UTM Party secretary general Patricia Kaliati has said government has allocated President Peter Mutharika’s running mate in the July 2 polls, Atupele Muluzi privileges similar of a State vice president such as a motorcade and lead police siren vehicle (sweeper) as an attempt to anger the country’s estranged veep Saulos Chilima.
Kaliati was speaking at Mzuzu Upper Stadium in Mzuzu during a political campaign rally where Malawi Congress Party (MCP) presidential hopeful addressed.
Chilima, who is UTM Party president, is Chakwera’s running mate on MCP ticket which represents an opposition alliance of nine parties, and attended the rally.
“They have given Atupele the siren vehicle kuti Chilima apsye mtima [to anger Chilima],” said Kaliati.
Atupele, the president of United Democratic Front (UDF) whose party is in alliance with the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), is a Cabinet minister responsible for Energy.
He is entitled to a ministerial vehicle and one police officer.
But during the whistle stop in the Eastern Region on Saturday, Atupele had his security detail scaled up.
Reacting to the development, a professor of law at Chancellor College—a constituent college of the University of Malawi, Garton Kamchezera and Sunduzwayo Madise, dean of law at the same college both said there is no legal basis to accord a Cabinet minister or presidential running mate such a privilege.
Madise said under the law only the President and Vice President are entitled to a motorcade with Police escort and that the privileges are not extended to Cabinet ministers.
“Occasionally the police may extend police escort services to other officers and persons on ad hoc basis. For example if a member of parliament or minister is rushing to parliament and the road is congested, the police may escort such officer to parliament using their sirens,” he stated.
Madise said the need for tightening security for Atupele as Mutharika’s running mate cannot be underestimated but said providing him with a police escort without offering the same to other contestants in the race uneven the playing field .
He said since Chilima already has his motorcade and police escort as he is the current vice president, such privileges should be extended to MCP presidential hopeful Chakwera, who would be a possible country’s President after the fresh presidential elections.
Minister of Information, Civic Education and Communications Technology Mark Botomani said the afrranegment does not mean anything significant.
Police spokesman James Kadadzera said the lead vehicle is “for the benefit of all Malawians as the police officers conduct traffic in busy places to avoid road accidents.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :