Malawi candidates pledge cabinet of 16, austerity

Presidential hopefuls in the May 20 tripartite elections have promised that once they get into power they will work on having a cabinet of not more than 16 members and without deputies, Nyasa Times has established.

Officials of the Public Affairs Committee (PAC), which since a fortnight ago is meeting presidential candidates so that they clearly outline what they will do for Malawians when they get into office, said the four hopefuls who have so far made the pledge include Peoples Progressive Movement (PPM) leader Mark Katsonga, United Democratic Front’s (UDF) Atupele Muluzi and Malawi Congress Party’s (MCP) Lazarus Chakwera.

“Much as it’s Katsonga who emphasized on the 16-member cabinet, the two other [Muluzi and Chakwera] leaders whom we’ve so far met also pledged to reduce their cabinets to the same and also said they wouldn’t have deputy ministers as they argue it’s costly for the nation.

Chakwera:  Sizeable cabinet

Chakwera: Sizeable cabinet

Atupele Muluzi:  Lean cabinet

Atupele Muluzi: Lean cabinet

Katsonga: Pledge lean cabinet

Katsonga: Pledge lean cabinet

“MCP and UDF very much committed themselves on having transformational and not transactional leadership saying it’s the only way to move this country out of its long-list of problems,” a source said.

PAC’s executive director Robert Phiri confirmed the presidential hopefuls’ pledge on the 16-member cabinet but refused to divulge further details.

“They have [really] pledged to have small cabinets and no deputies to cut expenditure,” said Phiri. “But we will make their commitments available to the public at the right time.”

Phiri said the initiative was put up to make sure the leaders are held accountable for their promises once they are in power.

“They’re signing for their commitments to Malawians and if they fail to do them when they get into office, we’ll ask them why,” he told a local radio.

According to Phiri, the committee has 19 key issues which they are asking the presidential hopefuls to commit themselves to.

Aside a small cabinet and transformational leadership, the leaders who have so far met PAC have also pledged to end the massive looting of public money in what is now known as cash-gate, said Phiri.

The committee is expected to meet People’s Party’s (PP) Joyce Banda and Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) Peter Mutharika, among others, next week.

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