, BLANTYRE, Apr 7 – Malawi’s Vice President Joyce Banda said Saturday that the “constitution is prevailing”, but stopped short of confirming that she would succeed the late Bingu wa Mutharika.
“I don’t think there’s any way we can discuss who is caretaker (president) and who is not,” she told a press conference. “The constitution is prevailing right now.”
But she acted like a president as she called a cabinet meeting for later Saturday. Standing nearby were the army commander, the chief of national police, the attorney general, and several cabinet ministers and parliamentarians.
“The paramount issue to be discussed at the cabinet meeting is on the funeral of the father of the nation,” Banda said.
“In the meantime, I call upon all Malawians to remain calm and to keep the peace during this time of bereavement,” she added.
Malawi has declared 10 days of mourning for Mutharika, who died Thursday following a heart attack.
The government only confirmed his death on Saturday morning, following a backroom tug-of-war between Banda and Mutharika’s inner circle in the ruling Democratic Progressive Party.
Mutharika expelled Banda from the DPP after he chose to instead groom his brother Peter to be his successor. She has since formed her own People’s Party and emerged as a leading critic of Mutharika’s handling of Malawi’s troubled economy.