Lands and Housing Minister Henry Phoya took over as acting head of with both Malawi President Joyce Banda and Vice-President Khumbo Kachali out of the country.
Phoya, who is also Leader of the House in Parliament, was the last person to greet the President before she boarded the plane.
He also dismissed a presidential guard of honour at Chileka International Airport in Blantyre after the President flew out to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), signalling he was in charge of affairs.
However in comments published in the press, Phoya downplayed the development, saying the dismissing of a presidential guard of honour mounted by the Malawi Defence Force was “necessary formality.”
“Nothing should be read into it. On Saturday, I merely performed what I would call a necessary formality. In this age of fast and sophisticated modes of communication, the President always remains in charge of the country,” Phoya is quoted by The Nation daily newspaper on Tuesday
Minister of Information and Civic Education Brown Mpinganjira, who is also the official government spokesperson, also told the paper that Phoya is “coordinating State affairs.”
Meanwhile, the Vice-President, currently in Sri Lanka for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (Chogm), is expected in the country this week.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :