Wednesday, 26 April 2017
 
Members of the Midnight Six Members of the Midnight Six Image sourced at youtube.com

Malawi’s Infamous Midnight Six Dismantling

Written by  Written By Rhodes MSONKHO Apr 06, 2017

The infamous midnight six appears to be disintegrating, following the firing of Patricia Kaliati from cabinet.

Kaliati was regarded as one of the close allies of President Mutharika after they were thrown in jail in 2012, together with ministers Goodall Gondwe, Kondwani Nankhumwa, Nicholas Dausi, Jean Kalirani and Bright Msaka.

They had been accused of plotting to prevent former President Joyce Banda from assuming the presidency when Bingu Wa Mutharika died.

Kaliati, Kalirani, Nankhumwa, Dausi, Symon Vuwa Kaunda and Henry Mussa earned themselves the midnight six name, when they publicly told Malawians through state broadcaster MBC TV that Bingu was alive and in control, and that nobody was going to usurp power.

These top Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) officials, under the leadership of Mutharika, stuck together through thick and thin while in the opposition.

 It was therefore no surprise that after the May 2014 tripartite elections the President appointed them in his cabinet, save for Dausi who then had been deployed as the country’s chief spy at the National Intelligence Bureau.

It had been smooth sailing up until now when Mutharika has decided to boot Kaliati out of cabinet, amid speculations that cracks have developed among the midnight six and the President, ahead of the 2019 Presidential polls which has seen a couple of names being thrown in the hat allegedly to take over the mantle from Mutharika.

This has always been downplayed by the DPP, despite constant allegation that factions have emerged in the party supporting Mutharika, Vice President Saulos Chilima and DPP Vice President for the South George Chaponda.

Of late, Kaliati has been perceived as one of the sympathizers of Chilima and her loyalty to Mutharika was under scrutiny.

Her firing from cabinet was confirmed by Minister of information Nicholas Dausi he added that Cecilia Chazama will now take over the ministerial duties

Kaliati, who ironically also served as Information Minister before she was moved to the Civic Education Ministry, is giving a placid reaction to her firing.

She said that it is normal and firing and appointing of ministers is the President’s responsibility and there is no reason for her to be bitter.

The firing of Kaliati comes two months after the sacking of Chaponda, who is facing corruption allegations.

This, according to some observers will likely weaken the party ahead of the 2019 elections, as the two were regarded as pillars for the DPP.

Happy Kayuni, a Professor of Political and Administrative Studies told Capital Fm that, the Malawi leader’s move cannot be quickly described as a sign that there are problems in the party as the firing of George Chaponda was due to pressure from Malawians.

Kayuni adds that Kaliati’s case is different as the party’s image had been tainted after the maize scandal, so this might have been due to internal power struggles which are usually personal.

 

Now that President Mutharika is acting on his own allies on various offences, the public is keenly watching and possibly wondering; who will be next in line to face the chopping block.

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