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Last Updated: Friday, 10 February 2006, 13:01 GMT
Malawian judge halts VP sacking
Cassim Chilumpha (from www.malawi.gov.mw)
Mr Chilumpha is a close ally of the president's predecessor
A judge in Malawi has ruled that the president cannot sack his deputy until the constitutional court decides whether he has the power to do so.

On Thursday, Bingu wa Mutharika said he had dismissed Cassim Chilumpha, saying he had attacked the government and seriously undermined its integrity.

But Mr Chilumpha said only parliament had the power to remove him.

Mr Mutharika is involved in a power struggle with his predecessor, who is a close ally of Mr Chilumpha.

The president, who was handpicked by ex-President Bakili Muluzi to run as the United Democratic Front candidate, resigned from the UDF last year, saying the party was blocking his anti-corruption campaign.

As far as I am concerned I am still the elected vice-president of this republic
Cassim Chilumpha

The BBC's Raphael Tenthani in Blantyre says Mr Chilumpha remained in the UDF, making it difficult for the two most powerful men in Malawi to work together.

A statement read out on state radio on Thursday evening accused Mr Chilumpha of arrogance, disrespect, abrogating on his constitutional duties and violating his oath of office.

A cabinet meeting on Wednesday unanimously agreed that the vice-president's conduct was not in line with his duties, the statement said.

The president also alleged that the vice-president had tried to run a parallel administration.

"As far as I am concerned I can only leave this office through impeachment, resignation or my death and none of those things has happened so I am still the elected vice-president of this republic," Mr Chilumpha said on Friday.

The political crisis has paralysed government, angering foreign donors at a time when food shortages are threatening five million people.


SEE ALSO:
Malawian VP appears in court
16 Nov 05 |  Africa
Malawi impeachment drive halted
26 Oct 05 |  Africa
Profile: Bingu wa Mutharika
23 May 04 |  Africa
Country profile: Malawi
03 May 05 |  Country profiles


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