Malawi President Peter Mutharika has said he will continue appointing ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) cronies in his slim 20 member cabinet, saying they never left the party in its difficult times.
Mutharika was referring to the period between 2012 and 2014 when the party was out of power because of the sudden death of President Bingu wa Mutharika, the head of state’s elder brother and founder of the DPP.
“These people never left us when we were in the desert during the difficult times,” said Mutharika likening the Biblical Israel suffering to the period DPP suffered a heavy blow after the death of Bingu, which led to an overnight exodus of DPP members to Joyce Banda’s Peoples Party after she was declared president of the Republic.
“I have heard and read, some of you are saying these are same old faces, this and that but you must understand that these people stood by me in the trying times,” said Mutharika.
Mutharika reshuffled his cabinet on Thursday afternoon sacking one senior minister, Allan Chiyembekeza, former Agriculture , moving around several others and drafted in one new face as deputy minister.
However he maintained his cabinet elite, those that were arrested with him in the infamous Midnight Six that include Henry Mussa, Jean Kalirani, Patricia Kaliati, Goodall Gondwe, Kondwani Nankhumwa and Bright Msaka.
The sixth, Nicholas Dausi is an untouchable director of National intelligence Bureau.
University of Malawi political scientist Boniface Dulani noted in the local press that the appointment is a departure from Mutharika’s earlier commitment to match expertise with ministerial appointments.
He said: “Now we have lawyers heading the Agriculture Ministry and engineers heading Foreign Affairs to give but two examples where expertise is mismatched.”
Mutharika dismissed the critique saying, “you should know that I don’t have a feeble mind, I can think for myself.”
The President said there were some people he did not mention that were pleading with him to be appointed ministers, saying he could not appoint them because they were not with him in political wilderness but only his DPP inner circle.
Mutharika, who seemed to have mastered the Chichewa language challenged the opposition that he would ensure they are in the opposition for the next 20 years.
“They seem to be enjoying their job as opposition because they oppose everything I say and do. They love their job as opposition members so I will ensure that they are in opposition for the next 20 years, after all this is the job they love,” said Mutharika.
He condemned the killings of the elderly, people with albinism and mob justice, saying those involved in the vice risk long jail terms.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :