Officials mum on Malawi president's death

2012-04-06 11:00

Blantyre - Neither the South African government nor hospital officials in Johannesburg could comment on reports of the death of Malawi's President Bingu wa Mutharika, saying only Malawi's government was authorised to speak about the president.

Hospital sources and government officials said that Mutharika died early on Friday, hours after the 78-year-old suffered a heart attack.

"He died... after two hours of resuscitation", shortly after midnight, the hospital source in the capital Lilongwe said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the government has not yet made a formal announcement.

Mutharika was reported by state radio to have been airlifted to SA in the early morning hours. The hospital source said that he was taken to SA to be embalmed.

Reporters at the airport in Lilongwe said they were chased from the terminal during the night departure.

Political tensions

Mutharika, a former World Bank economist who first came to power in 2004, was re-elected with a sweeping majority in 2009 as president of the poor southern African country.

His Vice President Joyce Banda is next in line to run the country, according to the constitution.

But her succession to power could create new political tensions, because Mutharika kicked her out of the ruling party in 2010 as he chose to groom his brother as heir apparent instead of her.

The official silence has heightened anxieties in Malawi, which has seen growing discontent with Mutharika's government over the last year. Rights groups have accused Mutharika of mismanaging the economy and trampling on democracy.

The Daily Times wrote that Malawians are in "huge suspense" over the president.

"The nation's suspense has been intensified after high-profile officials who included several cabinet ministers arrived at the hospital and went straight to the intensive care unit," it said.

"After some time, they trooped out with sad faces and without a word."

The Nation, another independent newspaper, criticised the government's handling of his hospitalisation.

"It is time to do things well through provision of timely information," the paper said, adding that the government "could have done better than the sketchy statements broadcast on state radio - as almost everyone was left guessing".

The Nyasa Times reported that Mutharika's airlift to SA was a measure to buy time for the ruling Democratic Progressive Party to get its house in order following his death.

  • Bongani - 2012-04-06 11:06

    Why not tell us a truth. If he is dead, things will plot their course. Lying and denying wnt change the event.

  • rbphiri - 2012-04-06 11:21

    There's been no official confirmation from the Malawian Government of reports that President Bingu wa Mutharika has died. Without hyperbole we can safely say the man is dead, question here is what is the possible motive for not releasing details of the man's death? Will it possibly create unrest in his country or further conundrums in the country's current political situation?

      Bongani - 2012-04-06 11:29

      There is big problem with unrest possible in Country. There is many who support Banda. We are hoping for freezing cool heads.

  • Koos - 2012-04-06 11:27

    Slag 'n paar beeste, nooi almal. Laat ons party hou in true African fashion. Hoekom is dit altyd 'n probleem as een van hierdie despote die emmer skop. Die lewe gaan. Selfs toe Kennedy dood is was daar nie sprake van onrus en stront nie.

  • Sda - 2012-04-06 11:45

    why was he flown to SA for medical treating?arent they any hospitals in malawi.he neglected his only country,let him die.

  • Groly - 2012-04-06 11:47

    2 sad 4 the death of our presdent cz they is no solution . May his soul rest in peace. Wat a painful day

  • aaron.betha - 2012-04-06 12:00


  • ibrahim.akidumbwana - 2012-04-06 12:01

    Yendani bwino bwana

  • smerafe - 2012-04-06 12:39

    good riddance,finally the ppl of malawi is been save from slavery an porverty...may his antagonistic soul rest in peace...

  • Tanie - 2012-04-06 12:39

    We did not expect anything good coming from the africanners anyway, saying nothing will save your numbered breaths. - 2012-04-06 15:28

      You are right, that's what MABHUNU do when you expose them. they wait for something to happen so they can laugh.

  • Kevin Avnon - 2012-04-06 13:31

    When a tyrant dies it's a blessing to his people...

  • Michael McN - 2012-04-06 16:57

    Ooooooooooooooooooohhhhhh! Now I see. By having him die on Good Friday, they set up the possibility he will rise from the dead and enter the body of his brother/successor Peter on Easter Sunday. Step aside, Vice President Banda. The president is not dead, he is resurrected! Praise God! Arrest her if she complains. That seems to be the plan, I am guessing. Let's see if I have guessed correctly.

  • mbuyisenim2 - 2012-04-07 10:36

    Sorry to the fellow Malawians for the pass of their president. Condolence to all of us as Africans, we empathise and we are together in pains for the pass of freedom fighter.

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