There is confusion over the precise date of death for late president Bingu wa Mutharika who suffered a fatal heart attack on April 5
The 78-year-old leader, reviled by many in Malawi and the international community, was rushed to hospital after collapsing on April 5, but could not be saved.
He died on the same day according to doctors who treated him at Kamuzu Central Hospital.
But the white cross before Mutharika’s casket reads: “Died 07 April 2012.”
Medical sources said Mutharika was airlifted to South Africa military hospital clinically dead on April 5 because the power and energy crisis in Malawi is so severe the hospital could not carry out a proper autopsy or even keep his body refrigerated.
Late on April 6 2012, former minister Patricia Kaliati accompanied by fellow Cabinet ministers at the time Symon Vuwa Kaunda (Sports), Dr Jean Kalilani (Health) and Henry Mussa (Local Government and Rural Development) and deputy ministers Nicholas Dausi (in the Office of the President and Cabinet), and Kondwani Nakhumwa (Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation), said Vice President then Joyce Banda could not assume the presidency because she formed her own political party, the People’s Party (PP).
But by operation of Section 83 (4) of the Constitution, Her Excellency Banda automatically became President following Mutharika’s incapacitation and subsequent death. Government formally announced Mutharika’s death on April 7.
Mutharika had become widely disliked by Malawians since becoming leader seven years ago, as many blamed him personally for the nation’s crippling economic woes.
He will be buried at a family mausoleum on his Ndata farm in tea growing southern district of Thyolo, 20km from commercial city Blantyre.