Malawi’s president reshuffles government amid corruption allegations against several ministers

Archive – Malawi’s President Lazarus Chakwera – JOSEPH MIZERE / XINHUA NEWS / CONTACTOPHOTO

Malawi’s President Lazarus Chawkera has announced a government reshuffle that includes a reduction in the number of ministers and the appointment of seven new faces, including an opposition figure, following allegations against several ministers for their alleged involvement in corruption cases.

According to the information gathered by the newspaper ‘Nyasa Times’, among the ministers who have left the Executive – which has 27 posts, instead of 33 – are those of Information, Local Government, Culture, Commerce and Energy. The decision thus excludes high-ranking members of the government coalition.

Chakwera announced in his New Year’s speech that he would announce a reshuffle in the face of investigations by the Malawi Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) and the British authorities, which has increased the pressure against him for the apparent impunity for this type of crimes.

The president has also decided not to give any ministry to the vice-president, Saulos Chilima, who is among those indicted for corruption. However, he cannot dismiss him because the law prohibits this option.

Chakwera dismissed in January the chief prosecutor, Steven William Kayuni, for the controversial arrest in December of the head of the ACB, Martha Chizuma. He criticized the handling of the case and stated that «it is serious that the chief prosecutor had a moment of misjudgment or conflict of interest».

The Malawian president won the 2020 elections, which were held after the 2019 presidential elections – in which former president Peter Mutharika won re-election – were annulled by the courts because of irregularities during the process.

Following this, the new president promised in his inaugural speech at the end of June 2020 to fight corruption in the country and called on the judicial apparatus to «do more to end the culture of corruption and selective justice», although members of his own Executive have been involved in corruption scandals.