Relationship Between President And His Vice In Malawi
It all started with the first President of the Republic of Malawi Hastings Kamuzu Banda who opted not to have a vice with powerful and senior ministerial positions heaped on himself. However, it so happened that at some point in time a prticular minister would pose to be second in comand which always led to the downfall of such a government official as no one was supposed to be seen as vice in line of authority to Dr Banda.
Then with the dawn of democracy it was made a constitutional requirement that there shall be vice president of the Republic of Malawi. Justine Malewezi who fell out of grace as Secretary to the President and Cabinet became the first to occupy the office of the Vice President with Bakili Muluzi as President of the Republic of Malawi. The two had a cordial working relationship both in the first term and a larger part of the second term of the United Democratic Front – UDF rule.
Their working relationship became sour towards the end of the second five year term mainly because Malewezi was not named as a preferred candidate to succeed Muluzi. In 2004 elections UDF picked Bingu wa Mutharika as its presidential candidate who many described as an outsider the result of which saw the likes of Aleke Banda and Malewezi withdrawing their membership from the party.
In these 2004 elections, Mutharika went into the ballot with Dr Cassim Chilumpha and won the elections under the UDF ticket, however in the turn of events, Mutharika announced the formation of his own party therefore he was no longer belonging to UDF the party that ushered him to the hot sit.
That’s where the second experience of relationship between the President and his Vice extended since Dr Chilumpha remained UDF while the President was now with his own party DPP. Such a sour relationship prolonged until the five year term ended when Mutharika resolved to have Dr Joyce Banda as runningmate in his second term of office in 2009 Elections.
Following the past trend, the relationship between Mutharika and Banda did not end well until unfortunately Mutharika passed on as Banda took over to finish the term as per constitutional requirements. Just as Bingu Mutharika formed his own party while serving as head of state, Joyce Banda also formed her own party while serving as vice president.
The trend continued in 2014 elections when Joyce Banda as a ruling party presidential candidate left out Khumbo Kachali for running mate position and opted for Sosten Gwengwe since the then country’s Vice President, Kachali endorsed DPP Presidential candidate Prof. Peter Mutharika (now state President) having been left out as a running mate to Joyce Banda.
The rest is history, now comes 2019 elections when history has repeated itself in that the incumbent Vice President Dr Saulosi Chilima has formed his own party cementing the trend that has been in the books of history in Malawi that Presidents never repeat their deputies from one election to the other. The trend seems not to leave out all political parties that have always gone to the polls with a new running mate.