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New faces in cabinet: Who are they?

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President Peter Mutharika on Monday made some changes to his cabinet, relocating some ministers, dropping others and appointing two new faces –Dr Peter Kumpalume as Minister of Health and Rev Malison Ndau as Deputy Minister of Defence. CHARLES MPAKA spoke with the two new ministers yesterday to find out who they are:

THE cabinet size is the same, 20.

But there have been casualties nonetheless: Tarsizio Gowelo who was Minister of Local Government and Paul Chibingu who was Minister of Lands have been shown the exit door.

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At the same time, coming in are two strange faces, both of them little known in Malawi’s politics although they are both Members of Parliament.

So what has Mutharika given Malawians in these two new faces?

Dr Peter Kumpalume

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The man which Mutharika has appointed to be at the helm of the Ministry of Health, one of the most complex ministries and perpetually saddled with challenges and therefore probably the most complained about, is a scientist in the field of health.

Kumpalume, 44 next month, did his secondary education at Ntcheu Secondary School.

From there, he was selected to Chancellor College where he studied chemistry.

He got his Bachelor of Science degree in 1995 and then Bachelor of Science (Hons) degree in 1997.

For his doctorate, he went to Aston University in the United Kingdom where he specialised in how to make medicines.

He was awarded a PhD in 2001.

In 2011, he graduated with an MBA specialised in finance.

Kumpalume launched his professional career in 1995 as a lecturer in chemistry at Chancellor College of the University of Malawi.

In October 2000, he joined the University of Cambridge as post doctoral researcher focusing on the making of medicines against snake bites.

Between June 2003 and January 2007, Kumpalume worked with the National Health Service [the equivalent of the Ministry of Health in Malawi) in the UK as a new product development specialist.

In that capacity, among other activities, he led the development of medicines for Anti-D, sickle cell anaemia and emphysema.

Th e r e a f t e r, h e j o i n e d a pharmaceutical company as director in a manufacturing environment before joining GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), one of the giants in the pharmaceutical industry in the world.

Among his responsibilities at GSK, Kumpalume led projects for the development of new medicines for COPD [Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases], diabetis and other systemic diseases.

A married man and a father of three children, Kumpalume is currently Democratic Progressive Party’s Member of Parliament for Blantyre West.

Rev Malison Ndau

Reverend Ndau’s entry into politics has been considerably fashioned through the mill of Zambezi Evangelical Church – working for it and educated through it.

Born on May 14, 1957, Ndau the boy did his primary education within his Zioya Village in Senior Chief Kwataine’s area in Ntcheu.

He went on to study on his own for his secondary education and sat for Malawi School Certificate of Education examination at Ntcheu Secondary School.

Upon completion of secondary educ a t ion, he t r ave l l ed t o Blantyre and enrolled with the Evangelical Bible College, an interdenominational institution which trains pastors and equips Christian workers with various skills for the service of the church.

From Evangelical Bible College, Ndau joined the Blantyre Teachers Training College where he trained as a teacher.

He picked up a job as a teacher at Liwiro Primary School in Matindi in Blantyre in 1990.

He stayed in the profession until 1996 when he took up a position with the college at Mitsidi in Blantyre.

In 1999, Ndau earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Theology with the college and then proceeded to Scotland in 2003 for his Masters Degree in Theology.

On his return in 2005, he was made principal of the Evangelical Bible College, served as the college’s academic dean and also Secretary General for the Zambezi Evangelical Church.

During that period, he doubled as the church’s Health and Development Coordinator and HIV and Aids Coordinator.

In 2007, he established his own college in Ntcheu, the Ntcheu Learning and Development College which offered Cambridge courses, among other skills.

Soon afterwards, he founded the Empowerment, Counselling, Relief and Development (Ecrad), an NGO that is working in areas such as orphan care, primary school feeding, livestock and irrigation farming, promotion of community health and adult learning.

Currently, he is studying for a Bachelor of Economics and Commerce.

Speaking on the phone from his base in Ntcheu, Ndau told The Daily Times that his journey towards entry into politics started ahead of the 2004 elections when people in his area asked him to stand as MP.

He turned the call down and did the same in 2009.

Last year, he gave in to the people’s pressure and contested and won on the ticket of the Democratic Progressive Party representing Ntcheu Central Constituency.

But he admitted that being “the little known” that he is, it was never anywhere near his expectations that he would be considered for a cabinet post.

“It’s been a huge surprise really. I have never expected it,” he said, adding, “I am so humbled with this appointment. I want to believe that the Lord has a purpose for my life as well as for the nation of Malawi. I sincerely thank [the President] for considering the little known me, Rev Malison Fraser Ndau,” he said.

But, unknown as he may be and coming from a church background, Ndau said he is undaunted by the task of working for the Ministry of Defence as deputy to Mutharika.

“I will certainly deliver in that capacity. That’s what the people of Malawi deserve,” he said.

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