The State Vice President Right Honourable Joyce Banda has ordered for ten days of national mourning and that flags at governmnet buildings should fly at half mast following the official announcement by the Office of the President and Cabinet of Bingu wa Mutharika’s death. Rt Hon Banda said this at a press briefing held earlier today at her official residence in Area 12 Lilongwe.
She also condoled the First Lady Calista Mutharika, the bereaved family and the entire nation on the sudden death of the state president.
Meanwhile, she announced for a cabinet meeting to take place this afternoon to discuss the funeral arrangements of the 78-year old president who died on Thursday April 5 2012.
Almost 50 members of parliament from the United Democratic Front (UDF), Malawi Congress Party(MCP) and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) attended the press briefing. Other notable figures also included the former vice president Dr Cassim Chilumpha, Uladi Musa of Maravi People’s Party, Henry Phoya of MCP and cabinet ministers Sidiq Mia, Ken Lipenga, John Bande, Ephraim Chiume amongst others.
Conspicously missing at the briefing were Peter Mutharika, Goodal Gondwe and the Chief Justice Lovemore Munlo. Inspector General of Police Peter Mukhitho, the Army Commander General Henry Odillo and Bright Msaka franked the Vice President during the briefing.
As at the time of the blog, reports indicate that Goodal Gondwe contacted former President Bakili Muluzi pleading with him to cajole Joyce Banda into including a few DPP members in the cabinet should she dissolve the present one and hire anew.
In another development, highly placed sources allege that the Chief Justice Lovemore Munlo is among the few government officials declining to recognise Joyce Banda as the President. This, sources say, is due to the personal arrangement the dead president had made with him that he (Munlo) should make sure that Peter Mutharika is made interim president should Bingu pass on.
We are following these and many other stories including the Bright Malopa and Nzati Nkolokosa saga at the broadcasting house here at the blog. Keep an eye on this page.