The newly sworn-in Malawi President, Joyce Banda on Sunday fired Police Inspector General Peter Mukhito, replacing him with Commissioner of Police Loti Dzonzi, state broadcaster MBC reported on Monday.
The IG’s sacking is the first move in Joyce Banda’s restructuring of government operations since her elevation to the country’s presidency on Saturday following the death of President Bingu wa Mutharika on Thursday.
Mukhito, who at first served as Mutharika’s Chief security personnel was elevated to the police Inspector General rank by Mutharika and he was the centre of controversy in the 10-month academic freedom battle in 2011.
In a related development, deceased President wa Mutharika’s ruling party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) on Sunday swore in his young brother, Peter Mutharika, as the party’s president.
Crowning him as DPP president in the capital, DPP Secretary General (SG) Wakuda Kamanga, said since the young Mutharika was unanimously elected by the party as President wa Mutharika’s successor in 2014, the move was appropriate given the circumstances.
“Even before President wa Mutharika died we had already made up a decision as a party that Professor Peter Mutharika would take the party to 2014 elections as a presidential candidate so this (swearing in) is just to formalise that decision,” said Kamanga.
The development comes after most of DPP Members of Parliament (MPs) told the media on Saturday that they were ready to work with the newly sworn in Malawi President, Joyce Banda.
The DPP SG said he was aware of the DPP MPs’ allegiance to Joyce Banda but he said he was yet to receive formal communication as to whether they had defected from the party.
Meanwhile, Information Minister Patricia Kaliati, who chaired a press briefing Friday night in company of five other ministers questioning Joyce Banda’s eligibility of assuming presidential powers, said on Sunday that the entire cabinet was going to work with President Joyce Banda.