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Malawian Vice President Gives Ultimatum


In Malawi, Vice President Cassim Chilupmha was stripped of privileges when it was rumored he had resigned. Now Chilupmha is asking the government to restore them by next Thursday; if it does not, he says he will sue for contempt of court. Fahad Assani, the vice president’s lawyer, says he has written to the chief secretary, the president and the cabinet secretary concerning the request. He said the vice president instructed him to express his concern and to tell them there is only one vice-president in Malawi.

Assani says Chilumpha is protesting an indication in the latest Secret Telephone Directory that the office of the vice president is vacant and that the positions of the principal secretary to the vice president, the deputy to that office, and other administrative offices are open. He said as of Tuesday the government had not complied with a court injunction stopping Chilumpha’s “constructive resignation” and an order to return his staff, security detail and vehicles.

Fahad Assani spoke with VOA English to Africa Service reporter Peter Clottey.

“What has actually happened is that the vice president, despite getting very clear court orders in February this year that he still remains the vice president of this country [Malawi], the state president has behaved in a way as if he does not have a vice president. This has been lately shown in the latest official publication by government about the offices of president, vice president and other top government officials, which is contained in a telephone directory where the office of the vice president is being said to be vacant. So for this reason, the vice president has actually given me instructions that unless government fully comply with the court orders, then we have to revive…court proceedings.”

Assani said the vice president must use the courts.

“Well, that is the only normal recourse the vice president will have in the scenario that we are faced with. There is no other way, but if you remember…in April the vice president…decided to call off the contempt proceedings against the president and other senior government officials on the basis that there must be some room for discussion and reconciliation. But it seems any giving in [on the part] of the vice president is taken as a sign that maybe he wants to give up…his rights…. So we’ll see what the court will say if contempt proceedings are instituted and executed in the court,” he noted.

He explains that regardless of the situation, his family depends on his earnings from his position.

“If you look at the whole thing, because he has the family that lives here in the capital city, Lilongwe, who are supposed to also enjoy the amenities by virtue of them being a family of the vice president. These things are not being supplied to the family. I mean you have situations now that, a vice president can’t even send his own children to school because he cannot have fees for his children. And yet he is entitled to those amenities to be made available by government; it’s not bodyguards and things like that.”

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