US concerned over transition delay

2012-04-06 19:27

Washington - The United States said Malawi's vice president should take charge soon following the death of the country's leader on Friday, voicing concern over the delay in succession.

The United States offered condolences to the family of President Bingu wa Mutharika, who political and hospital sources said died of a heart attack despite an official silence from the government.

"Malawi's constitution lays out a clear path for succession and we expect it to be observed," Johnnie Carson, the assistant secretary of state for African affairs, said in a statement.

"We are concerned about the delay in the transfer of power. We trust that the vice president who is next in line will be sworn in shortly."

Under the constitution, Vice President Joyce Banda is next in line. But that succession is politically fraught because Mutharika kicked her out of the ruling party in 2010 as he chose to groom his brother as heir apparent instead.

"As Malawians mourn the loss of their president, the United States remains committed to maintaining our strong relationship and partnership with the people of Malawi," Carson said.

Mutharika, a former World Bank economist who first came to power in 2004, had initially won international praise for good governance and for averting a potential famine through fertiliser subsidies.

But he came under growing criticism in recent years over attempts to rein in the media and to shield the government from public criticism.

The United States suspended a $350 million grant for Malawi's energy sector after a deadly crackdown on July 2011 protests that accused Mutharika of mismanaging the economy and trampling on democratic rights.

  • Sechaba - 2012-04-06 19:34

    Can US shut up for good. They do not own this world. Nxa

      Tsietsi - 2012-04-06 19:49

      I think the US has the right to be opinionated on this matter, because it ploughs money into that country. They are putting their mouth where their money is. Wouldn't you do the same?

  • Tsietsi - 2012-04-06 19:38

    Now News24, is he really, really dead? You must learn to get the facts before rushing to print. Should I wish him a speedy recovery, or send my condolences to his family?

      Crracker - 2012-04-06 19:43

      That's how the culture of secrecy operates. It creates more speculation and distrust than a culture of clean, open, transparency can ever do even if the latter is not perfect. One wonders who on the South African side is helping perhaps to orchestrate the secrecy.

  • basil.mabasa - 2012-04-06 20:02

    He he he..u just cnt separate the US from dirty politics...they surely have an interest in Malawi..

  • Muhammed - 2012-04-06 20:12

    The US has a bad habit telling other countries what to do...

  • lavida.locca - 2012-04-06 22:09

    US ... can u pls let us do things in African way pls ....

  • lavida.locca - 2012-04-06 22:09

    US ... can u pls let us do things in African way pls ....

  • Eric - 2012-04-06 22:09

    "But he came under growing criticism in recent years over attempts to rein in the media and to shield the government from public criticism." Sounds just like the ANC, doesn't it?

  • Lacrimose - 2012-04-07 00:51

    ...and when the entire world knows that the President is deceased and the government refuses to acknowledge or even comment on it, there's a bad moon rising. Malawi is still a democracy. The delay in the official announcement of the President's death, can only mean extreme f'd up-ness is again in play

  • Peter - 2012-04-07 08:14

    Not uncommon in Africa - tear up the constitution if you don't like the outcome. The constitution is clear, the VP takes over. But the PARTY wants the late President's brother to guard the trough.

  • Brighton - 2012-04-07 08:24

    why US are the first 2 comment? where is the AU?tried of obama and hs fellows, down w u

  • Sarah Mqoqi - 2012-04-07 08:43

    am i missing sumthng here?has ths guy even been confirmed dead?y is every1 simply moving ryt along...

  • Ellemote - 2012-04-07 09:10

    The constitution of Malawi says that the VP takes over in this scenario. It doesn't talk of political parties.

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