At least 10 senior officials in Malawi, including current and former government ministers, were on Monday, March 11, 2013 arrested over an alleged coup plot, BBC reported. They are accused of holding secret meetings where they plotted a coup to prevent President Joyce Banda, then Vice President, from taking over power last year when her predecessor, Bingu wa Mutharika, suddenly died of heart attack on April 5.
According to The Nation newspaper of Malawi, those arrested include, Peter Mutharika, former Foreign Affairs Minister and the late President’s brother, Patricia Kaliati, former Information Minister, Dr Jean Kalirani, former Health Minister, Bright Msaka, Chief Secretary to the Government, Goodall Gondwe, current Minister of Economy and Planning, Nicholas Dausi, Democratic Progressive Party spokesman and Duncan Mwapasa, former Presidential Guard Commander. Peter Mutharika is DPP’s presidential candidate for the next election in May 2014.
Information Minister, Moses Kunkuyu said following the submission of a report into the death of President Mutharika, law enforcement agencies were of the strong view that criminal offences had been committed. The report, commissioned by President Joyce Banda last year, was submitted to her on March 6, 2013. It alleges that government ministers and other senior officials held a number of secret meetings aimed at preventing Mrs. Banda from taking over the presidency in accordance with the constitution.
In order to perfect their plot, Bingu wa Mutharika’s DPP officials and ministers concealed the death of the President for two days as his body was flown to South Africa in an air ambulance under the disguised name of Daniel Phiri, who was said to be seriously sick. In the meantime, the coup plotters tried to persuade the Army Commander, Gen. Henry Odillo, to take over power, but he refused.