Former vice president Justin Malawezi says the office of the vice president has become an "endangered species" due to succession wrangles that lead to the marginalisation of the occupant.
Malewezi says contrary to a widespread belief that culture has a role to play in the wrangles between presidents and their deputies, the question of succession is the main cause of the problem.
The former Ntchisi parliamentarian, a two-term vice president under former president Bakili Muluzi, expressed these sentiments during a leadership seminar in Lilongwe attended by several cabinet ministers, principal secretaries and directors of departments, senior judges and other senior government officials.
Malewezi, who presented his paper titled "Listening to the Spirits: Understanding the Cultural Imperatives Affecting Development Policy in Malawi," made the remarks in response to questions from one of the participants of the seminar.
"In Africa, there is some endangered species and the newest is the office of the vice president. The problem is the succession. All of us start well with our presidents, but when it comes to succession new spirits come in," Malewezi said.
"I think this is also because of the law that prohibits the president from firing his deputy.
"It can be very frustrating, being called 'madeya'. I recommend that the Veeps should be given an extra portfolio rather than just wait for the president to delegate some responsibilities to them.
"Some presidents can be very energetic and a vice president might not get the chance to be delegated with some responsibility," he said.
Malewezi himself fell out with Muluzi towards the end of their tenure after serving together in the first democratic government from 1994 to 2004.
Later, former president the late Bingu wa Mutharika first fell out with his first term deputy Cassim Chilumpha and later Joyce Banda whom he had picked for his second term.
During the presentation, Malewezi explored the origins of discordance between policy formulation and implementation warning government that most of the government policies were not impacting on the country's poor.
"I argue that leadership in policy formulation and implementation demands that we continually evolve our system to address the problem of policy discordance.
"Our approach must balance between the need for standardisation of policy formulation process and accommodation of cultural nuances with a bearing on policy," reads Malewezi's paper.
The presentation is part of a series of government's leadership and management seminars organised in conjunction with Malawi Institute of Management.
This is the second time government has held the seminar since its inception.