Controversy at State House surrounds the dismissal on Tuesday of President Peter Mutharika’s aide-de-camp (ADC), Fostino Gunda Phiri, whom insiders reveal got the chop without the knowledge of his boss, the Head of State.
“He was ordered to surrender and handover all State House items in his possession to the Guard Commander. It was the President’s Personal Assistant (PA), Ben Phiri, who made the order, rather surprisingly,” said a member of Mutharika’s security detail at Kamuzu Palace in the Capital City, Lilongwe.
He told Nyasa Times in an interview the President’s PA and the ADC seem to crossed paths over the presidential diary.
The ADC is responsible for arranging appointments for the President and that there seems to have been disagreements between the two over who should or should not meet President Mutharika, according to the security officer, who pleaded for anonymity.
“Ben Phiri called the Chief of Staff (Peter Mukhito) to his office upstairs and informed him that the services of the ADC are no longer required at State House.
“He told the Chief of Staff, the President does not want to see him again,” said the security officer, adding that Mukhito carried out the order on Tuesday, March 3 only to discover a day later that the President never sacked his ADC.
“The President was confused when the Chief of Staff informed him about the matter. It is not clear what the President’s decision will be after this seemingly breach of protocol. But one thing is for sure, Ben Phiri and the ADC cannot work together again,” he said.
The security official also alleged that the transfer of the former Guard Commander, Duncan Mwapasa from State House to Police Headquarters was also instigated by the President’s PA. Mwapasa is now Deputy Inspector General.
“In terms of rank, Mwapasa is now more senior than when he was Guard Commander. However, the privileges that come with being a Guard Commander for the Head of State are quite enormous benefits. Given a chance, Mwapasa could have chosen to remain at State but the most powerful am in government Ben Phiri insisted he must go,” he claimed.
The sacked ADC will return to the Army Barracks where he holds the rank of a Lieutenant Colonel. He was Security Attaché at Malawi’s High Commission in Zambia before he was hired as President Mutharika’s ADC.
The ADC could not be reached for his comment while both Phiri and Mukhito could not pick calls when Nyasa Times sought their comment.
But MDF spokesman confirmed Phiri is back at the barracks.
“I can confirm that Lieutenant Colonel Phiri is no longer with State House. He has been recalled to MDF to carry out other duties,” said MDF spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Francis Kakhuta-Banda.
However, Kakhuta-Banda could not give the reasons for Gunda-Phiri’s removal from State House, only saying the Army Commander saw it necessary to recall and assign him to other duties.
Meanwhile, President Mutharika’s Executive Secretary has also been relieved of his job at Kamauzu palace.
According to sources at State House, Hilda Chapola was fired on Wednesday, March 4, 2015.
She has been redeployed to Ministry of Health. Reasons for her transfer are unknown.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :