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Mr Gwanda Chakuamba (2003)

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Thursday, December 01, 2005

Malawi Vice President Cassim Chilumpha doesn’t attend government meetings
11:45:19 - 30 November 2005

President Bingu wa Mutharika Tuesday for the first time publicly spoke on his strained relationship with Vice President Cassim Chilumpha by accusing his deputy of having an attitude problem.

Mutharika said this when he addressed the press at the New State House in Lilongwe on his arrival from Malta where he attended a two-day Commonwealth Heads of State and Government summit.

But Chilumpha the same day evening refused to comment on Mutharika’s allegations.

“I have spoken to the Veep. He has told me that he has no comment to make,” Horace Nyaka, the Veep’s Public Relations Officer said.

Mutharika has remained mum on his relationship with Chilumpha since his deputy began making thinly veiled attacks on the way the President is running government.

The President said he had no problem with anyone but asked people to judge the behaviour of Chilumpha, who he accused of shunning cabinet meetings.

“He doesn’t attend government meetings. Each time he gets an opportunity to address people in a church, he attacks his own government,” he said.

According to Mutharika, Chilumpha should tell the nation what his problem is.

“In all fairness, look at the developments since January,” he said.

Mutharika also claimed that he has always been willing to extend an olive branch to the opposition but they have declined to meet him.

The opposition has since rejected the claim.

United Democratic Front (UDF) spokesperson, Sam Mpasu described Mutharika’s remarks as untrue.

“In fact, it’s us he has rebuffed. We have made attempts to meet him but he has refused. The nation knows that he has on several occasions sent our delegations back,” Mpasu said.

Malawi Congress Party (MCP) second deputy president and party spokesperson, Nicholas Dausi said Mutharika has never invited them as a party to a roundtable discussion.

“All we know is that he invited our president, John Tembo and the agenda was that Honourable Tembo should be Second Vice President,” he said.

According to Dausi, the party did not take Mutharika seriously because he was busy thinking about giving people positions when people were dying of hunger.

“He should find a better agenda. We are ready to talk to him but not on positions,” he advised.

In his speech, Mutharika said the Malta summit mainly addressed fundamental political values especially good governance.

Chilumpha has stuck to UDF, the party that propelled Mutharika to power but which the President jilted to form the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in February this year.

Ever since, there has been bad blood between the two camps

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