22 August 2011

Malawi: President Dissolves Cabinet

Photo: Mathews Malata/RNW
Protesters burn trees on the streets during the protests in Malawi (file photo).

After a series of anti-government protests in Malawi, President Bingu wa Mutharika has dissolved his cabinet, the maravipost has reported.

The State radio service Malawi Broadcasting Corporation said "all ministerial duties revert to the Office of the President and Cabinet", without giving reasons for the surprising move.

Analysts, quoted by the Maravipost, say Mutharika may be reacting to the 20-point demands presented to him after the July 20 violent demonstrations in which 19 people died.

One of the demands by the civil society leaders was that the president reduce his 40-plus cabinet to serve resources.

While it is not uncommon for the president to fire some ministers and keep others during a cabinet reshuffle, he only dissolves the entire cabinet when the country is heading to the polls. Analysts reportedly believe the president may be trying to re-align his cabinet ahead of the 2014 elections.

Organizers cancelled plans to resume anti-government demonstrations last week after businessmen close to the governing party obtained a court injunction but said they would continue protests in September unless the Government addresses economic problems and ends public threats against those with dissenting views.

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