By Chimwemwe Lusungu
President Peter Mutharika’s decision to celebrate and commemorate the day he was jailed with six others for treason, has been widely condemned by many describing the celebrations as a waste of time and money.
The DPP central region youth wing announced that the President will join the celebrations in Lilongwe and visit Maula Prison where he was detained before being transferred to Lumbadzi holding cell.
“We want to show our youths that anything is possible in life because on the day like this one President Mutharika was in jail and today he is the President,” said DPP central region youth wing chairman Lameck Malimba.
But some Lilongwe residents are angry that the DPP is celebrating when they plotted to take over the government by force.
“These people should be ashamed because they were found guilty of trying to ignore the constitution and stop Joyce Banda from taking over,” said Samson Phiri.
Another Joseph Mlenga said: “The treason case will start again because these guys attempted to rape the constitution and can never be forgiven.”
“Whats there to celebrate,” he said angrily.
Mutharika and others who included Goodall Gondwe, Henry Mussa, Patricia Kaliati were accused of plotting to prevent then Vice-President Joyce Banda from taking over after the death of President Bingu wa Mutharika.
Mutharika was arrested on March 11, 2012 and later charged with treason.
After the president died following a heart attack, Peter Mutharika is alleged to have asked the army to take power.
According to testimonies on 6th April 2012, Cabinet Ministers met among themselves without the Vice President when they resolved to pursue a court case to seek an order to prevent the Vice President Joyce Banda from succeeding the late President in the circumstances.
The Commission of inquiry established that a meeting was convened at the residence of Hon. Peter Mutharika in Area 43. The Malawi Defence Force Commander, General Henry Odillo, and the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Peter Mukhito, were invited to the meeting. The meeting was thus attended by Hon. Peter Mutharika, Hon. Goodall Gondwe, the Chief Secretary, Mr. Bright Msaka SC, the MDF Commander, General Henry Odillo, and the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Peter Mukhito.
Msaka told the Commission that at the meeting, Hon. Peter Mutharika asked the MDF Commander and the Inspector General of Police whether they were going to stand with the Government in the crisis.
The Army commander then, General Henry Odilo, told the commission of inquiry chaired by Justice Elton Singini, that he refused to work with them.
Reports of the president’s death were not confirmed for more than a day, leading to widespread anxiety and fears of a power vacuum.
The 12 people charged with treason have not yet been asked to file a plea in court.