Malawi coup: Ntata implicates Chiume

Former presidential  legal counsel, Allan Ntata, has  alleged that Foreign Affairs Minister Ephraim Mganda Chiume was  “an instigator” of the alleged coup d’état to deny President Joyce Banda  from ascending to power when president Bingu wa Mutharika died in April.

Chiume served as Justice Minister in the Mutharika administration.

Speaking on Capital FM Straight Talk Tuesday evening, Ntata commented on the incidents after death of Mutharika and the alleged constitutional coup  to deny Banda, who was vice president,  from ascending to power.

Ntata claimed that  he was called to a meeting where Chiume briefed them to work on stopping Banda from taking over power.

Ntata: Claims Chiume was the main man

“We tried to point to the minister of justice  (Chiume) that this was not right,” said Ntata.

“ I was told that some officials of government met and that the minister of  justice (Chiume)  had been given clear instructions that the vice president (Joyce Banda)  should not become president,” he added.

Ntata alleged Chiume had instructed  the Attorney General  that time, Justice Mackson Mbendera, “to delay the swearing [of President Banda].”

The lawyer  stressed that Chiume was “an instigator of the issue.”

But Chiume is the one who moved to President Banda to reveal the constitutional coup plot.

Later Banda alleged that Chief Justice Lovemore Munlo and other judges were sitting at the house of the then minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Peter Mutharika, waiting for a court order to swear him in as President .

Mutharika had groomed Peter as his heir apparent, even though Banda, as vice-president, was next in line to succeed him on his death.

But Ntata exonerated the Chief Justice and said “there was never a time  where we were preparation to swear  Peter Mutharika.”

Chiume is however on record saying  he  refuse to go to court to challenge President Banda’s ascension to power as requested by his cabinet colleagues.

He explained that he instructed all the lawyers in the Ministry of Justice not to challenge anything, and that he refused to sign an affidavit which was supposed to go to court.

Malawi  Constitution clearly states that a Vice President would take over as President in the event of the incapacitation or death of the State President.

A midnight press conference by six ministers – dubbed the ‘Midnight Six’, led by then Information Minister Patricia Kaliati – declared: ‘Vice President Joyce Banda cannot take over because she is no longer in the ruling party.’

Banda was expelled from the DPP after she refused to endorse the younger Mutharika to succeed his brother after his scheduled retirement in 2014.

Trappings of power’

During the Straight Talk interview programme, Ntata who prides himself as a “strategist” disclosed that he has written a book to be released in December which has chronicled events that followed after the sudden death of Mutharika.

He said the book is titled: ‘Trappings of power, Bingu and his critics.’

Ntata said “there has been a lot of misinformation” on what happened when Mutharika suffered cardiac arrest on April 5.

He also said the book is highlighting issues of recycled politicians.

“We are dealing with people who are going to be yellow when the favourite colour of the day is yellow, blue when the favourite colour of the day is blue, orange when the favourite colour of the day is orange,” he said.

“Malawi has a system of recycling the same politicians… Some of these their time is up in terms of what they are going to offer on the political scene,” said Ntata

In the book, Ntata said he is also analysing the Mutharika’s seven year presidency.

“I have tried to come out with some revelations about the people that are working with the administration now that had also worked with the Mutharika administration,” he said.

Ntata also said he has tackled the issues of tribalism.

Meanwhile,  Nyasa Times sources say the Presidential inquiry into the death of Mutharika is summoning Ntata to testify before it.

Nyasa Times sources said the inquiry this week lined up to quiz Chief Justice Munlo and former minister Goodall Gondwe.

President Banda told parliament: ‘By public demand, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have decided to immediately set up a Commission of Inquiry to investigate circumstances, intent and extent of the said alleged coup and put the matter to rest as a nation.’

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