In the interview, she revealed the inside story of how Mutharika's sudden death pushed Malawi to the precipice of a coup. By 6 April, the news had spread worldwide yet there was still no official confirmation inside Malawi itself. The cabinet met secretly in an attempt to thwart Banda and install Mutharika's brother, Peter, as acting president.
Ministers held a press conference "in the middle of the night" on state television, she recalled, "telling the nation that I had no authority to act as president, that they were making arrangements to take over, that after all the president was OK and recovering. And all the while he was dead the previous day at 12 o'clock."
On 7 April, South Africa confirmed Mutharika's death and Malawi's cabinet sought a court order to block Banda. It was then she phoned the army commander, General Henry Odillo, who sided with her and stationed troops around her house. This was the pivotal moment.
"By that time the chief justice and some judges were sitting at Peter Mutharika's house waiting for the court order in order to swear him in," Banda continued. "All cabinet ministers were there too and all members of parliament were there as well. But somebody called one minister to say, 'We don't know whether you know what's going on but Joyce Banda is here and now it's looking real, so whatever you are doing elsewhere will be looked upon as treason.' At that point 15 ministers abandoned that place and came running to my house."