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Court Reinstates Malawian Vice President Cassim Chilumpha


Malawi's high court has ordered the government to reinstate Vice President Cassim Chilumpha, saying the president does not have the power to remove the vice president. The court ordered the government to restore his security, cars and all other entitlements. President Bingu wa Mutharika accuses Mr. Chilumpha of undermining his government. Mr. Mutharika's effort to fire the vice president was the latest twist in the country’s political crisis.

The president was handpicked by former president Bakili Muluzi to run as the candidate for the United Democratic Front (UDF). But the president resigned from the party last year and formed his own democratic Progressive Party. He said the UDF was blocking his anti-corruption campaign. Vice President Chilumpha, who is vice chairman of the UDF, is among past and present officials being investigated for corruption. The UDF has been trying to get President Mutharika impeached over accusations that he used state money to set up his party and committed other unconstitutional acts.

Viva Nyimba is the lawyer for Vice President Chilumpha. He told English to Africa reporter Ashenafi Abedje the high court verdict demonstrates ”that the judiciary is independent in this country.” He says the courts “play their role of interpreting the constitution without fear or favor and without any bias.”

Nyimba denies charges that the vice president undermines the president or opposes his anti-corruption campaign. He attributes the rift instead to what he calls President Mutharika’s tendency “to shift goal posts” and to what he calls the president’s “tit for tat policy.” He says, “Anybody that opposes the president on any issue is likely to face the tune.”

The vice president’s lawyer recommends dialogue to resolve the rift between the country’s top two leaders. He says, “Such dialogue will help end all the bickering and create a peaceful environment to achieve progress in this country.”

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