The executive director of the human rights group Malawi Watch said President Joyce Banda should set up a commission of inquiry to look into what exactly happened immediately following the death of President Bingo wa Mutharika.
A number of officials in the Mutharika government, including the former Justice Minister and current Foreign Minister Ephraim Mganda Chiume, have indicated a cabinet meeting was held following Mutharika’s death, at which discussions were held to deny then Vice President Banda the presidency because she had formed an opposition party.
President Banda is on record as saying that there will be no room for revenge in her government.
But, Billy Banda, executive director of Malawi Watch , said the commission of inquiry should take the form of a truth and reconciliation commission, where those involved in the so-called “constitutional coup d’état” will apologize for their role and be forgiven.
“We are asking for [a] truth and reconciliation commission because the current President, Joyce Banda, made a it very clear, when she was taking her oath of office, she said no vengeance, it means it must be required of them [alleged plotters] to come publicly and confess and tell the nation exactly what happened, and then they should tender their personal apologies,” he said.
Banda said, after the alleged constitutional coup, plotters shall have confessed to their involvement, the transcription of the proceedings would then be made public, so Malawians could see the extent of their involvement and forgive them.
In his first public comment, Chiume said, at one of the cabinet meetings following Mutharika’s death, he was told to challenge then Vice President Banda’s accession to power.
But, Chiume said he believes God used him to refuse to go to court. He said, while many of his cabinet friends were protecting their jobs, he was ready to lose his for the sake of the Malawian people.
Another cabinet minister in the late Mutharika government, Finance and Energy Minister Goodall Gondwe revealed that he was present at the two cabinet meetings where the so-called “constitutional coup d’etat” was orchestrated.
But, Gondwe denied they were planning a coup because, according to him, “a coup d’etat does not discuss succession.”
Banda said Gondwe’s comments were full of discrepancies highlighting the need for a commission of inquiry.
“I think statements that are coming from former Finance and Energy Minister Dr. Goodall Gondwe are very conflicting, and, because of that, we are requesting Her Excellency, Madam Joyce Banda, to consider constituting a commission of inquiry, a truth and reconciliation commission in a sense that these people must be given room to tell exactly what they know and how much they contributed and, because of that, how do Malawians feel about it at all,” he said.
Banda said Malawians should resolve that what happened on April 5 th following Mutharika’s death should never again be allowed happen.