- Army wants to meet Mutharika
- President rejects electoral bill
- Opposition ready to protest
- Analysts call for Sadc intervention
WHISPERS of a palace coup are loading in the tiny central African country of Malawi as the incumbent president, Peter Mutharika, goes for broke to cleanse the military structures ahead of the make-or-break election re-run scheduled for May 19.
Insiders told this publication that the army has given Mutharika 48 hours to have a no-hold-barred meeting where the military personnel “want to reject his move to fire their commanders.”
Mutharika, in his capacity as Commander-In-Chief of the Malawi Defence Force (MDF) on Tuesday fired the Commander Defence Force, General Vincent Nundwe and his deputy Lieutenant General Clement Namangale.
Army Commander Vincent Nundwe (Rtd) was replaced by Major General Peter Andrew Lapken Namathanga while Lieutenant General Clement Namangale (Rtd) was replaced by Major General Davis Sesatino Mtachi.
Mutharika has also scuttled preparations for the May 19 poll rerun after he rejected to assent to the electoral bill.
The rejected Bill was meant to put in place electoral reforms by parliamentarians in preparation for that country’s forthcoming presidential re-run.
In his rejection, Mutharika said the Bill did not “meet the tests of constitutionality and lawfulness and that infringes on the principle of separation of powers with various arms of the government”.
The bill was passed by parliamentarians as a way of reducing electoral anomalies that led to the nullification of the May 2019 general elections by Malawi’s Constitutional Court.
Political analysts told this publication that Mutharika has all but thrown the peaceful country into chaos as the opposition is now preparing to meet him head on.
“He (Mutharika) wants to be pushed out by force. He has shown signs of dictatorship and wants to ring fence his position. He will not allow the elections to take place,” said an analyst who requested anonymity amid escalation of a crackdown on human rights activists.
Another political commentator told this publication that this is the time for the regional block SADC to intervene.
“If SADC does not intervene now then a war will break out soon in Malawi.”
Mutharika has also launched a crackdown on human rights defenders who played a key role in leading the citizens to protest his controversial poll victory last year.
Key human rights activists remain incarcerated without trial.
The army is now under fire because during the protests last year it sided with the people and provided the protestors with security.
The army also moved in to offer security to the constitutional judges who overturned Mutharika’s May 2019 controversial electoral victory.