Everton Chimulirenji remains in Cabinet of President Peter Mutharika as Minister responsible for Disaster Management Affairs following Constitution Court (ConCourt) order on Monday reinstated Dr Saulos Klaus Chilima as Vice-President after nullifying the results of the presidential elections held on May 21 2019—citing evidence of widespread irregularities.
Chilima, who is UTM Party president and was the first petitioner in the presidential election nullification petition, was reinstated by as second-in-command , technically firing Chimulirenji.
President Muthatrika picked youthful Chilima from the corporate world where he served as Airtel Malawi managing director to be his running mate and eventually the country’s Vice-President following the pair’s triumph in the May 20 2014 Tripartite Elections.
But Chimulirenji remains on the government protocol list as number 2 as he maintain his cabinet post.
In a letter, addressed to the Chief Secretary to the Government Lloyd Muhara, Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale and acting Inspector General of Police Duncan Mwapasa, Chilima’s lawyers have demanded the resumption of the benefits within a stated period or risk court action.
One of Chilima’s lawyers, Khumbo Soko, who also represented him in his successful petition to quash last year’s presidential vote, on Friday confirmed writing the letter .
“We are demanding that the benefits which are attached to the office of Vice-President of the State should be immediately restored to our client. A court order cannot be ignored,” Soko said .
Garton Kamchedzera, a professor of law at Chancellor College, a constituent college of the University of Malawi, said UTM Party president Saulos Chilima is the constitutionally recognised State vice-president as the court order is in effect.
Kamchezera said: “Following the court ruling Chimulirenji is no longer the Vice-President and if someone still refers to him as the Vice President that is contempt of court.”
Anyone found guilty of contempt of court risk serving three years in jail or paying a fine if convicted.
The law professor said Chimulirenji tenure as vice-president has been annulled by the ConCourt.
During the news conference in Lilongwe on Wednesday , Chilima said he has not yet had communication with President Peter Mutharika upon resuming the official duties as the country’s second-in-command.
But presidential spokesman Mgeme Kalilani has since said “there is no reason warranting the President to touch base with him [Chilima].”
He also said Mutharika could not be meeting Chilima.
“Meeting him for what purpose?” he wondered.
According to the Constitution, the President and the Vice-President “shall receive such salary, allowance or pension as may, from time to time, be determined by an Act of Parliament in consultation with the President and shall have such adequate number of residences and personal staff, at State expense, as an Act of Parliament may prescribe.”
Among others, the Vice-President is entitled to an official residence, security, aides, salaries and allowances, all of which Chilima is reportedly yet to receive.
Mutharika and Chilima fell out mid-way during their five-year term and Chilima proceeded to lead the newly formed UTM Party which sponsored his presidential ticket in the annulled May 2019 presidential election.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :