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Malawi

Chilima’s ‘suspension’ will cause political rivalry – Analyst

One of Malawi’s social commentators say people in the country should expect an extreme political rift in the Tonse Alliance following the stripping of some of vice president Saulos Chilima’s powers.

On Tuesday June 21, Malawi president Lazarus Chakwera announced through a national address that he will stop delegating duties to his vice, Chilima following his implication on the list of people suspected to have been involved in corruption dealings with businessman Zuneth Sattar.

In his speech, Chakwera seemingly opted to fire Chilima but said the Malawi constitution does not grant him those powers, hence the decision to just stop delegating duties until he is proven not guilty by relevant authorities.

“The best I can do for now, which is what I have decided to do, is to withhold from his office any delegated duties while waiting for the Bureau to substantiate its allegations against him and to make known its course of action in relation to such” said Chakwera in his speech.

Reacting to the development, social commentator Wonderful Mkhutche commended president Chakwera for the decision claiming it expresses his commitment to fighting corruption in the Malawi.

When asked to interpret the decision by Chakwera, Mkhutche said the development means for now the office of the vice president holds no any other relevance until Chakwera is incapacitated.

However, the commentator further added that the suspension will likely cause an extreme rivalry not only between Chakwera and Chilima but also between UTM and MCP membership.

“It is a timely and decisive address, which has gone straight to respond to both speculations and facts. Now that the Vice President will not be delegated, the office now is not relevant as it will only function when the President has been incapacitated.

“The President has handled the issue with all the dignity it deserves. But eventually, we will see a rift and political rivalry. This is not what most people would not like to see, but the writing is on the wall that this fight against corruption will soon turn to be partisan,” said Mkhutche.

The commentator further said following Chilima’s speech when he went to Mzimba district a couple of weeks ago, the Vice President is expected to allow investigations happen and speak more about the issue afterwards.

Meanwhile, UTM through a press statement signed by the party’s spokesperson Frank Mwenifumbo, has said it is shocked and saddened by President Chakwera’s decision to stop delegating duties to Chilima.

“We, as UTM, we are shocked and saddened by the turn of events in the past 24 hours, but as a Party that has absolute belief and trust in Malawi’s justice system, we have absolute confidence that justice will prevail in the end,” said Mwenifumbo.

He further said the party will not make further comments henceforth until this issue comes to logical conclusion.

However, the party has said it will continue to give unwavering support and following to Chilima, who led them through all trials and tribulations before and during the campaign period that ushered in the Tonse Government.

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