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Saturday 1 November  

Mutharika inquiry to go ahead despite family snub: Banda

Published on 14 June 2012 - 4:32pm
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Malawi will go ahead with a probe into its former president's death despite his family's rejection of the inquiry, President Joyce Banda said Thursday.

"The late president was no longer a family member... he was the president of Malawi and there are rules how you look after a president," Banda told reporters on arrival from visits to the United States and Britain.

"All we are trying is to find out what happened, not who killed him. Is there anything we could have done to avoid his death, did he receive enough first aid, why were there three different signs of date of death?" she asked.

Banda was inaugurated as president on April 7 following Bingu wa Mutharika's death. Sources had confirmed his death while the government still insisted he was alive.

After suffering a heart attack, Mutharika was flown to South Africa and pronounced dead on arrival at a military hospital, officials revealed after days of confusion over his condition.

But the new president said there were a "lot of gaps" that needed to be filled with the probe to "end speculation" on why it took time for the government to announce his death "when the rest of the world was announcing the president had died."

The family last week rejected the probe as an "unjustified satanic mechanisation to advance personal and political agendas."

Mutharika had groomed his brother Peter, the former foreign minister, as his heir apparent, even though Banda as vice president was next in line.

Banda was only sworn in following major international pressure and after two days of backroom dealing.

Since taking office, she has moved to reverse many of Mutharika's policies, including re-establishing diplomatic ties with Britain, its biggest bilateral donor and former colonial ruler.

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