Banda appoints ally as vice president

2012-04-11 19:16

Blantyre - President Joyce Banda on Wednesday named one of her closest allies as Malawi's new vice president, deepening her shake-up of government following the death of her predecessor Bingu wa Mutharika.

Khumbo Kachali, the former transport and public works minister, was "appointed as the vice president with effect from today", said a statement from the presidency read out on state radio.

Kachali was ousted from cabinet along with Banda in 2010, during a purge by Mutharika as he booted rivals from his government so that he could groom his brother Peter as his heir apparent.

Banda and Kachali emerged from the bruising political battle as close allies.

Although Kachali entered politics shortly after the introduction of multi-party democracy in 1993, he remains a little-known figure.

Since taking office on Saturday, Banda has ousted several top allies of Mutharika, who died after a heart attack on April 5 amid growing clamour for his resignation.

His critics accused him of ruining the economy and eroding democratic freedoms, as he centralised power in his office and his family.

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