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HRDC pushes for cabinet reshuffle

TAKING HIS TIME—Chakwera (right)

Gift Trapence

By Deogratias Mmana:

Pressure is mounting on President Lazarus Chakwera from civil society to review performance of his cabinet and make changes where necessary.

When appointing the first cabinet, Chakwera gave members a six month probation and said he would replace those that would not have performed as expected. After the six months, the President said the Covid-19 would further delay the assessment of the cabinet.

Cabinet is also short of two senior ministers after the death of Sidik Mia and Lingson Berekanyama, who succumbed to Covid-19.

Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) is pressing for both replacement of the two ministers and entire cabinet assessment for a complete reshuffle.

“We are not surprised that up to now the Tonse Government has not made the announcement on the replacement. This Government is just too slow in decision making,” HRDC Chairperson Gift Trapence said.

He said there was no valid excuse to delay the exercise further.

“They might say that they are waiting for March end to do Cabinet Assessment but look at Zimbabwe, they had a similar predicament but the country was able to fill in the vacant cabinet position in good time,” Trapence said.

There was no immediate comment from State House on whether the President would wait for the ongoing assessment of Ministries, Departments and Agencies being carried out by the Public Sector Reforms, championed by Vice President Saulos Chilima, whose report will be submitted to the President this month.

The review meetings by the Public Sector Reforms started on March 9, 2021.

“The findings will be sent to His Excellency the President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera before they are communicated to the public. To this end, the findings on how the Ministries have performed will be sent to the President this month,” Public Sector Reforms Public Relations Officer MacCarthy Mwalwimba said.

He added that the first quarterly review is focusing more on progress in terms of processes being undertaken to achieve and implement the reforms.

“Once the review process is done, the Ministries and all institutions will then carry out self-assessments followed by a joint results based assessment of their performance,” Mwalwimba said.

The ministries that have so far appeared before the Vice President include: Ministry of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare, led by its minister Patricia Kaliati; Ministry of Homeland Security, led by Richard Chimwendo Banda; Ministry of Local Government, led by deputy minister Halima Daudi; Ministry of Justice, led by Titus Mvalo and Ministry of Education, led by Agnes NyaLonje.

Others are Ministry of Health, led by Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda; Ministry of Labour, led by Ken Kandodo and Minister of Energy, led by Newton Kambala.

According to a statement from the Vice President’s office, the second set of the meetings to be held virtually, will involve parastatals from March 15 to April 1, 2021 where 66 parastatals will be met.

The third set of the progress review meetings will be with Local Councils at different venues starting from April 7 to April 19, 2021.

The fourth and last set of the meetings will be constitutional bodies, the Judiciary and the Malawi Parliament via zoom from April 21 April 23 2021.

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