News

    Malawi Law Society Demands Prosecution of Civilian ‘Coup Plotters’

    Malawi's new President Joyce Banda gives a press conference in Lilongwe, April 10, 2012.
    Malawi's new President Joyce Banda gives a press conference in Lilongwe, April 10, 2012.

    Multimedia

    Audio
    • Clottey interview with John Gift Mwakhwawa, president of the Malawi Law Society (MLS)

    Peter Clottey

    The president of the Malawi Law Society (MLS) has called for the prosecution of Cabinet ministers who, he says, orchestrated a failed “constitutional coup d’état” following the death of President Bingu wa Mutharika.

    Section 83 (4) of the constitution stipulates that when a sitting president dies or is incapacitated the vice president automatically takes the reins of power.

    John Gift Mwakhwawa, chairman of the law society, said the ministers should be held accountable for refusing to support Vice President Joyce Banda. Instead, they supported the president’s brother, Foreign Affairs Minister Peter Arthur Mutharika, a move Mwakhwawa called a treasonable act under Malawi’s constitution.

    “We examined the state of affairs, and what we found was that the ministers who were involved in what has so far been termed as a constitutional coup were committing a crime under our penal code, and that crime is a crime of treason,” said Mwakhwawa.

    Cabinet ministers reportedly convened a meeting without Vice President Joyce Banda immediately after Mr. Mutharika was declared dead after he suffered a heart attack. Some of the ministers proposed the president’s younger brother as president.

    On April 6, six Cabinet ministers led by information minister Patricia Kaliati, held a news conference stating that Ms. Banda had no mandate to rule because she was dismissed from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).  Following her expulsion, Ms. Banda formed the People's Party (PP).

    Mwakhwawa said that Banda’s party affiliation doesn’t preclude her from the presidency.

    “She has at all times remained the vice president of the republic of Malawi. She has not committed any impeachable offense, and there were no impeachment proceedings anywhere [against her].”

    Ms. Banda was sworn in as president on April 7.

    Mwakhwawa said respect for the rule of law thwarted the failed attempt to subvert the constitution.

    “This serves as an opportunity to Malawians to see the strength of their constitution and to always remember that there no person above the law," he said. "As Malawians we must pay attention to our constitutionalism at all times.”

    Some Malawians expressed concern the ministers’ action undermined the constitution, which they said, could have led to violence and chaos.

    The accused officials include sports minister Symon Vuwa Kaunda, Health and Population Services minister Dr. Jean Kalilani, Local Government Minister Henry Mussa, deputy ministers in the office of the president Nicholas Dausi and deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Kondwani Nakhumwa.

    Mwakhwawa said the prosecution of the accused ministers should be expedited.

    “After the mourning period, the president will not only come out with her agenda for the nation, but I think that would be the most appropriate time to look at this and see how best it can be prosecuted,” said Mwakhwawa.”

    “It shouldn’t matter that the people involved were politicians, because I will like to think that if it was an ordinary person on the street, that ordinary person would have been taken to book by now,” he added.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Mafiyedo Edward
    April 18, 2012 4:19 AM
    Oooh yes ! MAKHWAWA is the best to continue accusing fake ministers, taking the law in thier hands.Therefore we should have a good example that you can have 12 children but a second born should be closer ages to the parent, when the first one is gone.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.