Senior govt. officials arrested over bid to stop Joyce Banda now 11 - Dr. Necton Muhura, the deputy Chief Secretary to the Malawi Government, has been arrested, pushing to 11 the number of senior Malawian government officials arrested on Monday for allegedly plotting to prevent then Vice President Joyce Banda from assuming power following the death of former president Bingu wa Mutharika in April last year.
Below is the full list of officials arrested Monday:
Peter Mutharika (former cabinet minister)
Goodal Gondwe (former minister)
Patricia Kaliati (former minister)
Henry Mussa (former minister)
Jean Kalilani (former minister)
Symon Vuwa Kaunda (former minister)
Nicholas Dausa (former deputy minister)
Kondwani Nankhumwa (former deputy minister)
Bright Msaka (chief secretary to the government)
Necton Mhura (deputy chief secretary to the government)
Dan Mwapasa (former presidential guard commander)
The arrested officials, including Mutharika's brother, Prof. Peter Mutharika, former Information Minister Patricia Kaliati and Mutharika's Guard Commander, Duncan Mwapasa, sparked a wave of violence in the commercial capital, Blantyre, as supporters of the former ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) took to the streets to protest the arrests.
Police fired several rounds of teargas to break the protest.
A report into Mutharika's death, presented to President Banda last Wednesday, revealed that following the 78-year-old economist-turned-politician death from cardiac arrest on 5 April, cabinet ministers and senior government officials held a number of secret meetings aimed at upstaging then Vice President Banda from assuming power as demanded by the Constitution.
Mutharika and Banda had fallen out as her boss preferred his younger brother, Peter, to take over from him when he retired in 2014. Banda, who was next in the succession line, resisted the anointment of the 72-year-old Washington State University constitutional law professor, and was subsequently expelled from the ruling party.
She subsequently founded her own People's Party (PP).
According to the report, the younger Mutharika and Gondwe had suggested to Army Commander, Gen. Henry Odillo, that the army 'just take over'. But Odillo told the Commission 'he was uncomfortable with the suggestion for it was not provided for in the Constitution'.
As the Mutharika administration haggled over what to do, it delayed the confirmation of Mutharika's death and instead sent the President's dead body to South Africa for, according to former Information Minister Kaliati's April 6 midnight press conference, 'further treatment'.
The administration grudgingly confirmed the death of the President on 7 April and Banda was quickly sworn in on the same day. She fired most of Mutharika's associates but retained a few, including Gondwe.
During the Monday violence that was sparked by the arrests, several vehicles were smashed and a number of police officers were assaulted but police spokesman Nicholas Gondwa said no arrests were made.