Malawi president changes finance minister in reshuffled cabinet

Malawi’s President Lazarus Chakwera speaks during the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, Britain November 1, 2021. REUTERS/Yves Herman/Pool

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BLANTYRE, Jan 28 (Reuters) – Malawi’s President Lazarus Chakwera has replaced the southern African country’s finance minister in a reshuffled cabinet, according to a government statement, with the post going to the economist and former minister of Commerce Sosten Gwengwe.

Analysts say Gwengwe is a loyalist to Chakwera’s Malawi Congress Party and the decision to drop his predecessor Felix Mlusu could show that Chakwera wants to strengthen his party’s position within the ruling alliance.

Gwengwe is more of a political force than Mlusu, having been former President Joyce Banda’s running mate in the 2014 election which she lost.

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The change of finance minister follows Chakwera’s decision earlier this week to dissolve his entire cabinet after several ministers were implicated in corruption scandals. He then appointed a partial cabinet but did not reassign some key portfolios like finance. Read more

Mlusu was not among those charged with corruption and Chakwera gave no reason for stripping him of the post of finance minister.

Among the other ministerial appointments announced in the government communiqué, Ibrahim Matola was appointed Minister of Energy, Albert Mbawala Minister of Mines and Nancy Tembo Minister of Foreign Affairs.

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Reporting by Frank Phiri Writing by Alexander Winning; Editing by Kim Coghill

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