa Times saying the civil society wants “to throw the country into pandemonium on the 14th of this month to remove Bingu and put someone in presidency.”

But the accomplished economist has now backtracked claiming he is not party to the coup plot allegations insisting the media misquoted him because he cannot make such claims.

Gondwe’s twist of events however is being viewed as a challenge to his boss and the government as a whole because it insists it has intelligence information on the alleged coup plot.

Government Spokesperson Patricia Kaliati who is also Minister of Information and Civic Education says “whether Gondwe backtracks or not government knows that the civil rights groups and opposition parties are being funded by foreigners to overthrow it.”

She claimed further that the civil society leaders with funding from some Western donors were holding secret meetings locally and internationally planning for their intentions to topple the Mutharika regime through vigils and street demonstrations slated for this month.

“You must know that as government, we have eyes and ears to see and hear from every corner. Are you not surprised that we are aware of all your meetings which you conduct both locally and internationally and enriching yourselves with the donor funds at the expense of poor Malawians,” declared the vocal minister.

She gave an example of a meeting held in South Africa last Sunday [March 4, 2012] which she claimed was attended by the civil society leaders and donors whom she could not mention and what was discussed at the meeting.

But one DPP lady member from the southern region told Nyasa Times some party officials were against the strategies being applied by the party hence Gondwe’s change of tune.

“I just read in the papers and heard on radio about Honourable Gondwe’s issue but what I know is that many of our members are not amused with the allegations. We are just told what to say when we do not even have evidence of what we are uttering, the situation is really tense,” she said on Wednesday opting not to be identified.

She said the claims of a coup plot were a complete fallacy being pursued by the party in order to confuse Malawians so that people sympathise with Mutharika and his government.

However, the alleged coup plotters, opposition parties and civil rights groups, have maintained their innocence on the matter while the donor community has also vehemently denied bankrolling a coup other than clean and noticeable activities.

The Mutharika administration, under extreme pressure to bring back on track the country’s lifeless economy, is attempting a number of fake coups through the intelligence unit and other undetectable intelligence collaborators.

No government or party official has come forward with factual evidence on the coup allegations, a development that has filling fear in critics who fell the claims will create a pretext for Mutharika to declare a state of emergency that would give him broad security powers.

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