Parliamentarian and wealthy businessman Harry Mkandawire has stepped down from his position as vice president (northern region) of former governing People’s Party (PP) but said he remains a member of the party.
PP appointed Mkandawire as the president (northern region) replacing Khumbo Kachali.
Mkandawire said he has resigned “on principal” denying assertions that he is repositioning himself with the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
There are reports that Mkandawire met President Peter Mutharika and he was promised a cabinet post but was sidelined in the recent cabinet reshuffle.
The parliamentarian is also reported to be under pressure to seek amnesty over reports of possible prosecution on timber smuggling in Chikangawa forest and tax dodging crimes.
Announcing his resignation, Mkandawire said he was concerned that some PP oficials maybe involved in cashgate scandal, claiming he has just realised that now
Mkandawire said he was also worried the party was “inactive” due to the absence of its founder and leader, Joyce Banda.
The former president has been out of the country on private engagements since June 29, 2014 when she left for the United States of America (US).
Banda is however scheduled to return home this month from South Africa.
Reports are rife that Banda’s absence from the local political scene created a power vacuum in her party, leading to internal wrangles.
But Mkandawire was among PP officials who were invited by Banda in South Africa last month where she told them the exact day of her arrival this month,
PP secretary general Ibrahim Matola could not immediately comment on Mkandawire’s resignation but said the party is “delighted” that Banda is “finally returning home.”
Before being appointed vice president, Mkandawire was the party’s treasure general and his position was taken by Ephraim Mganda Chiume, the former Foreign Affairs Minister.
Mkandawire dumped DPP when he was arrested on political motivated charges after criticising late President Bingu wa Mutharika for promoting tribalism by championing a controversial university quota system.
He was DPP director of political affairs and governor of Northern province but at the height of DPP’s autocracy, he wrote a critical open letter questioning Mutharika’s endorsement of the quota system in which students were selected for university on the basis of district or region rather than merit.
Mkandawire also raised concerns about undermining the rule of law as a result of Wa Mutharika’s backing of the system, despite a Malawi High Court order outlawing it.
He was arrested for alleged sedition.
The quota system was introduced by the late despotic ruler Hastings Kamuzu Banda in 1988, on the grounds that students from northern provinces were entering institutions of higher learning in greater numbers than their compatriots from southern provinces. But the system was abolished in 1993 following a court challenge.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :