US embassy cable - 04LILONGWE1

VP RESIGNS FOUR MONTHS BEFORE ELECTIONS

Identifier: 04LILONGWE1
Wikileaks: View 04LILONGWE1 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Lilongwe
Created: 2004-01-02 11:50:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Tags: PGOV PINR KDEM MI Political Elections
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.


 
UNCLAS LILONGWE 000001 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV, PINR, KDEM, MI, Political, Elections 
SUBJECT: VP RESIGNS FOUR MONTHS BEFORE ELECTIONS 
 
REF: 03 LILONGWE 1202 
 
1. (U) On January 1, First Vice President Justin Malewezi 
announced that December 31, 2003 was his last day in office 
and that he has resigned as First Deputy National Chairman of 
the ruling United Democratic Front (UDF).  In his press 
release, Malewezi said he made the decision for personal 
reasons and will comment more fully on his future plans in 
two weeks, after he has "had time to reflect on (his) 
options."  Apart from confirming receipt of Malewezi's 
resignation, neither the Office of the President and Cabinet 
(OPC) nor the UDF have commented.  (NOTE: Malewezi officially 
still encumbers the vice presidency.  He is taking leave 
until his mandate ends with the May 2004 elections.) 
 
2. (U) The OPC, however, did announce that UDF 2004 vice 
presidential candidate Cassim Chilumpha will take up 
Malewezi's secondary position of Minister of Privatization. 
 
COMMENT 
------- 
3. (SBU) Malewezi's resignation from the UDF is a serious 
blow to the party and to its chances of winning the May 
presidential elections.  He is widely regarded as among the 
most capable, hard-working, and honest of UDF leaders, and he 
has taken lead roles in HIV/AIDS, food security, and 
privatization.  He was criticized by party stalwarts for not 
being supportive enough of a third term for President Muluzi, 
and his relations with the President have been lukewarm ever 
since.  When Muluzi hand-picked outsider Bingu wa Mutharika 
as his successor in March, the rupture was complete. 
Although Malewezi has been marginalized in the government 
over the past year, he nevertheless offered it a measure of 
credibility.  His abrupt resignation has exacerbated party 
disarray, and has led to speculation about other high-level 
defections.  The big question now is what Malewezi will do 
next -- throw his support to an opposition candidate or 
consider a presidential run of his own.  END COMMENT. 
BROWNING 

Latest source of this page is cablebrowser-2, released 2011-10-04