VP Chilima stripped of ‘disaster’ duties, ‘mid-night 6’ retained: Malawi cabinet reshuffle

In a cabinet reshuffle made by President Peter Mutharika  announced on Thursday by  Chief Secretary George Mkondiwa, the Head of State has stripped  deputy Saulos Chilima duties as Minister responsible for Disaster Management, maintaining a lean 20 member cabinet with only three  female ministers and also retained the ‘midnight six’.

Mind the gap: President Mutharika and vice president Chilima at the ceremony

Mind the gap: President Mutharika and vice president Chilima at the ceremony

In the new cabinet line-up, Chilima is just State Vice President without portfolio.

Notable changes in the cabinet also shows the rising of Leader of Government in Parliament, Francis Kasaila who is also ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) spokesman, from Transport and Public Works Ministry to key Foreign  Affairs Ministry replacing George Chaponda who heads another key ministry of Agriculture Irrigation and Water Development,  .

Mutharika has dropped Minister of Agriculture, Allan Chiyembekeza while the outspoken Parliamentarian Patricia Kaliati has been moved to Ministry of Information and Civic Education from Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social welfare where Jean Kalilani takes over.

The reshuffle comes seven months after Mutharika made changes to his 20-member cabinet, and two weeks after the country’s consumer watchdog, Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) took to the streets in protest against, among other issues, the government’s failure to address social and economic challenges facing poor Malawians.

And the firing of Chiyembekeza from cabinet might be regarded as a reprisal for his failure to address maize shortage the country is currently facing which has forced millions of people to spend days and nights on queues at Admarc depots.

Mutharika has roped in a new face, Parliamentarian Aggrey Masi as a Deputy Minister of Defence.

But the change that will attract more attention is the moving of Patricia Kaliati to the Ministry of Information and Civic Education which has held before under the former President late Bingu wa Mutharika’s regime.

Kaliati will take over from Jappie Mhango who has since been moved to the Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security. Mhango’s predecessor, Jean Kalilani is now new Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare.

Among those who have retained their positions in the cabinet include Minister of Finance Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe; United Democratic Front (UDF) president Atupele Muluzi who remains Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development; Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism Joseph Mwanamvekha; Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining Bright Msaka, SC; Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu, SC; Minister of Education, Science and Technology Dr Emmanuel Fabiano; Minister of Sports and Culture Grace Obama Chiumia; Minister of Health Dr Peter Kumpalume; Deputy Minister of Education, Science and Technology Vincent Ghambi
Mutharika has retained  parliamentarians who were in the ‘Mid-Night Six’, who went public in opposing the ascendency to power of former President Joyce Banda following Bingu wa Mutharika’s death in 2012.

On Good Friday (April 6 2012), the eve of the official announcement of Mutharika’s death, a group of six Cabinet ministers addressed a midnight news conference beamed live on Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) television which suggested that Banda could not assume the presidency as “there was no vacancy in government” and allegedly because she had formed an opposition party.

MP’s in the midnight six; Henry Mussa, Patricia Kaliati, Dr. Jean Kalilani, Kondwani Nakhumwa  have been retained while Symon Vuwa Kaunda remains at State House as presidential adviser on national unity, and Nicholas Dausi is chief state spy.

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Chilima and Atupele, you better see the writing on the wall. Show the world what you stand for, otherwise you’re
doing yourself and Malawians a great injustice.


Are you people serious that without Chilima DPP could not have won the election? Chilima must thank DPP not the other way round. Intelligent ministers like Msaka and Tembenu understand politics thats why they know how to conduct themselves. APM does not owe Chilima any gratitude. Let Chilima be independent or join MCP tione ngati DPP SIYIDZAWINA. WHO TOLD YOU THAT A VP MUST SUCCEED THE PRESIDENT? WHERE HAS IT HAPPENED( UNLESS THE INCUMBENT DIES). Lowassa in TZ did not become president and joe Biden will not. DPP or indeed every party must decidevwho should be the flag bearer.


Mathanyula used Chilima like a condom, it’s done its job, it’s wet, it’s dirty, it’s time to trash it…..what a concept!

Ze Roberto

Sometimes I get nonplussed at comments that seem sympathizing with Chilima. Chilima is equally inept as Peter himself. They are all a nightmare ever happened to this country

dz soko. commentator

Akaliati munamuputira bingu mavuto kamba ka zoyankhula zanu. Yesetsani kugwira pakamwa mungamuphetse munthu. Ine ndakuuzani. Bwana chilima ndimmamkuonani pakatipa muja munayankhuliramu timaona ngati mumadziwa zimene mukuyankhura. Komabe limbani mtima chifukwa mulamulirako 2yrs yokha kutsogoloku ngati jb bola osadzatiiwala.


Kungosankha anthu wokhawokhawo ngatimmalawi muno muli anthu womwewo basi ena mitu yawo yinayima kalekale pamenepo


Kodi ya midnight six yilipati abale?. Kapena until jests come?

On 22 June 2014, the VP was appointed Minister responsible Civil Service Reform Commission. On 17 August 2015, he was also appointed as Minister responsible for Disaster and Relief, Public Events and Chair Person besides Civil Service Reform Commission. To say that he is stripped of these all portfolios is a deliberate move to cause unnecessary debate for nothing. From the horses mouth, we were informed that the relationship for the two is as good than ever before. Moreover by not mentioning these portfolios on the reshuffle does not signify that he has been stripped of them. If that was… Read more »
I don’t understand why Chilima continues to hang on. Muthalika used you once he achieved his goal which was to rig the election you are not useful any more. he needed some one who had contact to communications so that he could intercept by hacking MEC computers. You are a used condom my brother time is now to smell the coffee. Which VP have served in Malawian politics? Zero nada!! if I were Chilima I would resign hold a news conference and spill the beans about how the cheating took place. Right now he would have absolutely nothing to lose… Read more »

Honestly, what could Chiyembekeza do with the maize shortage situation? Malawi should urgently address the issue of food shortage otherwise this year will be worse, and if the president thinks firing ministers is the solution, then Chaponda can as well pack his bags, because by January next year, famine will be worse than now.

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