OPC brushes off Kaliati’s rhetoric

Malawi’s Office of the President and Cabinet has said it will adhere to all constitutional provision and ensure a smooth transition of power following the death of President Bingu wa Mutharika on Thursday.

This is contrary to an announcement made by government spokesperson Patricia Kaliati Friday night when she said government will have nothing to do with the constitutional provision and will see to it that Vice President Joyce Banda does not take over.

Section 87 of the Constitution stipulates that in terms of incapacitation or death of the President the vice president takes over.

“The OPC wishes to assure all Malawians and the international community that the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi shall be strictly adhered to in managing the transition. The OPC therefore asks all Malawians to remain united and peaceful during this period and all times,” says the statement signed by Chief Secretary to the OPC Bright Msaka.

In the statement Government finally confirmed the death of Mutharika with a call for ten days of mourning.

The statement confirmed that Mutharika, who was flown to South Africa following a cardiac arrest, died the same day upon arrival at the One Military Hospital in Pretoria.

“The OPC hereby declares a period of 10 days of mourning in Malawi beginning today Saturday, 7th April 2012,” reads the statement.

It says that during the period national flags at all public buildings shall fly at half mast, and all public media outlets shall play such music to keep the sombre national mood.

The statement says the OPC shall publicly announce the date and time when Mutharika’s body will arrive in Malawi and the date of the funeral.

The OPC says the period of mourning does not mean a declaration of public holidays in Malawi.

Meanwhile,  Msaka accompanied by the Malawi Defence Force Commander Henry Odillo and the Chief Justice Lovemore Munlo and other senior cabinet ministers visited the veep this morning at her official residence in Lilongwe where sources indicated that their discussions bordered on hand over of power and swearing in of Banda.

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