In a shocking speech, Malawi’s president Lazarus Chakwera announced to the nation that he had dismissed the whole cabinet due to corruption allegations against a number of ministers. Chakwera said on Monday, 24 January, that he had decided to let three ministers and other public officials accused of corruption, stand trial.
“I have dissolved my entire cabinet effective immediately, and all the functions of cabinet revert to my office until I announce a reconfigured cabinet in two days,” he said during the address.
Minister of lands Kezzie Msukwa, who was detained last month in a bribery case, will be excluded from the restructured cabinet, he added. Msukwa is accused of profiting from land dealings involving a Malawian businessman located in the United Kingdom. Meanwhile, labour minister Ken Kandodo has been accused of stealing Covid-19 funding, and energy minister Newton Kambala of interfering with the granting of fuel import contracts.
Floods, lengthy drought periods, crop-destroying pests and the coronavirus pandemic have hit the small nation hard, leaving 15% of the population food insecure. Despite its fairly modest area, it is among Africa’s top 10 for population density.
Chakwera, who is also the leader of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP), the country’s oldest and largest member of the ruling Tonse Alliance, said he would try to form a new cabinet within the next 48 hours.
The president had been facing growing opposition from within the coalition, with many accusing his party of corruption, nepotism and leading the country toward economic disaster. His decision comes just days after the arrest of three former officials of the former ruling Democratic Progressive Party, including the former finance minister and central bank governor, who were widely expected to be his main opponents in the 2025 election.