State House on Tuesday conspicuously sidelined presidential press secretary Gerald Viola at the official opening of the Lilongwe City West bypass road where President Peter Mutharika was guest of honour.
The sidelining of Viola as master of ceremony heightened speculation that the President is about to fire the press secretary for suggesting in a TV interview that Mutharika would buy a presidential jet once the economy improves and that the Head of State is a puppet leader.
Viola was reduced to a spectator as former presidential press officer Timpuza Mwansambo directed the event as master of ceremony.
Mwansambo was fired by Mutharika after it emerged that he was drawing two salaries one from State House and the other from MBC where he worked before his appointment as press officer.
Also conspicuously missing at the function was Speaker Richard Msowoya who has recently been accused of extravagance of public money after parliament bought four vehicles for him and his two deputies and leader of opposition Lazarus Chakwera.
Parliament was instead represented by Esther Mcheka Chilenje, the first deputy speaker.
Chief Maliri of the area openly said he was DPP and told the President that he would single handily hand pick a parliamentary candidate for 2019 polls.
The 13km by pass road from Bunda Turn Off to Mchinji roundabout has been constructed to the tune of K3:9 billion ($7.2 million) from the African Development Fund as part of the Nacala Corridor.
The government says following the construction of the road, trucks are no longer allowed to use the main road which passes through the busy Old Town.
However, most drivers shun using the road although it is the fastest means to get out of town.
The construction of the road ties well with the government plans to construct a duo carriage road from Kanengo Industrial area.
The Chinese government has already committed some funds for the construction of the dual carriage road which will immensely cut on congestion on the busy road.
China has also given Malawi a grant for the construction of several roads in Malawi including the famous Chingale road which has now turned to be a heated political issue for politicians seeking an elected office.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :