Malawi says no one wants to arrest its vice-president

LILONGWE–Malawi says there’s no truth to rumours that it planned to arrest Vice President Joyce Banda on her return from Zambia where she went to attend independence celebrations at the invitation of Pres Michael Sata, Maravi Post
“Politicians should not be acting like dramatists. Nobody in Malawi Government is aware of her whereabouts. She didn’t seek leave,” said Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Kondwani Nankhumwa. “No single Police officer has instruction to arrest her, let her come home and play politics here.”

Banda’s aides indicated that she would arrive in Malawi on Wednesday.

While she has been away, two online reports quoted undisclosed Zambian security officials claiming Banda had returned to Pamodzi Hotel in Lusaka after checking out, claiming that she was seeking asylum.

Banda’s press liaison Ruth Govati and her Peoples Party officials said they knew nothing more than what had been reported.

In the alleged plot to arrest Banda, unnamed sources were quoted as saying the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) intended to charge Banda with treason. The claims go as far as saying the military was involved in a plot to overthrow Pres Bingu wa Mutharika.

Banda was fired from the DPP last December after she was accused of engaging in “anti-party” activities. The vice president was, from the look of things, against endorsing the president’s younger brother as DPP’s presidential candidate for the 2014 elections. Banda has since formed her own party called People’s Party and remains the country’s vice president as only parliament has powers to remove her from office.

Nankhuma at the foreign affairs ministry said there was a flurry of accusations made against the government to undermine Malawi’s presentations at the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva and Pres Mutharika’s presence at the Commonwealth Heads of State and Government summit in Australia all happening this week.

The latest information reaching MaraPost is that there was a chance Banda and Mutharika could have met in Johannesburg for their connecting flights if the veep travelled on Tuesday. Mutharika left Malawi for Australia yesterday via South Africa.–maravipost

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