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Pac keeping eyes on Lazarus Chakwera on cabinet

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The Public Affairs Committee (Pac) has underlined that it will take President Lazarus Chakwera to task on his promises of a lean cabinet, three months after the body met with Chakwera on the matter and others.

During the meeting in July, Chakwera told Pac that he would review the cabinet after the 41st Southern African Community Development (Sadc) Summit which took place in Lilongwe in August.

Speaking to Malawi News last week, Pac spokesperson Gilford Matonga said the committee is yet to hear from the President on the matter.

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“We met and discussed several other issues and on the issue of the cabinet, he said he would get back to us after the Sadc Summit. However, until this day as we speak, we have not heard from him.

“If he does not respond in the soonest time possible, we will come up with measures to remind him of his promises on lean cabinet that he made during his campaign. Of course we understand the there is an alliance at play but we will still follow up with promises that were made,” Matonga said.

Cabinet review promise

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When he was swearing in the appointees in July last year, Chakwera defended his highly-contested maiden cabinet.

Some described it as a family affair and an appeasement cabinet on account of the inclusion of people who are related.

Others also described it as nepotist for its being dominated by people from Lilongwe, the President’s home district.

In response to this public outcry, Chakwera said the ministers and deputies were appointed in what he called a transitional cabinet to lay the groundwork for a Tonse Alliance approach of governing the country.

He promised to review the cabinet in five months.

“You each have five months to produce results that will give Malawians confidence that change has come. At the end of that period, you will each give a report to Malawians publicly on your progress in each of the key performance indicators that I will give you.

“At the start of the New Year, I will shortlist those of you whose performance I find satisfactory and include you among those who will be publicly interviewed for a year-long appointment on my 2021 Cabinet.

“As you already know, many Malawians are not as persuaded as I am that you are the right people for this job. The onus is on you to prove them wrong and to reaffirm me in my confidence that you have what it takes to deliver the Tonse Transformation that Malawians have long cried, prayed, and fought for. Should you prove the sceptics right by being lazy, abusive, wasteful, arrogant, extravagant, divisive, and corrupt, I will not hesitate to have you replaced,” he said.

Today, a year and two months on, Chakwera has not met his promise, let alone replacing four cabinet ministers – Sidik Mia and Lingson Belekanyama – who died early in January this year from Covid, Ken Kandodo –whom he sacked in April in K6.2 billion Covid funds abuse fallout and Newton Kambala – who is answering charges related to fuel contracts at National Oil Company of Malawi.

Chakwera’s Press Secretary Antony Kasunda told Malawi News that at a time the President deems fit, he will make known his mind about the cabinet.

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