Malawians on social media have accused President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika of raping the country’s constitution by omitting the name of the Vice President Dr. Saulos Chilima in his newly released 20 member cabinet.

President Mutharika on Wednesday night reshuffled his cabinet by firing Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development Anna Kachikho.

But what has taken Malawians by surprise is the exclusion of the Vice President who ditched the governing DPP in June this year and declared he will challenge Mutharika in the presidential race in the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections.

Many people have described Mutharika’s move to omit Chilima as a constitutional rape considering the fact that the post of the Vice President is provided in the constitution of the land under Section 92(1) of the Constitution which states: “There shall be 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.”
One of the concerned citizens identified as Manuel Funsani wrote: “The VP is part of cabinet by default {the Constitution Section 92 (3)} The President is by default also a member of cabinet.The two are by virtue of office members of cabinet.They do not have to appoint each other or themselves to cabinet, the constitution makes both of them members of cabinet. Period.

“This development makes one to think that section 88 (1 ) of the Constitution is not being upheld.”

Concurring with Funsani’s remarks Mark Banda wrote: “Whether he is not but everyone knows he is Vice President of Malawi Peter Mutharika is continuing messing up things.By not mentioning Chilima as Vice President of Malawi he (Muthalika)had broken the law

“He has forgotten he swore to protect the Constitution of our Land & wherever he is, he should know he is cursedman.”

Another concerned citizen identified as Martin H Nyondo wrote: “Politics of kunthana as usual. That notwithstanding, it is a blessing in disguise as it will give the veep enough time to prepare for the forthcoming elections. With the reshuffle, i think, the president continues wasting govt resources by making the govt pay salary to the veep who is not working. Constitutionally, the president is mandated to delegate duties to his deputy. So, if the veep is receiving salary without working , the blame should go to the president for not following what the constitution says. The president has surely flouted the constitution.”

Meanwhile debate on the matter continues.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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