The opposition Peoples Party (PP) has hailed President Peter Mutharika for retaining a lean cabinet in the recent reshuffle that saw two ministers dropped and others switched positions.
Mutharika, in a cabinet reshuffle on Monday, dropped Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development Paul Chibingu and Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Tarcicius Gowelo after weeks of speculation about corrupt practices.
And in a statement made available to Nyasa Times, PP commended Mutharika for retaining the 20-man cabinet but urged the country’s leader to increase the women representation in his cabinet.
“We would like to commend HE Prof Arthur Peter Mutharika for maintaining a lean Cabinet. It is the prerogative of the Head of State to reshuffle Cabinet and we believe it is done in good faith for the good of the country. PP congratulates those newly hired into the Cabinet and look forward to
their contribution as they serve the nation,’’ reads in part the statement signed by PP’s Publicity Secretary, Ken Msonda.
Msonda defended Mutharika’s move to drop Chibingu and Gowelo from cabinet, saying it is the President’s decision to choose who to serve the country under ministerial positions.
“As for those left out; not fired as put by media houses, we commend them for serving the country well; being left out of Cabinet does not mean they failed to deliver but it pleased the hiring authority, state President to give chance to others to serve the nation through Cabinet appointment”.
Mutharika during the reshuffle retained three female ministers, Patricia Kaliati, Grace Obama Chiumia and Jean Kalilani, who have been in cabinet since he took over the reins of power in May, 2014.
Kaliati was retained as Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare while Kalilani was moved to Ministry of Home Affairs and Internal Security. Chiumia also retained her position as Minister of Sports and Culture.
However, Msonda said PP expected Mutharika to increase the number of women in the cabinet in line with government policies on gender and women empowerment.
Most ministers in their portfolios including those of finance, education, foreign affairs, justice, and gender were retained.
In the cabinet reorganization, Mutharika moved Kalilani from Ministry of Health to the Ministry of Home Affairs and Internal Security replacing United Democratic Front (UDF) president Atupele
Muluzi who is now Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development.
Mutharika has also changed the government spokesman garrulous Kondwani Nankhumwa, appointing Jappie Mhango as the new Minister of Information, Tourism and Civic Education. Nankhumwa has been moved to become Minister of Local Government and Rural Development.
Mutharika has also appointed new deputy minister, Malison Ndau at defence.
The new Minister of Health is cabinet debutant Dr. Peter Kampalume, MP a close ally of President’s communication and strategy aide, Bright Malopa.
This is the second time Mutharika has reshuffled his cabinet since winning the May 20 2014 tripartite elections.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :