Critics have faulted President Peter Mutharika on his recent cabinet reorganisation saying it does not represent renewal and that it has only created duplication of responsibilities for some ministries and departments.
The critics have also pointed out the newly constituted Cabinet released on Wednesday night by President Mutharika failed to inspire hope by merely moving around five of his ministers and two deputy ministers, formed new portfolios and disbanded Sports as a stand-alone portfolio..
“The reshuffles expose failure in defining different sectoral priorities and categorisation of the sectors,” observed University of Malawi’s (Unima) Chancellor College political scientist Joseph Chunga.
He said: “The whole essence of defining a particular department is because you assume it has a particular mandate to address in as far as government structure is concerned and if you find cases where you have what could have been very related sectors of functional dimensions split in different departments then you wonder what is government really trying to achieve.”
In the new cabinet, 13 ministers, including Mutharika as Minister of Defence and Vice-President Saulos Chilima as Minister Responsible for Disaster and Relief Management and National Public Events, have maintained their posts.
Government spokesperson Patricia Kaliati has been moved to the newly created Ministry of Civic Education, Culture and Community Development whereas former Minister of Transport and Public Works Malison Ndau now heads what is called Ministry of Information and Communications Technology to become new government spokesman.
Sports, previously headed by Grace Chiumia now Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security, has been moved to Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development with Henry Mussa retained at as its minister.
Chiumia replaced Jappie Mhango who is now Minister of Transport and Public Works.
Another political analyst at Chancellor College Mustapha Hussein queried President Mutharika why creating a separate ministriesfor urban development and rural development “when we already have community and all these are communities.”
Hussein said “there is need for proper segregation”.
He said: “ One would wonder the complimentarity of coherence in moving sports to the ministr y of labour, because labour requires a totally different way of doing things.”
In the new Cabinet, the President has also introduced a deputy minister at Home Affairs and Internal Security filled by Aggrey Masi who was appointed in April, Deputy Minister of Defence. His post has been filled by Vincent Ghambi, formerly Deputy Minister of Education, Science and Technology, a position that has since been scrapped off.
Ernest Thindwa, another political scientict at Chancellor College noted that cabinet reshuffles in Malawi are meangless because they are “structured mostly torespond to political expediency than to developmenta needs.”
He said citizens expects to see structures that are oriented to enhance government machinery performance and respond to development needs.
Governance activist Rafiq Hajat said reshuffle meanst that ministers are not performing well in their positions.
He wondered why Mutharika maintained his cabinet team including the suspected seven cashgate ministers and George Chaponda who has not disclosed his assets updated information as required by the law.
“We all know how important assets declaration is in the country,” said Hajat.
Thindwa also said the cabinet reshuffle in Malawi have not responded on the basis of underperformance or shift in terms of policy positions.
Mutharika last reshuffled his Cabinet in April this year when Allan Chiyembekeza, former Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, was dropped.
This was the fifth reshuffle since the President assumed office in May 2014.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :