Reshuffle at State House: Mutharika bloated league of advisors costly to Malawi economy

President Peter Mutharika 20-member Cabinet was a winner for him but he seems to have lost the spirit of austerity by overcrowding State House with   the inflation-busting league of advisors attracting criticism that most of the characters have nothing to tell him other than gossips.

President Mutharika and one of his trusted aides Ben Phiri, reportedly out of State House

President Mutharika and one of his trusted aides Ben Phiri, reportedly out of State House

Ministers are, by nature of their vows, presidential advisors; and analysts say the President does not need a motley crew of pretenders to feed him with lies in the guise of ‘advice’.

Critics argue that Mutharika’s transformation leadership of “business unusual” will be a lip service with his “shopping-spree of characters to appease.”

Presidential advisors are entitled 500 litres of fuel a month (about K400 000), a vehicle which they drive themselves, medical scheme and airtime, free water, free electricity, DStv subscription at a combined cost of almost K300 000 ($434), including a driver and guard who are also allocated about K100 000 ($145) on top of a salary of close to K1.6 million ($2 312), which translates to K25.6 million ($36, 994.21) a month for the 16, totalling K307 million ($443 641) annually.

Human rights activist and Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) executive director, John Kapito, is on record expressing  concern that the league of advisors  will impact negatively to the austerity measures President Mutharika has been preaching.

He questioned the value they will bring to the office of the President “apart from gossip.”

Among the advisers are chief adviser on economic affairs Collins Magalasi, President brother’s widow Callista Mutharika as chief adviser on safe motherhood, population and HIV/Aids management and chief political adviser, Francis Mphepo.

Other advisers including Symon Vuwa Kaunda on national unity and parliamentary affairs, Annie Makuta (women affairs), Nick Masebo (youth) and Victor Songazaudzu Sajeni (capacity building) are on P3 grade which is equivalent to a director at a ministry.

One critic questioned what will Symon Vuwa Kaunda will  be advising the President on ‘National Unity and Parliamentary Affairs’ when there  is Francis Kasaira as Leader of  Government business in Parliament and yet Malawi is also not experiencing tribal or regional disconnect that the country needed someone to unite us. Besides, Vuwa is not even an MP.

Other presidential aides includes Mabvuto Bamusi as special assistant responsible for the civil society and NGOs,  Apostle  Timothy Khoviwa as adviser on religious affairs.

There are also, personal assistant on international relations, deputy personal assistant on international relations, special assistant to the First Lady, executive and special assistant on capacity building.

State House ‘reshuffle’

Meanwhile, government spokesman  Jappie Mhango has confirmed that there has been a reorganisation of presidential advisors at State House with reports that special aide to the President, Ben Phiri has left and Magalasi who is chief economic advisor has been given additional responsibilities  taking up Phiri role as new task as “executive advisor.”

In the shake-up, President  Mutharika has hired Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) long-time spin-doctor Hetherwick Ntaba as domestic policy adviser and moved out  Bright Malopa who was adviser to the President on communication and strategy . Malopa has been deployed to Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority ( Macra) as adviser on broadcasting.

“Ntaba has come in as chief adviser on domestic policy,” said  Mhango, who is also Minister of Information and Civic Education.

Mhango disputed the criticism  that Cabinet ministers and presidential advisers are duplicating roles, saying  that notion  is “flawed.”

He added: “ A Cabinet minister indeed gives advice to the Head of State on certain issues, but he or she has so many other Cabinet responsibilities as well.

“On the other hand, the President’s advisors are a full-time employees to advise the President on certain issues.”.

A  newspaper  on Saturday, Weekend Nation, reported that Mutharika’s maintenance of a bloated full-time advisory team is on the back of financial and economic challenges facing the country, with government failing to meet budget allocations to ministries , including to public health facilities where drug stock-outs have worsened and patients rarely get the required three meals a day.

On the economic front, annual average inflation rate rose to 24.6 percent in 2015 despite the administration projecting that the general rise in prices would drop from 23.8 percent in 2014 to 16.4 percent in 2015, the paper reported.

Malawi’s currency, the kwacha continues to weaken,and the cost of living is rising faster.

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Winston Msowoya
Guest
Winston Msowoya
7 months 29 days ago

Mumba Says: In chanyanja that”A Ngwazi munatisiya mumavuto.Shutup victimized lady.As a matter of fact it is Banda who created all this mess.In Banda’s era you could have not expressed your cherished views as you have done now,you could have been incarcerated forthwith.Good try,I hope next time you will think before you write such views.Democracy is here to stay now and for evermore.

James Phiri
Guest
James Phiri
8 months 13 hours ago

The President should be paying for these advisors out of his own pocket if he feels he can’t trust the advise of his cabinet ministers. The cost of these advisors is one thing but even more critically is accountability. Who are these advisers accountable to. At least a Cabinet minister must answers to parliament on some issues. Why should Malawian’s be paying for advisors that then don’t have to explain their advise or actions to anyone?

Ben Phala
Guest
Ben Phala
8 months 1 day ago

Kodi as long as peter muthalika ali president malawi iyiwale za mvula. Mulungu ndiwokwiya kwambiri ndi peter chifukwa ndi wa mathanyula heavy. Mwawona morotorium ija wadziyikila yekha.

Nyamu mhone
Guest
Nyamu mhone
8 months 1 day ago

Wina aliyense amakhala ndi ndondomeko zake zokhudza utsogoleri so leave Peter alone!!!

Sapitwa
Guest
Sapitwa
8 months 1 day ago
Next will be looking into what type of breakfast is eaten at the State House to find if the cost of each menu is very expensive. Iam sure without proper investigations, one would complain that the President’s one course of breakfast could feed 10 patients at the hospitals. This is how silly Malawians have become. They don’t look at a bigger picture to find what innovative ideas could be used to increase domestic production in Malawi and advise the President whose door on that is wide open. Which President would entertain this nonsense of critiquing costs linking to aiding his… Read more »
Bellings Nyamazi
Guest
Bellings Nyamazi
8 months 1 day ago

what a pity. Many of us Malawians new that this APM cannot rule our beloved Country soon after he had illegally worn those stupid 2014 elections, so look my fellow Malawians what we are going through.

This man should not be allowed to come back in 2019.

Joshua beza
Guest
8 months 1 day ago

Sorry malawi a good president is coming JESUS SON OF GOD

Buyelekhaya
Guest
Buyelekhaya
8 months 1 day ago

Nthawi yoti anthu adye ndi kumwelera. Zaka ziwiri adali kotsutsamoyo udali owawa kwa iwo!

james
Guest
8 months 1 day ago

zausilu zokhazokha kumangoba basi.

Tchende la peter
Guest
Tchende la peter
8 months 1 day ago

Peter Muthalika is a fake professor. Jb is far much better than this idiot. What can Makuta advise? Makuta hule basi lidagwetsa ludoviko shati. Not educated at all. The muthalikas are cursed family. Cardiac arrest is here again believe u me

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