Malawi President Peter Mutharika has been accused of succumbing to his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) zealots for spending hard earned tax-payers money for commemoration of the second anniversary of Mutharika and ‘Midnight six’ arrest on treason charges in March 2013.
The press on Thursday highlighted comments from analysts condemning Mutharika for his Lumbadzi Police Station and Maula Prison visit, where he and the Midnight 6 were kept during detention.
University of Malawi’s Chancellor College political commentator, Dr Boniface Dulani, faulted DPP zealots for political hero-worshipping and also valuing mediocrity.
“The commemoration is proof that, in Malawi, we are very good at valuing mediocrity. It is a slap in the face of real political heroes who gave up their lives for our freedom in Malawi,” said Dulani, The Nation reported
“Well-read as the President is, he should have told off the officials who proposed that the purely-party celebrations take place in such an amplified manner.”
University of Malawi’s Chancellor College Political Professor Blessings Chinsinga also trashed the commemoration.
“It is just a waste of resources because it is not important to the nation or the party,” Chinsinga sais as quoted by Daily Times.
Also commenting on the issues, People’s Party (PP) spokesperson Ken Msonda charged that the commemoration was partly staged by DPP to try and twist history.
“The President was not arrested as a freedom fighter, but on serious treason charges,” Msonda said as quoted in the press.
Mutharika was arrested in 2013 alongside several other former Cabinet ministers for his role in an alleged attempt to usurp power from former vice-president Joyce Banda following the death of president Bingu wa Mutharika in April 2012.
Cabinet ministers reportedly convened a meeting without the then Vice President Joyce Banda immediately after Mutharika’s death and plotted to prevent Mrs Banda, the vice-president, from taking over and to thrust the late president’s brother, Peter, into power in her stead.
Six ministers– Patricia Kaliati, Simon Vuwa Kaunda, Dr. Jean Kalilani, Henry Mussa, Nicholas Dausi and Kondwani Nakhumwa–dubbed ‘Midnight 6’, held a news conference in the dead of the night on April 6 on state MBC television, telling the nation that the Vice President had no authority to act as president.
On 7 April, when Mutharika’s death could no longer be hidden, Malawi’s Cabinet sought a court order to block Joyce Banda from taking over as President.
But former Malawi army chief Henry Odillo backed the constitutional order and stationed troops around Banda’s house to allow her take over power.
The former ministers agreed to seek a court interpretation on the matter and asked the then Attorney General Maxon Mbendera to get a court order stopping any swearing-in of Banda.
Apparently, the swearing ceremony of Banda was cancelled by the then Chief Justice Lovemore Munlo, saying he had forgotten his ceremonial robes and wig in Blantyre, 360 kilometres away from Lilongwe.
Nyasa Times learnt, at that time there were still some behind-the scene maneavring to side-step constitutional order.
But after a two-hour delay, Banda was at last sworn in.
Some Malawians expressed concern that the ‘mid night 6’ action undermined the constitution, which they said, could have led to violence and chaos.
Malawi Law Society (MLS) secretary Khumbo Soko has since said as a matter of law, any case can be resurrected, especially where evidence could have been discontinued without conviction.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :