President Peter Mutharika’s has been faulted on his tendency to delegate Cabinet ministers to official functions at the expense of his Vice President Saulos Chilima.
Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) and Chancellor College political analyst, Mustapha Hussein, criticised Mutharika for sidelining his Vice on some of the international engagements.
Recently, Mutharika delegated Foreign Affairs Minister, George Chaponda, to represent him at the third India Africa Forum Summit where over 40 heads of state and government were in attendance.
Chaponda said he personally asked the Indian government to grant Malawi another credit line amounting to $400 million.
Mutharika also delegated Minister of Trade and Industry,
Joseph Mwanamvekha, to lead a team of other ministers including Chaponda to Beijing, China, between October 10 and 12, 2015, where Malawi sold its seven priority projects.
Malawi benefited from the trip after $1.5 billion was signed in various sectors including increasing power generation capacity by 300 megawatts and renovation of Chileka International Airport.
Hussein said failure to delegate Chilima to such meetings is a cause of concern.
“In any organisation, the vice should be the right hand person of the leader and in this case Chilima is supposed to be the right hand person of Mutharika in matters of the presidency. Where the president cannot attend a meeting, it should be the vice,” he said.
Hussein argued that even if the President doubts the capabilities of his vice, technocrats in the civil service are there to support the Vice President.
CCJP said Mutharika’s tendency of delegating ministers has the potential of rendering the office of the Vice President ineffective.
“The Vice President is elected concurrently with the President and the Vice President’s role is to assist the President. Logically, if the President is unable to attend a function which he was supposed or obliged to, then the Vice President should be delegated,” said CCJP’s acting national secretary Martin Chiphwanya.
He added: “Cabinet ministers should only be delegated where both the President and the Vice President are tied up with other pressing issues. Delegating a Cabinet Minister on issues of the Office of the President, when the Vice President is not tied up, raises serious mistrust between the office of the President and that of his vice.”
Vice President spoke sperson, Pilirani Phiri, said on Thursday, delegation matters are policy in nature and as such State House or Office of the President and Cabinet or Minister of Information were better placed to comment.
Minister of Information, Tourism and Civic Education, Jappie Mhango, said the President delegates ministers when the issues or meetings are in line with their ministries.
Mhango said “What I know is that His Excellency delegates line ministers to attend events related to their ministries.”
He added: “These organisations should keep themselves busy complementing government efforts at this time when the country is facing several challenges as opposed to attacking the President over matters they have no idea about.”
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