BLANTYRE, MALAWI - Malawian President Joyce Banda has dismissed her entire cabinet to tackle corruption in the southern African country's government.
Banda will take over the duties of the ministries, her office said in a statement on Saturday.
She asked for help the day before from donors to investigate government officials after arrests by the Anti-Corruption Bureau in the past month.
"Suffice to say the president is not happy with corrupt tendencies in government," Steven Nhlane, her spokesman, said in an interview. "She has made it clear she knows there is corruption in government and that this dates way back but she is poised to burst this vice."
Protesters hold placards wishing Malawi Budget Director Paul Mphwiyo a quick recovery from an attempted assassination by unknown assailants who opposed his anti-corruption investigations. (AFP Photo)
Banda, 63, became leader last year after President Bingu wa Mutharika died. Wa Mutharika's brother and allies of the former president tried to prevent Banda, then vice president, from assuming power as she was entitled to under the constitution.
Wa Mutharika had alienated donors by refusing to devalue the kwacha, leading to food and fuel shortages.
There is no date for the appointment of a new cabinet, Nhlane said.
The Anti-Corruption Bureau has struggled "to make any headway in our investigations because most of those arrested on corruption charges have opted to remain silent", Victor Banda, the bureau’s deputy director, said in a debate on the country's Zodiak radio station.
John Kapito, executive director of the Consumers Association of Malawi, called for the president to resign in the same debate.
Earlier on Saturday protesters from the Consumers Association delivered a petition to the government in Lilongwe demanding action be taken against corruption, according to the Nyasa Times newspaper.
President Banda devalued the kwacha and raised fuel prices a month after taking office, unlocking aid from donors such as the UK and the International Monetary Fund. Aid accounts for about 40% of Malawi's budget.
Malawi is the world's largest producer of burley tobacco, a low-grade variety of the crop. The economy will expand 6.1% next year, faster than the 5% estimate for this year, according to the government.
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