Chiume plotted against Joyce Banda -- Ntata
The late Malawi president Bingu wa Mutharika’s legal adviser Allan Ntata claims a current Cabinet minister instigated the failed plot to block President Joyce Banda from ascending to power.
But the Cabinet member, Foreign Affairs Minister Ephraim Mganda Chiume, has dismissed Ntata’s claim as false and a sign of someone who has something to hide.
Ntata, who left the country immediately after Mutharika’s death, argued on Capital Radio’s Straight Talk programme on Tuesday that he discussed the story of Chiume with a lot of pain.
The man, who flew into the country from United Kingdom (UK) a few days ago, also said he is not at peace with another Cabinet minister for his double standards he reportedly displayed on the devaluation of the kwacha.
Ntata told the radio Chiume, who was Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs in the Mutharika administration, called him (Ntata) for a meeting at the Ministry of Justice offices when Mutharika suddenly died in April.
He claimed Chiume told him that he had received clear instructions “from the party” that the then vice-president, Joyce Banda, should not take over.
But Chiume categorically denied the allegations in an interview with The Nation on Wednesday. He said he never called Ntata regarding Mutharika’s death.
Chiume said he has solace in the saying that ‘the guilty are always afraid’. He said he has laid his testimony bare at a Commission of Inquiry into Mutharika’s death and if Ntata wants, he can go and study it and challenge it if he wants to.
Chiume admitted he met Ntata in his office in the presence of former Attorney General Maxwell Mbendera but said he could not say what they discussed because it is in his testimony at the Commission of Inquiry.
Chiume said he has no respect for people who are not honest, appealing to Ntata to go and testify at the Commission of Inquiry if he feels he has important information.
But Ntata, in a telephone interview on Wednesday, while confirming giving an interview to Capital Radio, said a book he has written, Trappings of Power: Political Leadership in Malawi, due this December, will lay everything bare and expose double-faced politicians.
Ntata, who claimed he was in the company of other government lawyers when they met Chiume, reiterated that Chiume had clear instructions to delay [Banda’s ascension to power] as they manoeuvred the process.
Ntata claimed the former Justice Minister asked him if there was a legal provision that could stop the vice-president from taking over, and he (Ntata) advised the minister that the law was clear that she was supposed to ascend to power. Ntata claimed Chiume insisted the instructions were clear not to allow that because they needed to discuss who was going to take over.
He also claimed that during Mutharika’s reign, one minister who wanted the kwacha devalued, asked him to help sell the idea to the president. When the president asked the minister if it was proper to devalue the currency, the minister reportedly said there was a lot of merit not to devalue.
The former presidential legal adviser dismissed as untrue reports that he ran away from a crime, arguing he left the country to attend interviews in the UK where he now has a job.