Malawi’s newly elected President Peter Mutharika has fired army commander general Henry Odillo and his deputy John Msonthi barely a month after ascending to power despite promising not to fire people.

General Odillo was the key witness in the treason case in which former President Joyce Banda accused Mutharika of trying to usurp power.

Mutharika has also redeployed the Cabinet’s chief secretary, Hawa Ndilowe, to become ambassador to Tanzania. Willie Samute, Ndilowe’s deputy, was appointed chief secretary on an acting capacity.

General Odillo, during his testimony at the commission of inquiry into the death of former President Bingu wa Mutharika, alleged that President Mutharika, then a cabinet minister, urged the army to take over government to ensure that Joyce Banda, then Vice President, should not ascend to power.

The treason charges against Mutharika and six others have since been dropped.

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