Bingu wants ‘brother leader’ to be 2nd VP

By Judith Moyo, Nyasa Times

President Bingu wa Mutharika’s brother, Peter, is earmarked for the post of the country’s second vice president in the forthcoming cabinet, according to well-place sources, but a legal expert has warned that the move will be against the law.

A Lilongwe-based lawyer said a legal battle would ensue if President Mutharika appoints his brother Peter to the position of third-in-command and empowers him to run state affairs at the expense of an elected vice president.

Peter Mutharika was Minister of Education, Science and Technology in the previous cabinet which was dissolved last Friday. He is also nominated as presidential candidate of ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) for 2014 elections.

“The president indicated his intention to appoint Peter as second vice president so that he can delegate him to carry out certain state functions,” the source told Nyasa Times.

“The President wants Peter to act on most engagements since the first vice president is out of the governing party,” the source added.

Peter Mutharika: Being repositioned for power inheritance

The septuagenarian leader is reported to be falling in health.

The Constitution of Malawi allows the President to appoint second vice president. The first Republican second vice president was late Chakufwa Chihana in the administration of former president Bakili Muluzi.

But some Malawians have angrily reacted to the reports  of Peter becoming second vice president.

“If Peter becomes second vice president that will invite more trouble. Peter failed to bring sanity in the Chanco issue as Minister of Education. How can he be entrusted with state affairs? That will be a big joke,” said Johns Peter Libwenje in Lilongwe.

Mutharika dissolved his over 4-plus cabinet on Friday apparently in the wake of last month’s violent anti-government protests.

Civil society organisations have given him pressure to reduce the cabinet to serve resources.

Observers say cabinet dissolution may mean that Mutharika is reacting to the 20-point demands presented to him after the demonstrations in which 19 people died.

They also believe the president may be trying to re-align his cabinet ahead of the 2014 elections.

The anti-government protests were fuelled by the rising cost of living in Malawi which analysts say is a direct fall-out of Mutharika government’s autocratic ways and its mismanagement of the country’s economy.

Even though Malawi had a fast growing economy with tobacco exports being a major foreign exchange earner, exports this year dwindled to about one-third of last year’s level.

Malawi has faced a crippling shortage of foreign exchange, fuel and electricity.

Meanwhile, speculations continue to be rife over the new cabinet line-up with some saying former deputy minister Nicholas Dausi may head over the new ministry of Police, which has been de-linked from Home Affairs.

And that newly appointed DPP campaign director Ken Zikhale Ng’oma will be Presidential Affairs minister while Goodall Gondwe will bounce back in cabinet as Minister of Development Planning, replacing Abbie Shawa who is tipped to be minister without Portfolio.

All these are speculations but the prerogative to appoint a cabinet rest with the President who did not attribute any specific reason for the decision to dissolve the cabinet or indicate when new ministers will take office.

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