Malawi’s New President Sacks Police Chief

Barely 24 hours after taking oath of office as the new President of Malawi, Joyce Banda has replaced the country’s police chief Peter Mukhitho with Loti Dzonzi.

Mr Mukhito, a one time aide de camp of departed President Bingu wa Mutharika, then Inspector General, becomes the first casualty of regime change, despite President Banda’s assurance, in her acceptance speech, that there would be no room for revenge.

A statement issued by the Office of the President and Cabinet said President Banda exercised her constitutional powers as Commander-in-Chief of the Malawi Police Service to appoint the new Inspector General.

“President has appointed Commissioner Loti Dzonzi as the new Inspector General police,” reads the statement.

Mr Dzonzi has served Malawi Police Service since 1987 and his appointment will have to be endorsed by the Parliamentary Public Appointments Committee.

Mr Mukhitho, during his tenure, was vilified after police allegedly killed 20 people during the July 20 nationwide protests and arrested leaders of opposition party and civil society organisations.

Mutharika’s body

Meanwhile, scores of political and business allies of President Mutharika have pledged their support to Ms Banda at several press conferences.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), the ruling party which Mutharika founded, has suffered mass defection since Ms Banda ascended to power as MPs were now joining her quasi-ruling party, People’s Party founded last year.

The DPP announced that it had elected Peter Mutharika, the former president’s younger brother and minister of Foreign Affairs, to the position of the the party leader.

The younger Mutharika has since congratulated Ms Banda and pledged to support her.

Banda was sacked from the DPP because she opposed the endorsement of Peter as the ruling party’s torchbearers in the 2014 presidential elections.

In another development, President Banda convened a special Cabinet meeting that appointed a committee to take charge of the funeral of President Mutharika.

Information indicated that the body would arrive in Malawi on Thursday.

Date and place for burial were yet to be announced as government said it was consulting with family members.

Africa Review

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