Malawi President Peter Mutharika has ordered Vice President Saulos Chilima to choose between UTM or being part of the cabinet.
During the swearing in of new members of the Cabinet, president Mutharika justified the omission of Vice President Chilima from the Cabinet announced on Wednesday night, saying the decision has not created a Constitutional Crisis as claimed.
President Mutharika said there is nothing like sitting a Cabinet as an honorary position or as a matter of constitutional status but subscribing to the policies and agenda of the government of the day.
“Because we work on the principle of collective responsibility, you cannot sit on Cabinet if you are not part of its agenda. Every Cabinet has a policy agenda,” he said at the ceremony that was held this afternoon at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe.
Commentators have said that the remarks were an indirect jab at Vice President Chilima who was omitted from the cabinet creating what Leader of Opposition Lazarus Chakwera has described as a Constitutional Crisis.
Mutharika did not give any reason as to why Chilima was not part of the new cabinet leading to calls that he had gone against Section 92 of the Malawi Constitution which stipulates that the country shall have “a Cabinet consisting of the President, the First Vice President, the Second Vice-President and such Ministers and Deputy Ministers as may, from time to time, be appointed by the President”.
Chilima ditched the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in June this year to form his United Transformation Movement (UTM).
He has been holding rallies lambasting the administration of Mutharika, accusing it of nepotism, corruption and scheming to rig the 2019 Tripartite Elections.
Calls from other opposition leaders and activists for Chilima to call it quits continue to fall on deaf-ears as the UTM leader said he will continue to serve as the Country’s vice president in line with the Constitution.
Chilima insists that his inability to not work is because he is not being delegated to undertake any duty by President Mutharika required by Law.
But during today’s swearing in of the new cabinet, Mutharika hints that this has been because the two leaders, who haven’t spoken with each other since June, are peddling in the opposite direction of each other.