Malawi Minister of Information, Jappie Mhango has lashed at The Sunday Times newspaper over a cabinet assessment report done and published by the newspaper 28 February 2016, saying it was a “blind opinion poll” and that it remains ” scientifically and statistically questionable”.
Launched in 2004, the newspaper as the first-ever Sunday newspaper in Malawi and its annual cabinet assessment reports are widely anticipated by many people.
But Mhango said the paper—one of the titles owned by Times Media Group–did not indicate the methologies and questions that were used and asked, respectively.
Mhango also said the Peter Mutharika government doubt if each Cabinet minister was assessed by any qualified experts of their relevant field.
“We further sympathise with some quarters of the media for attempting this complex task without being qualified with any proper tools, methodolog and expertise. A point in case is the attempt to assess Cabinet made by Sunday Times on 28 February 2016.
“We seriously doubt if The Sunday Times assessed our distinguished Cabinet members on the yardstick of any established performance targets throughout the past year, or whether the haphazard public responses sought were only whims and sentiments of the moment,” Mhango said in a statement dated March 5 2016.
The cabinet assessment looks at each and every minister including the president individually on what they have achieved and failed to attain upon assuming the office particularly policies direction coupled with action because they are political heads of their various ministries.
The assessment gives scores to each cabinet minister on how they performed in their positions which are put five categories including 1-2 (Do us favour, resign), 2-3 (Pull up your socks, please), 5-6 (Ok, but you can do better), 7-8 (You are a star) and 9-10 (Excellent, you deserve another term).
‘Struggling cabinet, wobbling economy’
Through the cabinet assessment 2016 supplement headlined, “struggling cabinet, wobbling economy” the paper stated that all major economic indicators demonstrate that President Mutharika and his cabinet are failing to restore macro-economic fundamentals.
The report has further faulted the executive arm of government of not going well in consolidating democracy and constitutionalism particularly on its tricks on legislation such as Access to Information (ATI) and Sodomy (Homosexuals) which remain a worrisome to the people of Malawi.
Despite rejecting its result, government however said it appreciate the paper’s initiative because it provides them with people’s feedback on government’s performance and service to the very same people.
Government spokesman therefore advised the media to strengthen their capabilities with appropriate expertise and methodologies necessary for such tasks.
“However, government hereby categorically states that anyone who wishes to assess Cabinet must always strive for objectivity. A subjective assessment that blindly draws from social media is very dangerous opinion making for the people of Malawi. This tradition can mislead both the government and the people into making wrong decisions,” reads the statement.
He added, “better still they can outsource such a service to organizations wirh proven skills and experience ro carry out such assessments for the sake of credibility and fairness”.
The newspaper described Vice President Dr.Saulos Chilima as ‘the only star performer’ in the 20-member Cabinet.
Chilima scored 80 percent (8/10) in the rating while some ministers including Foreign Affairs George Chaponda scored as low as 20 percent as the paper urged them to stand up and go to work.
President Peter Mutharika scored 50 percent, Bright Msaka of Energy, Natural Resources and Mining (2/10), Foregn Affairs Dr. George Chaponda (2/10) and Information Minister JappieMhango (3/10) and fading and Finance Minister Goodal Gondwe scored a miserable 30 percent.
Minister of Industry and Trade Joseph Mwanamvekha came second to the VP scoring 70 percent while Transport Minister Francis Kusaila and Lands Minister Atupele Muluzi scored 50 percent each.
Minister of Sports and Culture Grace Chiumia scored 3/10, Transport and Public Works Minister Francis Kasaila 5/10, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Kondwani Nankhumwa 4/10, Minister of Health Peter Kumpalume 5/10, Minister of Home Affairs Jean Kalirani 5/10, Minister of Gender Patricia Kaliati 6/10, Minsiter of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu 3/10, Agriculture Minister Dr Allan Chiyembekeza 4/10, Education Minister Emmanuel Fabiano 4/10 and Minister of Labour, Youth and Manpower Development Henry Mussa 5/10.
“Despite his shortfalls, Mutharika who in our opinion is a transactional leader, is just an average performer. The sooner he reshuffles his politically oriented cabinet by dropping some dead wood and the tired ministers by hiring goal getters who can spur economic transformation the better,” advised the paper.
Times Group is the oldest Malawi’s publishing company owned by the father and founder of the nation, Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda family which publishes The Daily Times, Malawi News and The Sunday Times and other subsidiaries including Times Television, Radio and Courier, and Dzuka Book Publication.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :