Cabinet draws mixed reactions
Political and social commentators have expressed mixed views on the 27-member Cabinet appointed by President Lazarus Chakwera on February 1.
While some people have applauded Chakwera for ringing the changes, other commentators have described the Cabinet as neither lean nor efficient.
The new Cabinet has seen Chakwera dropping powerful Malawi Congress Party (MCP) secretary general Eisenhower Mkaka from the position of Natural Resources and Environment minister.
As if to balance the equation, Chakwera has also dropped influential UTM secretary general Patricia Kaliati from the position of Gender minister.
The Malawi leader has also dropped MCP treasurer general Albert Mbawala from the position of Mining minister, veteran broadcaster Gospel Kazako as Information minister, veteran businessman Mark Katsonga Phiri as Trade minister, Professor Blessings Chinsinga as Local Government minister and Timothy Mtambo as National Unity Minister.
Chakwera has also fired John Bande as Water and Sanitation deputy minister, Enoch Phale as Health deputy minister and Agness Nkusa Nkhoma as Gender deputy minister.
Instead, Chakwera has roped in new faces such as Ken Zikhale Ng’oma, who is now Homeland Security Minister, Moses Kunkuyu as Information Minister, Uchizi Mkandawire as Youth and Sports Minister and Madalitso Kambauwa Wirima, now Education Minister.
The new Cabinet has seen the contribution of main Tonse Alliance partner, UTM, further declining as Chakwera has not replaced Kaliati with any member from UTM.
Another surprise inclusion into the Cabinet has been opposition Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker for Chikwawa North Owen Chomanika, who has been appointment Deputy Local Government Minister.
Commenting on the issue of reshuffle, good governance commentator Makhumbo Munthali, who is also the Secretary General of Political Science Association, said Malawians should lower their expectations of the new Cabinet.
Munthali described the new Cabinet as a campaign Cabinet that strategically focuses on strengthening MCP’s political base across the country.
According to Munthali, the biggest shock is the leaving out of Chinsinga as minister of Local Government.
Consumers Association of Malawi Executive Director John Kapito described the Cabinet as neither lean nor efficient.
Kapito said the Cabinet still contains some deadwood that needed to be taken out.
Asked to comment on the shrinking UTM representatives in the Cabinet, UTM spokesperson Felix Njawala said they believe that whoever is roped into Cabinet is capable of delivering promises that the party made to Malawians.
According to Njawala, UTM’s main interest is to see delivery of the key promises the party and its alliance partners made to Malawians.
“The rest, we leave it to Malawians to judge but as long as the promises made to Malawians are fulfilled, we are okay with that regardless of who is in the Cabinet,” Njawala said