BLANTYRE (Reuters) – Malawi’s President Lazarus Chakwera has changed the southern African country’s finance minister in a reshuffled cabinet, a government statement showed, with the post going to economist and former trade minister Sosten Gwengwe.
Analysts say Gwengwe is a loyalist of Chakwera’s Malawi Congress Party and the move to drop his predecessor Felix Mlusu could show that Chakwera wants to bolster his party’s position within the ruling alliance.
Gwengwe is more of a political force than Mlusu, having served as former president Joyce Banda’s running mate in the 2014 election which she lost.
The change of finance minister follows Chakwera’s decision earlier this week to dissolve his entire cabinet because several ministers were involved in corruption scandals. He then appointed a partial cabinet but did not reassign some key portfolios like finance.
Mlusu was not one of those accused of graft and Chakwera did not give a reason for taking the finance minister post away from him.
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Among other cabinet appointees announced in the government statement, Ibrahim Matola was made energy minister, Albert Mbawala mining minister and Nancy Tembo foreign affairs minister.
(Reporting by Frank Phiri; Writing by Alexander Winning; Editing by Kim Coghill)
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