REPUBLIC OF MALAWI

THE PRESIDENT BINGU WA MUTHARIKA COMMISSION OF INQUIRY

CHAIRMAN’S STATEMENT DURING PRESENTATION OF THE COMMISSION REPORT

We come before Your Excellency as members of the Commission of

Inquiry which Your Excellency appointed by Order issued under your hand on
1st June 2012 to inquire into the circumstances surrounding the death of the
late President of the Republic of Malawi, His Excellency Ngwazi Prof. Bingu wa
Mutharika, who died a sudden death while in office as President of Malawi in
April 2012 and also to inquire into issues of transition of State power following
his death.

Allow me Your Excellency at this point to introduce members of the
Commission who are here today. We have Mr. Joseph Aironi, Retired Inspector
General of Police; Dr. (Mrs.) Tiwonge Loga; Dr. (Mrs.) Elizabeth Sibale; Father
Joseph Mpinganjira; Mr. Brian Nyasulu; Mrs. Esther Chioko; Mr. Jabbar Alide;
and I am Justice Elton Singini, SC, a retired Justice of Appeal in Malawi, and
Chairperson of this Commission. One of us, Dr. Charles Dzamalala, a
pathologist, left for further studies in Australia midway through the Inquiry. As
I reported to Your Excellency at the time of his departure, the Commission did
not seek to have him replaced since by that time we had covered much of the
ground on the aspect of death on which his expertise and participation was
most needed. We however kept in constant touch with him and briefed him on
matters for which we desired his input. We do wish him well in his studies. We
have reports Your Excellency that he is actually topping his class there. I should
also introduce Mr. Pacharo Kayira, Senior Deputy Chief State Advocate in the
Attorney General’s Office, who has been the Secretary to the Commission.

After issuing the Order appointing our Commission, Your Excellency left
the country on an official trip and delegated the Vice President to administer
our oath of office. Thus, the Commission was sworn into office on 4th June

2012 before the Vice President, Rt. Hon. Khumbo Kachali, at a ceremony held
at the Office of the President and Cabinet at Capital Hill, Lilongwe.

The Commission could not start on the work of its core mandate, that is,
to conduct the Inquiry, until the Order of its appointment, as a statutory
instrument, had been published in the Gazette which was on 22nd June 2012.
However, before that date the Commission met a few times over
administrative matters, such as to draw up its work plan and also to consider
the activities that were likely to be included in the budget for its work.

The Commission started to conduct the Inquiry on 9th July 2012 and
commenced with a visit to State House in Lilongwe. This was because in our
work methodology we decided to approach the Inquiry by following the course
of events as they had occurred from the 5th of April, when the President
collapsed in the Presidential audience room at State House, to the date of his
burial on 23rd April. Apart from the visit to State House we also visited Kamuzu
Central Hospital in Lilongwe where the President had been rushed to after his
collapse and we also visited Kamuzu International Airport through which the
President was evacuated to South Africa. The purpose of these site visits was
to enable the Commission appreciate visually the settings in which the critical
events of activity occurred particularly on the day of the President’s collapse.
We are grateful that Your Excellency allowed us the opportunity to undertake
the site visit to State House which we needed in relation to our work. Our visit
to State House greatly facilitated the start and direction of our work.

As the Inquiry progressed the Commission assigned three of its members
to travel to South Africa, namely, Commissioner Mrs. Chioko, Commissioner
Mr. Airon and Commissioner Mr. Brian Nyasulu. They were accompanied by
the Commission Secretary, Mr. Paharo Kayira. The purpose of the visit to South
Africa, in particular to Johannesburg and Pretoria, was to trace the route and
places the body of the late President was taken to in that country from the
time of its arrival there to the time of its repatriation to Malawi and also to
interview members of staff at the Malawi High Commission in South Africa
who played a role in that connection. When they came back, the three
Commissioners reported that they were well received and conducted around
by the staff of the Malawi High Commission led by the Deputy High
Commissioner, Mr. Alexious Godiya, in the absence of the High Commissioner,

Mrs Agrina Mussa, who had been recalled from her post by the time of the
visit.

Your Excellency, when we started our work we all accepted and hoped
that we would complete the Inquiry within the period of two months
prescribed by the statutory Order, under which we were appointed, as the
period for the Commission to complete its work and present its Report to Your
Excellency. However, that was not to be. We soon found that the period of two
months was a gross underestimate of the time we needed to conclude the
Inquiry. The scale of this Inquiry, Your Excellency, was huge even just from the
sheer numbers of persons that came to testify before the Commission,
totalling 123 in all. So, Your Excellency, we carried on beyond two months as
we had to until we completed the Inquiry in just under seven months, on 31st
January 2013, when the Commissioners appended their signatures to the
Report and when, on behalf of the Commission, I informed Your Excellency by
memorandum that the Commission had completed the Inquiry up to compiling
its Report. I however indicated to Your Excellency in that memorandum that
the Commission needed about a fortnight to have the Report printed by the
Government Printer for presentation to Your Excellency in printed and bound
form.

Today, Your Excellency has graciously granted us audience during which
we are to present our Report to Your Excellency. It is therefore our honour and
privilege, as Commissioners, to present the Report to Your Excellency at this
point of our audience; and to that end, may I ask all of us Commissioners to
stand as I, on your behalf, move forward towards Her Excellency to present a
copy of the Report and thus to mark the official presentation of the Report.

Now that Your Excellency has a copy of the Report before you, I wish to
say a few words, and indeed only a few words, about the contents of the
Report. I say only a few words because, Your Excellency, it is not the intention
of the Commission through this occasion of presenting the Report to Your
Excellency to draw Your Excellency’s attention, nor the attention of the general
public, to particular parts or contents of the Report. It is our recommendation
Your Excellency that our Report is to be read as a whole since all parts of the
events of the episode covered by this Inquiry are related. Accordingly, on this

Occasion of presenting the Report to Your Excellency, we wish merely to
highlight in broad outline only the scope of the Report.

The Commission understood its mandate to centre mainly on two issues,
that is, the sudden death of President Bingu wa Mutharika and the events of
political transition following his death up to the swearing in of the successor
President who was Your Excellency. This Report Your Excellency has told the
two-part story: the story of the death of President Bingu wa Mutharika and the
story of the political transition in considerable detail that depicts in some cases
very minute details and graphic presentation of some of the events that took
place.

Your Excellency, the Commission also considered to be within its
mandate to extend its Inquiry to what were widespread reports of looting and
missing of Government property at State House during the period of transition.

The Commission further considered it proper for it to inquire about
certain unusual occurrences and issues during the period close to the
President’s death that could have exerted extreme pressure on him, as a
human being, as to possibly endanger his health given that he died a sudden
death from collapsing. These were occurrences and issues such as: the
absolute ultimatum by very influential and respected civil society bodies and
other interest groups in the country demanding the President to resign within
60 days or to hold a referendum on the popularity of his administration within
90 days, failing which the groups would organize nationwide demonstrations
against his administration; open signs of a failing economy reflected in severe
shortages of fuel supplies resulting in long queues of motor vehicles at fuel
stations throughout the country; severe shortages of foreign exchange
affecting business operations; openly strained diplomatic relations with the
United Kingdom, critically the former colonial power in Malawi, and also with
some of Malawi’s neighbours, notably Zambia; withdrawal of programmes of
financial and economic support to the Malawi Government by the World Bank
and the IMF and withdrawal or suspension of aid by several major
development partners, which severely affected Government budgetary
operations.

Further, Your Excellency, among the unusual occurrences the
Commission also recognized the widely publicised prophesy by T.B. Joshua, a
Nigerian evangelist, which predicted the death of an African President in
regions other than the West Africa region. In the aftermath of the sudden
death of President Mutharika the evangelist displayed a letter he had received
from President Mutharika and somehow connected the letter to some act of
acknowledgement by the Malawi President of the power of his prophesy; and
Malawians openly wondered if there was indeed a connection and what the
letter by the President was about.

The Commission has made pertinent findings on all these aspects of its
mandate. Perhaps in difference to what I have said that the Commission does
not intend at this occasion to give details of the contents of the Reports, I can
mention Your Excellency that on the aspect of death the findings of the
Commission are that—

(a) On 5th April 2012 President Bingu wa Mutharika collapsed at State House in
the Presidential audience room at around 11: 10 am and was taken into an
ambulance rushing him to Kamuzu Central Hospital. He died on the way to
the hospital and that was within minutes of his collapse before the
ambulance reached hospital. The ambulance arrived at the hospital at
about 11:25 am and the President was brought in dead;
(b) Medical personnel at Kamuzu Central Hospital nonetheless made attempts
to resuscitate him but that was already too late. At around 2:30 pm doctors
at the hospital pronounced him dead and informed the authorities of that
fact;
(c) The cause of death of President Bingu wa Mutharika was irregular beating
of his heart at that moment of his collapse, called cardiac arrhythmia,
which resulted in him suffering a cardiac arrest.
(d) President Bingu wa Mutharika had a history of heart attack having suffered
a minor heart attack in 2009.

Your Excellency, I should point out that, as regards the finding on cause
of death, the Commission did not have the chance to look at the post-mortem
report of the late President. The Commission made efforts to get the post-
mortem report from the hospital authorities in South Africa but failed. We
were informed that up to the time we finished the Inquiry, by 31st January this

year, the report had not been issued by the doctors in South Africa. Earlier we
had sought the intervention of Your Excellency for us to get the post-mortem
report and we are aware that Your Excellency did make necessary contacts at
your level. We understand that those contacts by Your Excellency have now
resulted in the release of the post-mortem report of late President Bingu wa
Mutharika which was to be handed over to the Malawi Government through
the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC), in particular to the Chief
Secretary in that Office. However, we also understand that the South African
doctor who was assigned to bring the report to Malawi and to hand it
personally to OPC decided, when he was in Malawi, to hand the report instead
to the late President’s family and did actually hand it to one of the children.
This happened some three weeks after the Commission completed the Inquiry
and has had its Report printed.

With this information, the Commission met over this matter of the post-
mortem report now being in the possession of someone within the Malawi
jurisdiction. The Commission resolved nonetheless to proceed to present its
Report to Your Excellency as already printed considering that the Commission
had already wrapped up its business. Thus, as stated in the Report now before
Your Excellency, the Commission has made its finding on the cause of death
based on the testimony it received and from the Notice of Death completed by
the doctors in South Africa which recorded the preliminary finding on cause of
death.

As it was required to do under its Terms of Reference, the Commission
has made several recommendations on various matters emanating from the
issues covered in the Inquiry. There are recommendations concerning health
care facilities available to the President on which, among other things, the
Commission has recommended the establishment of a state-of- the art VVIP
medical facility to be located at the headquarters of the Malawi Defence Force
in Lilongwe for the medical treatment of the President in sickness, as well as in
death, and this would also be to guarantee State security that goes with a
person holding office as President.

Your Excellency the Commission considers that its Report makes many
other worthy recommendations about the health care of the President and to
address or avert the occurrence of a crisis of a constitutional order similar to the crisis that engulfed the country and was the subject of this Inquiry and
about other matters covered in the Inquiry. The Commission commends all
these recommendations to Government for serious consideration.

Your Excellency, the Commission wishes to state that this Inquiry was
not a criminal investigation but rather it was an Inquiry to unravel the events
of the period. However, the Commission is of the view that relevant authorities
will be able to draw whatever conclusions they may deem proper from the
facts as laid bare in this Report.

Further, Your Excellency, there is no doubt that this Inquiry was of
immense interest to the general public in Malawi. It is also a public Inquiry of
considerable significance in the history of this country, particularly in regard to
constitutional and political development of post-colonial Malawi. The
Commission therefore recommends that it may please Your Excellency to
direct that the Report of this Inquiry, which we have presented to Your
Excellency today, be made accessible to the people of Malawi as soon as
possible through media dissemination among other means. Indeed, Your
Excellency, it is the recommendation of the Commission that the Report, as a
public document, could be reproduced for wider distribution including to
public libraries for generations of Malawians to discern what they can from it.

In conclusion allow me, on my own behalf and on behalf of my fellow
Commissioners, to thank you, Your Excellency, for the honour and recognition
accorded to us by this appointment to serve our nation in this capacity. This
was not an easy task and by the very nature of the crisis that was the subject of
this Inquiry it could not have been, and was not meant to be, an easy task.
However, as Commissioners we come before Your Excellency confident that
we have delivered on our mandate. We appeal to all authorities, and indeed to
all Malawians, to read this Report carefully and in full and to draw lessons for
the country’s governance now and in future.

Also allow me, Your Excellency, to thank my fellow Commissioners for
the dedication with which they served on the Commission. As a long serving
public officer myself, though now retired, I can say to Your Excellency that the
country has some of the finest brains among the Commissioners that served on
this Commission. To my fellow Commissioners, I say that when we came

together we started as strangers to one another and now, having spent seven
months working together on this task, we part ways literally as members of the
same family. And I know that we all cherish the valuable experience of service
to our nation that we have gained through this work.

Your Excellency, we also had a very dedicated and diligent team of
support staff. They were led by the Secretary to the Commission, Mr. Pacharo
Kayira, and included five police officers (three men and two women), two court
reporters who provided short hand for the verbatim record of the proceedings,
a research officer, accounts officers and administrative officers and two
drivers. We acknowledge the part they played and we do thank them all.

We also wish to acknowledge the financial and administrative support
we received from the Office of the President and Cabinet under the leadership
of the Chief Secretary for our work and throughout the period of our tenure.

We also thank various institutions, mostly State institutions and media
houses, both print and electronic, for documents and extracts of printed and
broadcast material they kindly obliged to provide to the Commission for its
work.

The Commission worked mostly from Ufulu Gardens Lodge in Area 43 in
Lilongwe. The arrangement provided very suitable setting for the work of the
Commission and we would like to extend our sincere thanks to the
management and staff of Ufulu Gardens Lodge. We moved our venue only on
very few occasions to Blantyre and to some lakeshore resorts in Mangochi and
Salima. In a special way we would like to thank former President of the
Republic of Malawi, His Excellency Dr. Bakili Muluzi, for receiving us at his BCA
Hill residence in Blantyre where we interviewed him to the mutual
convenience of both himself and the Commission.

Lastly, but by no means least, we thank all the individuals, high and low,
who came before the Commission to testify. Virtually all persons we
summoned or invited did come to testify before the Commission or to give
their opinion to the Commission on critical issues. Some of them were
summoned to appear more than once and they obliged. It is their stories that
have been captured in our Report and, we believe, with proper balance.

I must apologise for taking so much of Your Excellency’s time, but it
reflects the gravity of this Inquiry.

I thank you, Your Excellency.

6TH MARCH, 2013

Download full the report here: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BwXyfPExQYz5Sm9CVnA5Y3g3Wms/edit?pli=1

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