Tales of time: Shuffling for nothing


In case you missed it, a week ago President Peter Mutharika decided to shuffle his Cabinet for the third time since he became tenant at Plot Number One. It was the same old Peter-story of much ado about nothing.

What came out of it was nothing really other than maybe a reminder that Peter Mutharika is a poor judge of characters. Clearly, the good President does not know what he wants or simply put, he loves the aura of being surrounded by expendables. I even think, cabinet reshuffle, to Peter, is a pastime that is done between heavy sips of whiskey, and you cannot expect anything serious from that.

You just have to feel sorry for Allan Chiyembekeza who, of all the out-of-sorts ministers that are in Cabinet, he was the solitary casualty. Chiyembekeza, most of us will agree, was not the brightest bulb in the box and he made a series of bloopers that left people wondering how on earth he found his way into the Cabinet. But he should not have been the only one to have Peter’s guillotine on his nape. Over half of the cabinet deserves to be fired.


What is most shocking about this Cabinet is Peter’s religious insistence of having Goodall Gondwe maintained as the custodian of the public purse. I said it earlier that Goodall is old and tired and should be left to enjoy in the village other than burdening him with such an important office. Goodall had his days but, as we know, nothing lasts forever. Even the sharpest brains do have their functional limits. It is unfair to both Goodall and the country to let such an old man at the Ministry of Finance.

Maybe, Peter is too close a friend to Goodall and the decision was a matter of old-age loyalty other than acumen. Goodall gave us some joy when he still had the age and strength but he is not the same man whose magical economic wand swept everyone off his feet. He has done enough and he should go with the remaining respect that some of us have for him. Otherwise he will lose it all.

It was quite refreshing that Jappie Mhango was finally removed from the Ministry of Information. From the first word he uttered, it was clear that Jappie was clueless and somehow behaved like a cadet other than a Cabinet Minister. If you list them, you will be shocked at the number of mistakes t h e m a n made in his short time at the Ministry. And then, what is more scaring is that he is now at the Minister of Home Affairs, which is a very sensitive office that should be manned by someone who is level headed enough not someone who always rushes in making decisions like Jappie. I would not be surprised if one day, he just decides to order his boys— the police—to start arresting everyone who opens his mouth.


Jappie’s replacement at the Ministry of Information is not an impressive figure either. At a time when people are learning to practice politics with a bit of decency and decorum , Peter Mutharika decides to shock the world by appointing Patricia Kaliati as Minister of Information. Kaliati, you and I know, has a reputation of speaking first and thinking later. Not a good quality for a government mouthpiece in this era.

Peter should have known better that Kaliati is good at other things other than speaking for the government. Of course our government is a mad entity that even a decent person would struggle to spin for it, but leaving such a task to a motormouth that is Kaliati is suicidal. But of course from her careless talk, we can be assured that there will be news every day.

I always get surprised how Grace Chiumia, whose unabashedly goes by the name Obama—after US President Barak—is a Minister. I have never been impressed an iota by her time at the Ministry of Sports. In fact, last time she acted sporty was when she tried to carry an athlete who has won a race and ended up creating a mess of herself. But as they say, some guys and girls have all the luck, and Grace has it in abundance.

One Minister who fails to impress me is George Chaponda. If you look at his academic credentials, you would be easily wowed and start believing that he has what it takes to lead. But his performance is pretty shocking wherever he is pushed to work. At the Ministry of Justice Chaponda created a messy and left the country embarrassed with what was then known as the anti-farting law. Even as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he had nothing to show. I was even shocked when someone whispered to me that Chaponda is being groomed to become the next President of this country. I did not believe this and I will never. But as we know politics is shocking and anything can happen.

Clearly, from the Cabinet reshuffle, Peter has just confirmed to me that he is not blessed with the art of choice. Maybe we should get used to it because, as they say, you cannot teach an old dog new tricks. But if you ask me, Peter’s exercise was a matter of shuffling for nothing.

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