Malawi expands arrest of coup plotters: Msaka, Goodall at Lumbadzi police station

Chief Secretary to the Government Bright Msaka and  Economic Planning and Development Minister Goodall Gondwe have been arrested  after a commission of inquiry report into circumstances surrounding the death of former president Bingu wa Mutharika  exposed  their their key role  played  in the failed plot to block President Joyce Banda from ascending to power.

Minister of Information and Civic Education Moses Kunkuyu confirmed on state broadcaster MBC about the arrest of Gondwe and Msaka . He also said former deputy cief secretary Necton Mhura has been picked by police and were all  being questioned at Lumbadzi police station in the capital Lilongwe.

Police spokesperson Rhoda Manjolo declined to list of people arrested  but said “the investigations are on going and the operation is underway.”

Earlier, Police arrested former Information Minister Patricia Kaliati, former Local Government Minister Henry Mussa and former presidential guard commander Duncan Mwapasa and lawmaker Kondwani Nankhumwa in connection to events surrounding the death of Mutharika.

Others also reportedly picked are former ministers Symon Vuwa Kaunda and Nicholous Dausi.

Msaka: Concealed the death of Bingu
Msaka: Concealed the death of Bingu

Police raided the house of late Mutharika’s brother, Peter,  but did not get thim. His personal assistant Ben Phiri told Nyasa Times that Police showed a warrant of arrest but the lawmaker was not at the property and wouldjhand himself in to the Police.

According to the inquiry report, upon learning about the death of Bingu wa Mutharika at Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) in the capital, Lilongwe, his brother, Peter  called the Chief Secretary to the Government aside and asked him if it would not be a good idea for the Malawi Defence Force (MDF) to take over government.

The report said Peter Mutharika wondered what was going to happen in the country, in terms of succession, considering that Joyce Banda, then Vice-President who was constitutionally mandated to takeover, had left the ruling party and formed her own opposition political party.

Reads the report: “The Chief Secretary told the commission that he advised [Peter] Mutharika that it was not a good idea. The Chief Secretary told the commission that having heard the suggestion of an army take over from Mutharika, he became uncomfortable.

“He [said he] proceeded to meet the Malawi Defence Force Commander General Henry Odillo, who was still at the hospital at that time. The Chief Secretary asked General Odillo whether the army understood its role in times of such events. He also asked the General if he understood what the Constitution said in the event of the death of the President.”

But Peter Mutharika denied, before the commission, having ever at any point discussed the idea of the military takeover with Msaka.

However, Msaka further told the commission that it was clear from the response of General Odillo that the military in Malawi correctly understood not only its role in the situation, but also the constitutional provisions in the event of death of the President.

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