Former Insurance Executive named as Malawi’s new Finance Minister

Former insurance executive Felix Mlusu was named Malawi’s new finance minister on Monday, a week after a re-run presidential election that unseated the incumbent.

Mlusu, 69, was managing director of Nico Holdings Plc – a listed monetary agency with interests in insurance, banking and property administration throughout Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Mozambique – from 1996 till his retirement in 2015.

He was named in a press release by the new government  of Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera, who received 58.57% of the vote in Tuesday’s ballot and was sworn in on Sunday.

That end result was a dramatic reversal of the result of the original election in May 2019 that gave the win to then president Peter Mutharika. His victory triggered months of protests and was overturned by the courts.

Monday’s government statement also named former vice president Saulos Chilima as minister for economic planning and development. Chilima bowed out of the presidential race to join forces with Chakwera in what might have been a decisive move.

Lawmaker Richard Banda was named minister of homeland security, lawyer Chikosa Silungwe was appointed attorney general and Modecai Msiska, Chakwera’s lawyer, was made minister of justice and constitutional affairs.

Msiska had represented Chakwera and different disgruntled opponents as they challenged the original vote result in the courts. Silungwe was also involved trying to get the vote annulled.

The repeat vote was seen by analysts as a test of the power of African courts to sort out poll fraud and restrain presidential power.

It echoed the same judgment in Kenya in 2017, nevertheless it was uncommon in delivering a new election that resulted in a reversal of the previous result.

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