Vice president Usi demonstrates his respect for Chilima: Retains the staff that worked for Chilima

In a rare gesture of political maturity, recently appointed Vice President Michael Usi has retained all staff members who worked for his predecessor Saulos Chilima, who died after a plane he was flying in went down in Chikangawa Forest on June 10 2024.

Usi during his inauguration

Director of Communications in the Office of the Vice President, Pilirani Phiri, confirmed the development in an interview.

The move has affected both political appointees and technical staff working for the Office of the Vice President and comes as the new veep is consolidating his position, both politically and in government.

Phiri, who also served as Chilima’s official spokesperson, said Usi asked everyone who might want to continue serving to do so.

“I am pleased to confirm that the new Vice President, Dr Michael Bizwick Usi, has decided to retain all the staff assembled by his predecessor unless the need arises to change or add staff.

“This decision demonstrates the Vice President’s commitment to continuity, stability, effective governance and seamless transition,” Phiri said.

Usi, who was also vice president for UTM, was serving as Minister of Natural Resources in the Tonse Government at the time he was appointed State Vice President.

Traditionally, new political leaders in Malawi and many other countries appoint their own staff once elected. Meanwhile, political commentator Jones Chilobwe has described Usi’s decision to retain Chilima’s staff as political pragmatism.

“It is an honour to his former boss. Additionally, the staff must not feel abandoned; they must not feel forsaken. Of course, he will have to bring some of his own people in the course of time,” Chilobwe said.

Usi, 56, was sworn into office on June 21 2024 after being handpicked by President Lazarus Chakwera seven days after the office of vice president fell vacant following Chilima’s death.

He joined mainstream politics when he launched his own movement before joining forces with Chilima, who was president of UTM.

Chilima appointed him as vice president and running mate in the 2019 elections before UTM entered into an alliance with Malawi Congress Party in the 2020 presidential rerun poll.

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