Goodall speaks out on cabinet ‘coup plot’

Former minister Goodall Gondwe has said he is prepared to face the law over his role at the Cabinet meetings  which orchestrated a “constitutional coup d’état” following the death of president Bingu wa Mutharika.

President Joyce Banda has meanwhile disclosed that she has objective material evidence on the coup plot, saying a Cabinet minister who attended the meeting to plan the swearing in of Peter Arthur Mutharika after the death of his brother—came to officially brief her at her residence in Lilongwe.

Gondwe speaking on Capital FM Straight Talk interview programme on Thursday evening confirmed there were two Cabinet meetings since Mutharika died on April 5 after a cardiac arrest.

Gondwe: The whole cabinet met for 'constitutional coup'

“The meeting was convened by cabinet office. We met as a consultative meeting, this was told to us by the cabinet secretary. It was him who suggested  my name to preside the meeting,” said Gondwe.

Pressed to name the official who summoned the Cabinet meeting, Gondwe said he could not recall who telephoned him.

Asked by Brian Banda if the meetings discussed whether  the then vice president Joyce Banda could not take over power, Gondwe responded: “That is correct.”

He explained:  “We wanted to have an interpretation on whether a person that is not  in our party, according to the Constitution can have a right to succession. And we wanted the courts to tell us that.”

Gondwe confirmed  the  Cabinet wanted to drag in judges to sit as a Constitutional Court, re-examine and interpret Section 85 of the Constitution to determine whether someone from another party other than DPP could become the President in the event of the incapacitation or death of the President.

Banda heads People’s Party which she formed after being expelled from DPP when she opposed the move to have Peter Mutharika inherit power from his brother.

“It was a question of asking the interpretation of the Constitution,” said Gondwe. “There are two provisions in there , one is about succession and the other is if there is no one to succeed.”

He denied that they were plotting a coup.

“People have construed this to be a coup. A coup d’état does not discuss succession,” said Gondwe.

Quizzed by the interviewer  to explain his discrepancies when the constitution is clear that the Vice-President should take over in case of the incumbent’s incapacitation or death , Gondwe said: “Mr Banda this was a time when everybody was traumatised. We  wanted to have an interpretation.”

Asked on reports that they made arrangements for Peter Mutharika to be sworn in as President, Goodall said it is all “fabrication.”

“There was no time at which Peter was ready to be sworn in,” he said.

President Banda has also disclosed  that Chief Justice Lovemore Munlo and some judges were sitting at Peter Mutharika’s house waiting for the court order in order to swear him but Gondwe exonarated the top judge.

“Chief Justice was not in our meeting,” he said, adding “I will not comment on issues about the Chief Justice.”

Put to him that there is public outcry to press treason charges to the people who attempted to subvert the constitution on treason charges, Gondwe said:  “ Let’s have it. If asking for an interpretation of the constitution  and I don’t know whether interpreting the constitution is treason.”

During the interview, Brian Banda pressed Gondwe on some of his questionable conduct in defending the Mutharika dictatorship including ridiculing Public Affairs Committee for organising their “regime change” meeting in Blantyre.

Gondwe said: “ I don’t know what this interview is about . Is it about my relationship with Mutharika or not. If it’s about Mutharika I refuse to comment on anything relating to the former president because he is not with us.”

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