Government has allocated president Peter Mutharika’s running mate in the May 21 polls full privileges of a State vice president prompting the opposition to call for their immediate withdrawal.
Everton Chimulirenji, who is also Minister of Civic Education has had his security detail scaled up from one armed police officer to six.
The DPP presidential running mate is now enjoying a five vehicle convoy which includes a police siren vehicle reserved for a serving State President and Vice President.
Nyasa Times can reveal that government has added six armed police officers for Chimulirenji to bring the number of his security detail to seven. A serving cabinet minister is entitled to one armed police officer.
Government spokesman Henry Mussa justified reasons why Chimulirenji has been given privileges of a sitting vice president.
“His status has changed since he was appointed running mate to Mutharika. He is now number 2 to the President,” said Mussa.
Mussa conceded Chimulirenji is not under any security threat but said the privileges go with his new status as running mate to Mutharika.
But Malawi Congress Party (MCP) spokesperson Maurice Munthali described the decision by the government to give Chimulirenji the veep privileges as unlawful and unconstitutional.
“Let the DPP not take Malawi as their personal farm. What they have done is our the law. Let the DPP be ashamed of themselves. We have one vice president in Malawi and he is Saulos Chilima,” said Munthali.
He said Chimulirenji is running mate to Mutharika because of party arrangement, saying this has nothing to do with state resources.
Governance expert and commentator Makhumbo Munthali told Nyasa Times on Saturday that the need for tightening secutiry for Mutharika’s running mate “cannot be underestimated.”
He said: “ We all know that his appointment has been received with mixed reactions and the President might be afraid of his own frustrated DPP inner circle.
“However, what is problematic is to use tax payers money. Such resources would better be channelled to protection of persons with albinism. Let DPP use its own resources to strengthen security of its running mate not tax payers money.”
The development comes in the wake of a review of security detail for State Vice President Saulos Chilima despite a court order against tampering with his security detail.
Police also grabbed a Police siren vehicle from Chilima and allocated it to the Department of Disaster, again, ignoring a court order.
A political analyst said the blatant impunity being showed by government by treating Chimulirenji as a serving state vice president will have an impact on the image of the DPP and may cost it some votes.
“Here the party is basically saying it can do whatever it wants whether it is following the law or not and this is very dangerous especially now where you cannot take voters for granted,” he said.
President Mutharika surprised his DPP loyalist and supporters when he picked little known Chimulirenji as his running mate for the watershed May 21 elections.
There has been discontent within rank and file of the DPP with others suspecting that the President was forced by his wife, First Lady Gertrude and his powerful security aide Norman Paulos Chisale to pick Chimulirenji who hails from Ntcheu where Chisale comes from which borders Balaka where the First Lady hails from.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :