State House – fending off attacks for Malawi Minister of Information, Tourism and Culture Kondwani Nankhumwa remarks that the former president Bingu wa Mutharika claiming he didn’t die a natural death but was rather killed, – have said the statement did not reflect President Peter Mutharika’s position.
Nankhumwa, who is also official government spokesperson, made the remarks in the presence of President Mutharika during Bingu’s memorial on Saturday in Thyolo.
He produced a copy of his defunct newspaper publication “The Eye Witness” of 11th October, 2011 which carried an article titled ‘Bingu to die before 2014’ and quoted a document signed by little known Edgar Saukila and indicated the ‘JB Project’ wanted to block Peter Mutharika from inheriting power and Joyce Banda not to succeed Bingu.
The Eye Witnes newspaper was published by Mzati Communications which also owns Mzati FM that broadcasts from Nankhumwa’s Mulanje Central Constituency. The media house is owned by Nankhumwa himself and he confirmed.
The remarks attracted a barrage of criticism from the general public.
However , State House spokesman Gerald Viola, speaking on behalf of the president, disowned the remarks as “personal opinion” of Nankhumwa – most trusted minister.
Viola said Nankhumwa’s statement is not the position of the Head of State.
“President Mutharika does not believe neither in gossip nor vengeance… Honourable Nankhumwa, just like any other Malawian, is free to express his opinion on matters of national interest,” he said.
Nankhumwa had asked President Mutharika to order a fresh inquiry to find out those who were behind the ‘JB Project’ so they should explain who killed Bingu.
Government spokesman said he and other DPP members strongly believe “someone was behind Bingu’s death” and that his death was not caused by natural causes.
The Minister was quoted saying at Ndata: “I ask you the President to arrest those who were behind the JB Project so they should explain who killed Bingu,” adding that “even if Dr Bakili Muluzi was part of the JB project, he must be brought to book.”
Bingu wa Mutharika came to power in 2004 and presided over a seven-year boom – underpinned by foreign aid and favourable rains – that made Malawi one of the world’s fastest-growing economies.
But he was accused of trampling on democratic freedoms and economic mismanagement.
In 2011, as people struggled with rising prices and fuel shortages, frustration and anger spilled over into the streets and the country experienced some of the worst riots in its history.
At least 19 people were killed when police used live bullets.
Born Ryson Webster Thom in the southern tea-growing district of Thyolo in 1934, the schoolmaster’s son adopted the more African name of Bingu Mutharika during the 1960s when pan-Africanism was sweeping across the continent.
He later added the prefix ‘wa’ between his names.
When he died in 2012, his body was reportedly transported to South Africa as ‘Daniel Phiri’ to disguise his identity as the government were hiding his death.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :