Former vice-president Khumbo Kachali is yet to decide whether to go for the Vice-Presidency retirement package or forfeit it for parliamentary benefits.
Kachali was elected Member of Parliament (MP) for Mzimba South West Constituency on People’s Party (PP) ticket and was one of the legislators sworn in last week before undergoing orientation at the National Assembly.
In an interview yesterday, Kachali said since his retirement as vice-president, he had not been communicated to by Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) on his benefits; hence, he could not decide on his next step.
He said: “I am supposed to make an informed decision on this; that is why without getting the details on my retirement package as vice-president, I don’t know how I would go ahead.”
Kachali added that currently he was based in Mzimba and only travelled to Lilongwe for the parliamentary duties.
Provisions in the Presidents (Salaries and Benefits) Act stipulate that the President or the first and second vice-president will lose their benefits if they go back to serve in a public office and also draw a public salary.
Reads Section 5(1) of the Presidents (Salaries and Benefits) Act: “The pension, other benefits and facilities conferred by this Act on a former president or former vice-president shall not be paid or enjoyed and shall not accrue during any period when the former president or former vice-president, as the case may be, is in receipt of a salary from government or other State body.”
Kachali, who served as vice-president to former president Joyce Banda from April 2012, won the Mzimba South West parliamentary seat in 2009 on Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) ticket, but surrendered it after being appointed vice-president.
Kachali is not the first retired vice-president to be in quandary with the Act.
In 2009, another former vice-president, Cassim Chilumpha, forfeited his parliamentary benefits and maintained his vice-presidency retirement package after he was elected independent parliamentarian for Nkhotakota South.
In 2004, former vice-president Justin Malewezi and former second vice-president the late Chakufwa Chihana, respectively, also faced the tough choice of losing their terminal benefits while serving as members of Parliament (MPs).
Malewezi won the Ntchisi North seat as an independent whereas Chihana won Rumphi Central under his Alliance for Democracy party (Aford).
Among others, under the Presidents (Salaries and Benefits) Act, a former president or vice-president is also entitled to a tax-free monthly pension at 50 percent of his/her salary and a vehicle. They are also entitled to free electricity, water, medical, security services and return air tickets for holiday to a destination of his or her choice in the world.