The Malawi Congress Party (MCP) has attracted criticism following the release of its shadow Cabinet which observers have said is far from being nepotistic just like the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) current cabinet set which has the majority from the southern region.
While President Arthur Peter Mutharika appointed his cabinet mainly from the south with his ‘homeboys’ from Thyolo and part of the Lomwe belt making the bulk of the ministers, MCP President Lazarus Chakwera has followed suit with all the members of his shadow cabinet coming from the central region.
“This MCP cabinet is not different from what Malawians have been complaining about Mutharika’s 20-man cabinet which has almost everyone from the south,” said one commentator on social media platform.
However, Chakwera has defended his choice of cabinet arguing that since the opposition ministers shadow government ministers in Parliament, MCP is justified since almost all its members of parliament are from the central region.
“This is just like what happens in the United Kingdom where an opposition party has shadow secretaries from the sitting MPs and not out of the House of Commons. How could someone from outside Parliament counter argue on policy matters which are tackled inside Parliament,” said MCP spokesperson Jessie Kabwila in an interview.
The MCP shadow cabinet, however, conforms to the DPP administration’s lean Cabinet. The MCP shadow Cabinet announced in Parliament on Monday comprises 21 members with leader of opposition Lazarus Chakwera as president and head of the defence force, but he has no deputy president.
Joseph Njobvuyalema has been maintained as Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development in keeping with his party role as spokesperson on finance matters in Parliament while Peter Chakwantha, who chairs the Legal Affairs Committee, has been appointed shadow minister of Justice.
MCP deputy spokesperson Ezekiel Ching’oma heads Information and newcomer Rhino Chiphiko heads Transport while long-time legislator Vitus Dzoole Mwale has been tasked with Labour and Willard Gwengwe will head Trade and Industry.
The MCP shadow Cabinet has three women, Juliana Lunguzi for Health, Khumbize Chiponda for Foreign Affairs and Kabwila for Gender and Social Welfare.
The shadow cabinet has four deputy ministers, Patrick Chilondola for Defence, Everson Makowa Mwale for Agriculture, Langton Nkhosa Kamwendo for Education and Alec Chitete for Civil Service.
All these are MPs from the central region.
Chakwera has been advocating for a need to legislate the size of the Cabinet so it does not remain a campaign promise, which can be ignored once a party is in power.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :