Sunday, February 15, 2009

Malawi: Six ministers fired

Friday 13 February 2009 - Sam Banda Junior, AfricaNews reporter in Blantyre, Malawi

Six deputy ministers have been fired by Malawi's president Bingu Wa Mutharika from his cabinet. They are said to have opted to stand the May 19 elections as independent parliamentary candidates after losing party primaries in their various constituencies, a statement from the presidency said.

The affected ministers are Richard Msowaya (Education, Science and Technology for Higher Education), Olive Masanza, deputy minister of education responsible for primary education, Gift Mwamondwe, deputy minister of mines and energy, Roy Chizimba, deputy minister of economic planning, Billy Kaunda, deputy minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Culture and Patricia Mwafulirwa, deputy minister of Women and Child Development.

“In exercise of the powers conferred upon him under Section 65(2) of the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi, the president has directed that the six ministers are no longer members of the cabinet with immediate effect,” said the statement.

DPP held primary elections across the country where some seating MPs including these sacked ministers lost and decided to stand as independent. But Mutharika and his DPP recently said those who had failed to pass through as candidates should not stand as independents but support those elected.

Six candidates are contesting the presidency in the forthcoming elections in the southern African country. Mutharika is seeking another term of office after a first term of office. He came to power in 2004 under the United Democratic Front (UDF) ticket, the party which he later dumped in 2005.