Malawi's President Banda shakes Cabinet By REX CHIKOKO in Blantyre | Thursday, December 6   2012 at  20:11

Malawi President Joyce Banda. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

Malawi President Joyce Banda has stripped off her Vice-President Hastings Khumbo Kachali the ministerial post of  Health Minister and fired her party Vice-President Cassim Chilumpha from the Cabinet.

It is believed that President Banda removed Mr Kachali from Cabinet following his involvement in the snatching of hospital beds from one clinic to another, where he was campaigning for a member of his party to be elected as MP.

It is not known why she removed her party Vice-President from the Energy ministerial position.

In early September, Mr Kachali ordered the removal of beds from one hospital to the other in his constituency, a development that astonished many across the country until they were eventually replaced.

The  Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) launched an investigation into the scandal and found that ruling People’s Party (PP) candidate Raymond Nkhata used the beds as a campaign tool in the Mzimba by-elections held on October 9.

Unconfirmed reports indicated that Mr Chilumpha had been sacked for failing to handle Mulanje Mountain mining deal, Lake Malawi oil deal and also the Kayerekera Mining.

Mr Chilumpha, who was before his appointment a chairman of one of the opposition party's UDF, is also seen as political threat to Ms Banda's presidency.

President Banda also surprised many by appointing the late President Bingu wa Mutharika protege, Mr Goodal Gondwe, to the position of Economic Planning and Development ministry, from which Mr Atupele Muluzi  resigned few weeks ago.

The President has also stripped off the minister of Justice Ralph Kasambara the twin position of  Attorney-General.

Mr Kasambara remain with the ministry only.

Mr Kasambara is being accused of failing to defend the government by paying of compensation to five former state officials

This is the first reshuffle by President Banda since taking over power in April this year following the demise of Mutharika.