Malawi’s new vice president appointed

Malawi’s new vice president appointed

Influential playwright, actor and civil rights activist Michael Bizwick Usi replaces Saulos Chilima, who was killed in a plane crash

By Jamal Jamal

LILONGWE, Malawi (AA) – Malawi’s President Lazarus Chakwera appointed Michael Bizwick Usi as his vice president Thursday, replacing Saulos Chilima, who was killed last week in a plane crash.

An influential playwright, actor, social commentator and civil rights activist, Usi has been vice president of Chilima’s United Transformation Movement (UTM) since its establishment in 2018. He joined President Chakwera’s Cabinet in 2020 when the UTM entered into an electoral alliance with Chakwera’s Malawi Congress Party (MCPP) during the 2020 elections.

A 56-year-old experienced development practitioner, Usi holds two master’s degrees in strategic management and international development. He also holds a PhD in youth development.

Before joining mainstream politics, Usi was working in development non-governmental organizations.

He will be sworn in on Friday in the capital Lilongwe.

Chilima was killed when a military plane carrying him and eight others to the northern city of Mzuzu crashed in the heavily forested Chikangawa Forest Reserve following what aviation experts said was bad weather and poor visibility.

Political commentators hailed the appointment as a “good gesture” towards cementing the electoral alliance, “which was seemingly collapsing.”

George Phiri told Anadolu that Usi’s appointment was a “clear indication” that President Chakwera valued the services of the late Chilima.

“This appointment without doubt signifies that President Chakwera is really concerned with the untimely death of Chilima. This will cement the alliance, which was getting shaken. I therefore applaud the president for this mature gesture,” Phiri said.

Malawi will head to the polls in September next year, and already the political temperature is heating up.

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