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Lean cabinet coming January— Lazarus Chakwera

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PHIRI— Malawians expect swift action

Two months after President Lazarus Chakwera promised Malawians that he would change his Cabinet by removing dead wood, the President Sunday hinted at the prospect of announcing a lean one this month.

However, Chakwera fell short of saying how many ministers the new lean Cabinet would have.

This prompted political analyst George Phiri to accuse Chakwera of prioritising promises at the expense of action.

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In his New Year’s address Sunday, the President said Malawians should expect the new Cabinet to focus on “maximising our nation’s limited resources on improving public service delivery, fast-tracking public works projects under construction and unlocking the sectors of our economy that have the greatest potential for inclusive growth and shared prosperity, especially in agriculture, tourism and mining”.

The Malawi leader said only those who would deliver would be drafted into the Cabinet.

“In short, what you will see is a Cabinet focused on delivery. This is because I believe that giving our energies and resources a renewed focus on delivery is necessary for us, as a nation, this year in order to sustain and expedite our progress on the path of economic recovery that we embarked on a year ago.

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“As you know, the year 2022 was a difficult year for the economies of the world. The sharp rise in the cost of living that was triggered by supply chain disruptions and high inflation on imported commodities emanating from two years of Covid pandemic and one year of war in Europe has spared no nation and no continent,” Chakwera said.

The Malawi leader was quick to note that although much of the economic pain exacted on Malawians last year remains, the efforts by the authorities, such as putting in place austerity measures, securing hundreds of millions of dollars from abroad through compacts, grants, and credit facilities have succeeded in stopping the economy from collapsing and laying a foundation from which it could start to rise this year.

He has since directed Secretary to the President and Cabinet Colleen Zamba to announce, this week, names of individuals he has appointed to serve as members of the Presidential Private Sector Council.

But in an interview Sunday, political analyst Phiri said Chakwera better start acting with speed rather than spending too much time talking.

“Malawians expect swift action from Chakwera rather than continued promises to do something,” Phiri said.

On his part, Leader of the Opposition in Parliament Kondwani Nankhumwa described the speech as empty, saying “Chakwera has given Malawians a raw deal”.

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