Mia leads ministers to President Banda as Malawi mourns Mutharika

Transport Minister Sidik Mia who vehemently opposed moves by other ministers to subvert the Constitution on Saturday rallied ministers to the resident of Vice President Joyce Banda to give her the authority to take charge  of the country under the terms of the constitution following the death of President Bingo wa Mutharika.

The Ministers have allowed Banda to assume the role of acting President. There were some who fought against the idea but the Mia, minister of finance Ken Lipenga, Minister of Trade John Bande and Minister of Defence Aaron Sangala, who have been long serving cabinet members in Mutharika’s administration led a small group of the voice of reason in cabinet to allow constitution order.

Secretary to the president and cabinet Bright Msaka announced on state radio: “We are sad to announce that the President of Malawi, Bingu wa Mutharika, has died.”

“The Milpark Hospital in South Africa has also confirmed his death,”  Msaka said. “There will be 10 days of national mourning, and the constitution will be adhered to in managing the transition.”

At a news conference held within hours of the official confirmation of Mutharika’s death, Her Excellency the Malawi leader Joyce Banda also said the constitution would be followed.

“I don’t think there’s any way we can discuss who is caretaker and who is not,” she said. “The constitution is prevailing right now.”

The  army, police chief, the attorney general, and several cabinet ministers and MPs were standing near Her Excellency Banda as she spoke.

There were  some People’s Party  officials as well as former Attorney General Ralph Kasambara.

“The paramount issue to be discussed at the cabinet meeting is on the funeral of the father of the nation,” she said. “In the meantime, I call upon all Malawians to remain calm and to keep the peace during this time of bereavement.”

Her Excellency Banda fell out with Mr Mutharika in 2010 over the succession and she was expelled from the ruling Democratic People’s Party (DPP).

The president’s brother, Foreign Minister Peter Mutharika, was lined up to be the DPP’s presidential candidate in the 2014 elections.

He had tried to force some minister to challenge Banda’s presidency. They included Patricia Klaiati, Vuwa Kaunda, Nicholous Dausi, Henry Mussa and Jean kalirani.

Mia at President Banda's residence

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