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Malawi new President starts gov't restructuring move

(Xinhua)

15:11, April 10, 2012

LILONGWE, April 9 (Xinhua) -- 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 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 center of controversy in the 10-month academic freedom battle in 2011.

In a related development, deceased President Mutharika's ruling party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) on Sunday swore in Peter Mutharika, young brother to Bingu Mutharika, as the party's president following the death of the founder of the party, Bingu Mutharika.

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 Mutharika's successor in 2014, the move was appropriate given the circumstances.

"Even before President Mutharika died we had already made up a decision as a party that Prof. Peter Mutharika would take the party to 2014 elections as a presidential candidate so this (swearing in) is just to formalize that decision," said the DPP secretary General.

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.

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