Presidential guard commander Owen Maganga has joined the list of President Peter Mutharika’s senior aides departing the State House.
Maganga, a deputy commissioner of police, has been redeployed to Dowa Police Station as officer-in-charge after his removal from the position last week.
The President has appointed Maganga’s former deputy, Andy Chikwapula, who is assistant deputy commissioner of police, as his new guard commander.
But while confirming Maganga’s replacement, presidential press secretary and spokesperson Mgeme Kalirani said the former guard commander had been recalled by the Inspector General of Police to attend a month-long management course in Swaziland.
He said: “All police officers serving at State House, including the guard commander, are at all times under the administrative control of the Inspector General of Police.
“The communication State House got was that Mr. Owen Maganga had been selected by the Police Service to attend a management course in Swaziland for about a month. As we speak he is already there. As such the service was seconding another officer to State House to serve as guard commander.”
But Kalirani said State House was not in a position to know where Maganga would be posted upon completion of his training as that “is an issue for the police chief”.
However, State House director of security Paul Norman Chisale confirmed in a separate interview that Maganga had been transferred to Dowa after being promoted.
He said: “I can confirm that Maganga has indeed been posted to Dowa, but his going there is a promotion. He is deputy commissioner of police, he can serve as guard commander but he holds a very senior position and needed to be considered and by giving him a station [to head] it is an honour. There was nothing wrong he committed.”
Maganga, whose better part of his service with the police has been at State House, was appointed guard commander in 2015 to replace Duncan Mwapasa after Mutharika promoted Mwapasa to deputy inspector general of police responsible for administration.
Meanwhile, Blessings Chikwatu who was the third in command (operations 1) at State House, has now been appointed acting deputy guard commander with Dingani Njolomole now moving up to become Operations 1.
Since ascending to the presidency after his triumph in the May 20 2014 Tripartite Elections, Mutharika has hired and fired several of his senior aides, including his former aide-de-camp (ADC) Lieutenant Colonel Fostino Gunda Phiri, presidential press secretaries Frederick Ndala and Gerald Viola and presidential secretary Hilda Chapola.
But commenting on the removal, Mustapha Hussein, associate professor of political science and administrative studies at Chancellor College (Chanco)—a constituent college of the University of Malawi (Unima)—said the President needed to re-strategise by putting in place a stringent recruitment system that would ensure right people are put in right positions to avoid frequent changes of his essential aides.