JB address: ‘Midnight 6’, DPP cohorts face inquiries

President Mrs. Joyce Banda may not have explicitly mentioned the alleged ‘Midnight Six’ who were  involved in a scheme to subvert the constitutional order on the filling of the vacancy created after the death of former president Bingu wa Mutharika, but she has assured Malawians through parliament that government has set up an inquiry to investigate the allegations.

She has also not mentioned any political party or government officials, but special inquiries have also been set up to investigate the unexplained death of University of Malawi student Robert Chasowa, the Malawi Revenue Authority financial scam, and the late president Bingu wa Mutharika’s secret shrouded death.

Speaking during her first ever State of the Nation Address since she was sworn-in as President on 7th April, following Mutharika’s collapse to death on 5th April, Banda said her government will investigate issues surrounding the alleged coup plot planned to usurp power from her as a vice president meant to assume power.

President Banda addressing Parliament

The ‘Good Friday Gang’ plotted to install Mutharika’s brother, Peter, as new president instead of Vice President Joyce Banda.

Former ministers Patricia Kaliati, Simon Vuwa Kaunda, Dr. Jean Kalilani, Henry Mussa, Nicholas Dausi and Kondwani Nakhumwa,  held a press conference on state MBC television refusing Constitutional order for the then Vice President Joyce Banda to take over power as Mutharika had died .

The alleged plot also implicates the current Chief Justice Lovemore Munlo and two other high court judges who were to interpret the constitution and carry out the young Mutharika’s swearing -in as president.

Banda told parliament that she has been “receiving a lot of requests” to institute an inquiry into the matter.

“We need to know what really was happening on these coup allegations,” said the Malawi leader.

She said the inquiry will be tasked to “Investigate the circumstance, intent, extent” of the coup plot so as “to put matters to rest.”

The President also revealed that government had instituted an inquiry to investigate cause and handling of late president Bingu wa Mutharika’s death to “inquire the cause of death and the date of death.”

“I have decided that we should investigate that alleged coup and issues surrounding that event. Government also wants to know circumstances surrounding the death of our president Mutharika,” she said.

Other inquiries will be on the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) financial scandal and current finance minister Ken Lipenga’s involvement.

She will also investigate the mass demonstrations that took place 19/20 July 2011, with police killing 19 people.

Apart from the other 11 bills lined up for debate and passing, parliament opened to sit for the Budget Session, will also discuss the national flag change bill, Section 46 of the penal code which empowers a minister to bar and ban publications, a bill to make it impossible for citizens to sue government or government officials and Section 35 of the Police Act which gives powers to officers to make searches without warrants.


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