LILONGWE—The office of the Vice President has been reduced to ceremonial figurehead role following Peter Mutharika’s decision to stop Saulos Klaus Chilima from heading the Department of Disaster Management Affairs and National Public Events.
Mutharika made the announcement on Friday, in what is clearly a tit-for-tat act.
“His Excellency Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika President of the Republic of Malawi in exercise of powers conferred upon him by the Constitution has directed that with immediate effect, the functions of the department of Disaster Management Affairs and National Public Events be under the office of the President and Cabinet,’’ reads a statement released on Thursday, July 5, and signed by Chief Secretary Lloyd Muhara.
Last year, Chilima’s position as head of Public Sector Reforms was taken away from him. Public discourse has it that the moves are evidence of the bad blood that exists between Mutharika and Chilima.
On June 6 this year, Chilima announced that he is leaving the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) after there had been calls that he should take over the party’s leadership from Mutharika.
However, Political Analyst Ernest Thindwa has said it is not surprising that Mutharika has kicked out Chilima as the Vice President is now a political rival.
“It is not a surprise really in the sense that the President [Mutharika] is only trying to be [politically] rational. Any politician is a rational being who would want to have an edge over a competitor. The office[Department of Disaster Management Affairs and National Public Events] was giving Chilima a platform to meet the masses and to be seen to be helpful because normally he was going there with some kind of help and that could be an advantage which the incumbent President does not want[Chilima] to have,’’ he said as quoted by the Times.
Chilima has, in his recent interview, declared his interest to contest for presidency in 2019.