Vice-President Saulos Chilima has partially reclaimed some of his entitlements, including security detail befitting his office following the February 3 2020 Constitutional Court ruling that nullified the May 21 presidential election.
In a telephone interview yesterday, Khumbo Soko, a member of Chilima’s legal team, confirmed that his client has been given some of the benefits, but said full compliance was yet to be made.
He said: “There hasn’t been full compliance. There has been some movement on the security front, but other than that, the rest of the issues remain unresolved. However, I cannot go into detail because of sensitivity of security issues.”
Under the Presidents (Salaries and Benefits) Act, the Vice-President, among other benefits, is entitled to one personal bodyguard, one head of security, six security guards, two chauffeurs, two cooks and personal assistants.
On the direction to have the other benefits reinstated, Soko said the team has already filed for contempt of court; hence, will wait for a date of hearing to be set.
But the lawyer said Chilima has not given them instructions regarding potential arrears dating back to the day he vacated the office last May.
Chilima, who is also president of UTM Party formed after he left the governing Democratic Progressive Party in July 2018, filed for contempt of court to have three senior government officials jailed for not adhering to the Constitutional Court judgement that since he remains in his position as VP, he should get his benefits.
The three officials include Chief Secretary in the Office of President and Cabinet (OPC) Lloyd Muhara, Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale and Acting Inspector General of the Malawi Police Service (MPS) Duncan Mwapasa.
Efforts to speak to Muhara yesterday on when government will reinstate the other benefits to Chilima proved futile as his known mobile phone numbers could not be reached.
In an earlier interview, Kaphale said he was not aware of complaints registered with his office on non-compliance as regards to the court order.
Yesterday, National Police spokesperson James Kadadzera refused to comment on an internal police communication dated February 15 2020 transferring two officers to the Vice-President.
One of the implications of the landmark Constitutional Court ruling is that Everton Chimulirenji, who has served as Vice-President since May last year, is required to relinquish the position and all its trappings. When asked on the status of handovers, the Office of the Vice-President and Chimulirenji’s status, Chimulirenji’s spokesperson Charles Wahara asked for more time, saying they have been preoccupied with the burial of Chimulirenji’s mother last Friday.