Former Speaker of Parliament Henry Chimunthu Banda has delivered a major snub to President Peter Mutharika by turning down a ministerial post in his new-look government.
Mutharika on Thursday appointed Chimunthu Banda as Minister of Natural Resources and Mining.
But the former Speaker on Friday said he will not be taking up the post, saying he was not consulted and only learnt about it in the media.
The former Speaker—who once served the ruling governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) as its secretary general—confirmed he communicated the decision to the appointing authority through the Office of President and Cabinet.
According to Chimunthu Banda, the letter also contained his appreciation for being considered for the post, though he would not be taking the offer.
“I was not informed. Probably if I had that prior information, I could have best made my excuse at that particular point but no, I was not informed,” Chimunthu Banda said.
The former secondary school headteacher however said he remains a member of the governing DPP as its legislator.
Mutharika appointed a new Cabinet incorporating members of the United Democratic Front (UDF) – a partner of his own DPP —and drafted in Chimunthu Banda to try to broaden his popular appeal.
In the new cabinet, Mutharika kept the bulk of his former cabinet drawn from his DPP but has brought on board an independent lawmaker Kamlepo Kalua to head Ministry of Lands and three legislators UDF and their leader Atupele Muluzi – the son of former president Bakili Muluzi.
In a landmark ruling last month the Constitutional Court ordered the holding of fresh presidential poll within 150 days, but Mutharika is attempting to quash the fresh election.