Malawi ex-ministers held over 'coup' plot

2013-03-11 13:28

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Blantyre - Malawi police on Monday arrested at least two ex-ministers for an alleged coup plot aimed at preventing President Joyce Banda coming to power last year, sparking protests met with police tear gas.

"They are likely to be charged with treason," a senior police officer who did not want to identified told AFP.

The pair were named as Henry Mussa, then minister for local government and Kondwani Nankhumwa, a deputy minister of foreign affairs.

The arrest of the "coup plotters" sent shock waves through Malawi, fuelling opposition to Banda's government, which has been much fetted by the international community.

Malawi police fired teargas at around 500 people protesting the arrests outside police headquarters, but the protesters failed to disperse.

Another group of protesters, estimated in the thousands, gathered nearby, blocking the main highway to the capital with boulders and branches.

Mutharika's death

The plot is alleged to have taken place amid the chaos of president Bingu wa Mutharika's death in April.

Last week an inquest ruled that Mutharika died of a heart attack on the way to hospital after collapsing at State House.

But his death was not confirmed for two days and his body was flown to South Africa as would-be successors sought to buy time.

Six ministers, including Mussa, held a late-night news conference a day after Mutharika's death to insist he was still alive.

At the time Banda was the vice president who under the constitution was next in line to become the president.

But Mutharika had been grooming his brother Peter, who was foreign affairs minister, to succeed him.

On Monday an AFP correspondent saw Peter entering a police station in Blantyre, but it was unclear whether he has been charged with involvement in the coup.

Banda was eventually sworn in on 7 April, after backroom dealings.

A month after coming to power Banda alleged the coup plot was "against this country and not me. It's a national issue."

Read more on:    joyce banda  |  bingu wa mutharika  |  malawi  |  southern africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.