Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika dies – exclusive

Malawi’s President Bingu wa Mutharika who had suffered a cardiac arrest on Thursday is reportedly dead but the President’s kitchen cabinet continues its aggressive ploy aimed at holding on to power at all cost.

Information which Nyasa Times has verified with  government and medical officials at Kamuzu Central Hospital where he was treated, Mutharika has been flown to South Africa clinically dead.

Apparently medics tried to resuscitate him after he arrived at the hospital in a coma.

Mutharika:No more

The emergency meeting at the residence of Energy Minister Goodall Gondwe in Lilongwe which comprised of some members of the Cabinet and ruling DPP senior officials agreed to fly Mutharika to South Africa as a formality as they work on what to do next.

A top government source said the First Lady Callista Mutharika had been formally told of the President’s death and received the news with “shock and sadness”.

The President’s brother, Peter, the Foreign Affairs Minister was also reported “devastated” with the development.

Presidential spokesman Hetherwick Ntaba maintained Mutharika was “unwell” but on the death report, he snapped: “No comment.”

The Speaker of Parliament, Henry Chimunthu Banda, was persuaded by the Cabinet members to summon parliament on Tuesday.

But constitutional experts have indicated that the Speaker cannot call parliament without consultation with the President, in this case Joyce Banda who is second in line under the Malawian Constitution.

Section 83(4) of the Constitution simply reads “whenever there is a vacancy in the office of President, the First Vice-President shall assume that office for the remainder of the term and shall appoint another person to serve as First Vice-President for the remainder of the term.”

But government is planning to table a motion to change the constitution and allow the Speaker act as President.

Legal experts say the Constitution is clear the Vice President should step in and assume power.

Banda fell out with Mutharika in 2010 and was thrown out of the ruling DPP, raising speculation that the ruling elite would resist her if Mutharika couldn’t carry on, setting the scene for a constitutional crisis.

At the moment it is reported that more than 15 soldiers from the Malawi Army have been deployed to guard the Malawi leader Joyce Banda at her residence after the meeting at Gondwe’s house agreed unanimously that she has to be involved and come into the scene quickly.

Mutharika, 78, was initially rushed to Kamuzu Central Hospital after collapsing Thursday morning at his official residence when he was having an audience with DPP legislator Agness Penemulungu. Nyasa Time posted breaking news on this.

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