Malawi Pres. JB calls emergency cabinet meeting in wake of coup plotters crackdown

An emergency meeting of President Joyce Banda’s cabinet was called on Monday at official Kamuzu Palace in the capital Lilongwe, Nyasa Times understands.

According  to Capital Hill sources, the cabinet led by President Banda will discuss the developments  after former cabinet ministers were rounded up on suspicion of plotting to overthrow the government after the death of President Bingu wa Mutharika in April last year.

At least one serving cabinet minister, Goodall Gondwe, has been arrested.

The meeting will be held on Monday afternoon after President Banda officially opened the 2013 tobacco marketing season at Kanengo auction floors in the capital.

President Banda: Summons cabinet
President Banda: Summons cabinet

Police said they have arrested a number of people, including late Mutharika’s brother, Peter, who handed himself in to police after a warrant of arrest was issued.

“We have arrested a number of people so far for questioning. The operation is on going. This is in connection with the investigations into the death of the President as revealed in the inquiry report,” police spokeswoman Rhoda Majolo said.

President Banda, who had also fallen out of favour with Mutharika by the time of his death, set up an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the incident after conflicting reports about when he died.

Its findings, revealed last week, showed Mutharika died of a heart attack on his way to hospital in Lilongwe on April 5, and not on April 7 in South Africa, as originally claimed by the government and Mutharika’s family.

The report also revealed that Peter Mutharika, who was then foreign minister, and former finance minister Goodall Gondwe (currently serving as Economic Planning Minister) attempted to convince the army to take over and stop Banda from ascending to power.

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