One of Malawi’s most popular freedom fighters Kamlepo Kalua has asked the Attorney General Ralph Kasambara to drop any interest in pursuing treason case against some former cabinet ministers dubbed ‘the midnight six’.
Government is set to press charges to former cabinet minister over their controversial news conference addressed at night on April 5 2012 to announce the blocking of the then vice-president Joyce Banda from assuming the presidency
But speaking exclusively to Nyasa Timesat his Nkolokosa residence, says the ‘midnight six’ meeting was legal and not tantamount to treason.
He argued that the former cabinet had legal mandate to converge and discuss the way forward following the unexpected demise of president Bingu wa Mutharika. As such, Kamlepo added, pursuing the case would result in government paying the so called midnight six huge millions in compensation because it is not a credible case.
The former ministers wanted in court are Patricia Kaliati, who read the statement during the news conference, Symon Vuwa Kaunda, Dr Jean Kalilani, Henry Mussa, Nicholas Dausi and Kondwani Nakhumwa.
Among the things that the ministers said during the news conference which received wide condemnation from various quarters was that Banda’s formation of the People’s Party (PP) precludes her from ascending to the presidency.
The news conference came after Banda had addressed the media advocating for the respect of Section 83 (4) of the Constitution which was also echoed by former president Bakili Muluzi at a separate press briefing.
But Kamlepo while acknowledging that President Banda was the rightful successor, argued that taking the six former ministers to court on treason charges would back fire because by then the position of the president was vacant.
“My understanding is that the ministers met in good faith, they met to come up with clarity on what the constitution says when a president has died while his Vice is not even part of cabinet. However, in the process there were some connotations of emotions but their arguments were legal and not treasonous.
“The issue is very tricky because the very same Attorney General is the one who manufactured the constructive resignation against former Vice President Cassim Chilumpha for absconding cabinet meetings. Now here is a situation where our president Joyce Banda was also not part of cabinet and if we are to apply the reasoning of Mr. Kasambara then you find that there is nothing treasonous committed by the previous cabinet,” argued Kamlepo.