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Arthur Peter Mutharika dissolves Cabinet

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President Arthur Peter Mutharika (APM) has dissolved Cabinet effective yesterday [March 13 2020], with some commentators speculating that he wants to accommodate his Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) electoral ally United Democratic Front (UDF).

Presidential spokesperson Mgeme Kalilani confirmed the development in a telephone interview Friday saying Mutharika has reached at the decision in line with the discretionary powers conferred on the President in the republic’s Constitution through Section 95 (2).

Kalilani said the former members of the 24-member Cabinet have been advised to contact the Chief Secretary to State Lloyd Muhara for all administrative arrangements as regards the new development.

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Some of the administrative arrangements include return of ministerial vehicles and security detail among others.

“Yes, I can confirm that the whole Cabinet has been dissolved, the President in exercise of his power conferred on him by the laws of this country has with immediate effect disbanded the ministerial portfolios, any other communication on the matter will be done in due course,” Kalilani said.

Asked for reasons for the decision, Kalilani refused to comment and further kept mum on when Mutharika will be ready with the new list.

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But our sources within the Office of President and Cabinet (OPC) have confided in us that Mutharika is set to announce the new Cabinet Monday.

Communication within OPC indicates that all matters until the appointment of a new Cabinet, all ministerial powers, functions and responsibilities shall be vested in the President.

It then implies that all queries and matters including those from the public that require attention by particular ministers should be channelled to OPC.

But governance expert Makhumbo Munthali has opined that Mutharika could be under pressure to accommodate some members from UDF in the aftermath of the electoral alliance deal which was sealed on February 2 2020.

“The coming in of UDF might have forced the President to at least reorganise and restructure the Cabinet but maybe also he is reacting to the perceived divisions in the party. So the decision might be aimed at rewarding it’s ally UDF or punish those perceived to be no longer in his good books,” Munthali said.

He, however, added that, while the President has powers to dissolve the Cabinet, it is important to consider the associated costs considering that it is only few months away from the fresh presidential polls which will require huge resource investment.

“Needless to say that with few months before polls, government business can still move with mere principal secretaries, we can cease the moment to save on costs,” he said.

The just dissolved Cabinet was appointed on June 19 2019 in which Everton Chimulirenji was vice-president before he was later demoted to be minister of Disaster Affairs following nullification of the May 19 2019 polls in which he partnered Mutharika who was declared winner.

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