…Chakwera, Joyce Banda also facing arrest
Malawi and the United States could be on diplomatic crisis if the claims by senior Malawi government officials that the Peter Mutharika administration is looking into the allegations against the US Ambassador Virginia Palmer that she is plotting a coup against President Peter Mutharika.
Palmer was named by a pro-ruling party online publication that she met with Leader of Opposition Lazarus Chakwera who was in the US. The publication claimed that Palmer and Chakwera met to strategise on how to topple Peter Mutharika.
Chakwera, who is also president of the Malawi Congress Party having lost the May 20 presidential elections to Mutharika, is also said to have met Joyce Banda as part of the plot.
In an interview with Malawi24, US Embassy officials said the claims were “mere fablications” and that the US was enjoying “a strong and productive relationship with Malawi”.
However, Government Leader in Parliament Francis Kasaila who is also Minister of Transport told Capital Radio Malawi that government wants Lazarus Chakwera, Virginia Palmer and Joyce Banda to “exonerate themselves”. Chakwera has also blushed the claims as ‘nonsense’.
Katsailka did not confirming what government will do should the request be ignored by the concerned parties. He however said government was treating the allegations with seriousness. As a diplomat operating in the country, Palmer can not be arrested. She can only be expelled should government stick to its grounds on what commentators say is a propaganda to divert people’s attention from the economic turmoil rocking Malawi under Mutharika’s leadership.
The claims by government will likely evoke the memories of 2011 when Bingu wa Mutharika expelled British High Commissioner Fergus Cochrane-Dyet having branded the president an autocrat. Cochrane- After being declared persona non grata by Malawi, Dyet was given 48 hours to leave the country.