Banda sets up inquiry into alleged plot

2012-05-18 14:00
Blantyre - Malawian President Joyce Banda on Friday announced an inquiry into an alleged plot by the inner circle of the country's late former leader to block her rise to power following his death.

"By public demand, I have decided to immediately set up a commission of inquiry to investigate the circumstances and intent of the alleged coup plot," Banda told parliament in a speech broadcast on national radio.

Banda said she had been "receiving a lot of requests" from Malawians to institute the probe since the death of her predecessor Bingu wa Mutharika on 05 April.

Mutharika, who had been president since 2004, died following a heart attack.

He had anointed his brother Peter, the former foreign affairs minister, as his heir apparent, even though Banda, as Mutharika's vice president, was next in line to succeed him at his death.

She was not sworn in until 07 April after two days of backroom dealing.

Media reported that several ministers had met twice to seek ways of installing Peter Mutharika as the new president instead.

"Depending on the outcome [of the inquiry], appropriate action will be taken for important lessons to be learned," Banda said.

She also announced a probe into Mutharika's death "to establish ... the cause of death, medical attention available to the president at the time of his death and the role and activities of various individuals during and after the transition".

Banda has taken over an economy hobbled by shortages of fuel and foreign currency, making life even more difficult in one of the world's poorest countries.

Read more on:    joyce banda  |  malawi  |  southern africa
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