Minister Chiume reveals how he thwarted Malawi ‘coup’

Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, Ephraim Mganda Chiume,  has for the first time, come out in the open and revealed  how as Minister of Justice he stopped a ‘Constitutional Coup Plot’  that the  DPP top brass wanted following former President Bingu wa Mutharika’s  death on 5th April  2012.

Chiume told a jam packed Usisya Community Hall comprising traditional leaders, religious leaders and ordinary people, that he believes God used him to refuse to go to court to challenge President Joyce Banda’s ascension to power as requested by his cabinet colleagues.

“It is true that there were cabinet meetings one after the other on what would happen after the former president’s death, and I was told to challenge section 85 of the constitution in court.

Chiume: Foilec coup plot

“I know my other colleagues did not want to lose their jobs, but I was ready to lose my job for the sake of the people in the country,” he explained, adding he was obliged to tell his constituents for them to hear from the horse’s mouth what really went on.

The minister explained that he instructed all the lawyers in the Ministry of Justice not to challenge anything, and that he refused to sign an affidavit which was supposed to go to court because that would mean violating the Constitution which clearly states that a Vice President would take over as President in the event of the incapacitation or death of the State President.

“I’ve never been trained as a lawyer but as a Justice Minister, I knew there was need to follow the Constitution because the country would generate into chaos if I allowed myself to be used by colleagues to challenge Section 85 in court. I was duty bound to do what was right for the country,” he explained.

He felt there was no need to be selective on which sections or clauses should be followed in the Constitution, because it (the Constitution) ought to be followed at all times.

Chiume said he was honoured to be appointed as a minister again, saying he would serve the government by putting the interest of the people of Malawi first.

Meanwhile, Chiume says he is still consulting his constituents on whether to join the People’s Party (PP), and that he would announce his position soon.

Chiume said he did not want to rush into joining the PP before consulting the people of his constituency who elected him on a DPP ticket

“Many people have been asking me where I stand now that Her Excellency [Madame Joyce Banda] appointed me as Minister of Foreign Affairs, but my stand has always been to consult my constituents first and I’m glad they have told me I would serve the government better if I join the party,” he explained.

During one of the consultative meetings held at Usisya the headquarters of the Nkhata-bay North Constituency, the DPP Constituency Committee defected to the PP.

Speaking earlier, a representative of Traditional Authority M’bwana said people in his area were happy that their Member of Parliament was appointed a cabinet minister in President’s Banda cabinet saying this was an honour to people of Nkhata-Bay.

“We believe you can serve us better if join the ruling party and support Her Excellency Mrs Joyce Banda,” he said.

In a dramatic move, the constituents who were mostly in DPP colours, immediately changed their regalia into PP colours right at the function. Due to inadequate PP material, some constituents went back home wearing both DPP T-shirt and PP chitenje.

DPP party members were later dressed in the PP’s orange colours to signify their change to the new party.

Mganda Chiume dancing the PP tune after a blessing from his constituents
Chiume speaking at his Nkhata-bay north constituency
A constituent embracing change from DPP to PP

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