October 27, 2006

President sacks two key ministers / Over 800.000 families in urgent need of food

President Bingu wa Mutharika has sacked two of his key ministers, agriculture minister Uladi Mussa and economic and planning minister David Faiti. Both were relieved of their duties with immediate effect with no reasons given. In consequence, Mutharika now heads three ministries, including that of the 120 000-strong civil service. Asked to react to his dismissal, Faiti said he was surprised by his sacking, saying "there must be good reasons why I have been removed." Mussa noted: “Like any human being, I am disappointed. It is difficult where you are not warned, not given a phone call, or given goodbye, and you do not know the reasons for the decision. But I have to learn to accept the decision. It was the President who, using the prerogative vested in him, hired me, and using the same powers he has decided to drop me.” He said he could not say whether the decision to drop him was made to frustrate him and clear the way for those that Mutharika prefers for the post. “I cannot say at the moment if the decision has been made to frustrate me. I cannot also say that I feel frustrated at the moment. I have to see through these developments to find out the truth. But I will continue serving the President and the party as DPP vice-president,” said Mussa.
Just some days before their dismissal, Minister of Agriculture and Food Security Uladi Mussa had made public that over 800.000 Malawians had run out of food, prompting government to set aside 50.000 metric tones of relief food for distribution. He also said that that was a small figure compared to the year before when the country had had 4.9 million in need of food. (Sapa / AFP/Independent Online, South Africa)

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