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

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid