Malawi government has said it is taking “seriously” allegations that there has been a plot to overthrow government and police have vowed to make more arrests involving alleged “coup plotters.”
Police spokesman Nicholas Gondwa said the WhatsApp conversation which they have used to arrest three opposition politicians and charged them with treason is “ part of the investigation.”
Presidential spokesman Gerald Viola told ‘Daybreak Malawi ‘program on Capital Radio on Wednesday that President Mutharika “is not concerned” with the coup threat or the crackdown on the alleged plotters.
He said Mutharika is following events in the media.
Viola said Police “are professionals “ and are carrying their duties accordingly and the President will not be involved in the way cops are discharging their duties.
He also dismissed accusations that Mutharika is turning Malawi into a police state.
“He is very democratic. President Mutharika cannot turn Malawi into a police state. It’s not true,” he said.
And government spokesman Jappie Mhango said they are taking the issues “seriously” considering that it borders on national security.
He said government could not throw caution to the wind.
But Mhango said he could not give further comments as security forces were “doing their job.”
National Intelligence Bureau (NIB) director general Nicholous Dausi said he could not discuss matters of national security in the media.
“It will be fallacious, preposterious and inconcevaibale to put matters of national security into public domain,” said Dausi.
The state chief spy, however, said NIB has made a “breakthrough” in their investigation on coup claims.
On reports based on intelligence notes linking United States diplomat Virginia Palmer of irregular activities with opposition members, claiming that Washington is trying to foment regime change in Lilongwe , NIB boss said there could be no smoke without fire.
He declined to give further comment on the matter and then referred to a similar accusations in South Africa where ruling ANC has raised concerns that U.S. diplomats in the country are attempting to stir up regime change.
The US ambassador to South Africa Patrick Gaspard has denied the accusation.
ANC said it is aware of regular meetings of young people at the U.S. embassy in Pretoria “about nothing else other than mobilization for regime change.”
The accusations are similar to what US diplomat in Malawi faced that she regularly hosted clandestine meetings aimed at overthrowing the government of Peter Mutharika.
But the US embassy in Lilongwe vehemently denied any involvement in a plan to overthrow Mutharika’s government.
A political observer Mapenzi Banda from Lilongwe said in the wake of MCP’s intercepted WhatsApp discussion, all is being laid bare of what brought the donors into the coup narrative.
“Doesn’t it surprise us why both Jessie Kabwila and Louis Chakhwantha chose German Embassy as their haven for asylum when they knew they were wanted by law enforcers?
“Despite Kabwila’s arrest before he entered the embassy and Chakhwantha’s self-handover to police, the German embassy must explain why and how they got involved with an issue of Malawi’s national security. The two could have chosen any other embassy besides that of a donor who is still under suspicion radar,” wrote Banda in a commentary sent to Nyasa Times.
He said there is still need for the Germans to explain why they decided to work together with MCP considering the geographical convenience.
“Between Parliament building and MCP headquarters there are five foreign missions namely; South Africa, Zambia, United Kingdom, United States and United Nations. Why then did the two MPs choose to drive all the way to Area 10 to find the German solace?
“Doesn’t this even call for more answers than questions? In addition , MCP should also be put under constant blame for collectively contemplation of working against a duly-elected government. Is it of
any surprise that when Kabwila and Chakhwantha entered Parliament premises they were hidden in Speaker Richard Msowoya’s car? All this because the Speaker’s car cannot be searched at a police roadblock.
“Why should a respected Speaker aid fugitives to beat a constitutionally mandated law enforcement system? It is not asking for too much when Malawians demand answers from donors and MCP for their conniving in clandestine actions,” Banda wrote.
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