Malawi Police Service (MPS) has fully reinstated officers withdrawn from the security detail of Vice-President Saulos Chilima following a High Court order granted last Friday.
Press officer in the Office of the Vice-President, Pilirani Phiri, yesterday confirmed that Police Mobile Service (PMS) officers withdrawn and transferred with immediate effect last week Wednesday had been reinstated on the VP’s security detail.
He said: “Security has been restored at the Vice-President’s residences, the guard commander confirmed this morning. It is the same officers who were on the list to be transferred to other duty stations.”
A lawyer from the firm that obtained the order, Bright Theu, also confirmed that the security personnel have been reinstated.
Minister of Information and Communications Technology Nicholas Dausi, who is also the official government spokesperson, said government has simply complied with the court and the action should not be construed as an admission that the action went overboard.
He said: “Whether we went overboard or not is not the issue, but when one obtains a court order, we are in a democracy and we must respect that.”
MPS transferred about 46 PMS officers, leaving Chilima with seven to man his residences, office at Capital Hill and motorcade.
The Vice-President, who has fallen out with the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and is now in the newly formed United Transformation Movement (UTM), sought redress from the court and obtained the injunction pending a judicial review.
The order also restrained the Chief Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) from withdrawing some of the vehicles assigned to the Vice-President even though the government was yet to effect this action.
Following the transfers, some officers were given three to 10 days to wind up at their duty stations while others, such as at the Vice-President’s official residence in Blantyre, Mudi House, were given immediate transfers.
An officer who opted for anonymity said the order to stay has come as he was about to report for duties at his new station.
The High Court also granted Chilima’s lawyers permission to commence judicial review proceedings.
“It is hereby ordered as follows: Permission to commence judicial review proceedings is hereby granted [and] the proceedings for judicial review be expedited,” the order reads.
The withdrawal of security detail came days after Chilima unpacked his political mission to challenge President Peter Mutharika and DPP.
Under the Presidents (Salaries and Benefits) Act, the Vice-President, among other benefits, is entitled to one personal bodyguard, one head of security guard, six security guards, two chauffeurs, two cooks and personal assistants.
Earlier yesterday, Chief Secretary in the OPC Lloyd Muhara had written all principal secretaries and heads of departments in what was classified as Distribution List ‘A’ under the subject Privileges and Benefits for the Right Honourable Vice-President.
Since Chilima announced on June 6 this year that he was leaving DPP, he has been stripped of the Cabinet portifolio of Minister responsible for Disaster Management Affairs and National Public Events.
The President on July 8 also ordered that Chilima should no longer be co-chair of the Malabo Montpeller Forum, an international think tank to which he was appointed in September 2017.