News / Africa

Malawi to Begin Treason Trial of Former Officials

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.
x
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.
Peter Clottey
Malawi’s information minister says the trial of former high ranking government officials accused of treason will begin Wednesday.

Moses Kunkuyu says an independent inquiry committee recommended going ahead with the prosecutions after looking into circumstances following the death of former president Bingu Wa Mutharika.

“Since the committee report was a public document, the law enforcement agencies detected some criminality committed by some individuals, so they acted on that, also coupled with the investigations by the police, which are still ongoing, and effected some arrests,” said Kunkuyu.

Mutharika died of a heart attack on April 5, 2012. According to Malawi’s constitution, the vice president is to be sworn in following the death of a sitting president.

The government contends that the accused officials undermined the constitution by plotting to prevent then-Vice President Joyce Banda from being installed as president following Mutharika’s death.

The accused include former foreign minister Peter Mutharika, who is also the brother of the deceased president, legislator Patricia Kaliati, former information minister Duncan Mwapasa, former commander of the presidential guard, Goodall Gondwe, former minister of Economy and Planning Bright Msaka, the former chief secretary to the government, and Nicholas Dausi, spokesman for the former ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). 

The Malawi Law Society (MLS) agrees with the government’s stance that the accused should be tried on treason charges.

Gift Mwakhwawa, a leading member of the Law Society, said the constitution was violated following the death of Mutharika.

“The Malawi Law Society position has not changed. It remains the same that offense akin to treason were committed around that time,” said Mwakhwawa, who was chairman of the MLS when the accused were charged with plotting to undermine the constitution.

But supporters of the defendants say they are being politically persecuted over ideological differences with the government.

Kunkuyu disagrees.

“The reasons for their arrest have been given in a court of law and none of the reasons sounds political in anyway, because the people that were arrested, not all of them are politicians or take part in politics,” Kunkuyu said. “So to call this a political arrest is really unfounded. And the charges that have been leveled against them in court, none of them mentions anything that can be considered political witch-hunting.”

He says security services have been put on high alert to prevent any violent protests when the trial begins. Kunkuyu warned that supporters of the accused would be arrested and prosecuted if they engage in violent conduct or protests during court proceedings.

He said the country’s judiciary is independent and expressed confidence the accused would receive a fair trial.

“We expect that justice would be administered,” said Kunkuyu.

“If the people are not guilty, they should not be found guilty because of their political affiliation. So, as Malawians we just expect our judicial system [officials] to do their jobs as professionally and as independently as they are,” he said.
Clottey interviwe with Moses Kunkuyu, Malawi's information minister
Clottey interviwe with Moses Kunkuyu, Malawi's information ministeri
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X


Clottey interview with Gift Mwakhwawa, MLS member
Clottey interview with Gift Mwakhwawa, MLS memberi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

You May Like

Photogallery Pistorius Sentenced, Taken to Prison

Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide in shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will likely serve about 10 months of five-year sentence, before completing it under house arrest More

UN to Aid Central Africa in Polio Vaccinations

Synchronized vaccinations will be conducted after Cameroon reports a fifth case of the wild polio virus in its territory More

WHO: Ebola Vaccine Could Be in Use by January

WHO assistant director Dr. Marie Paule Kieny says clinical trials of Ebola vaccines are underway or planned in Europe, US and Africa More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Peter Nkosi from: Malawi
April 09, 2013 11:22 PM
It is not a treason trial which is about to start, but one for perjury.

Eleven people have been accused of treason. That trial will be very complicated and will take a long time to organise. Four of the eleven are also accused of perjury at the Commission of Enquiry into Late Mutharika's death. A perjury trial is seen as being much less complicated and it is that one which is about to start, simply with the taking of pleas.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid