Leader of Opposition in parliament Kondwani Nankhumwa has described as unrealistic President Lazarus Chakwera’s decision to give all Cabinet ministers a five-month probation period on their job.
Nankhumwa said five months was too short period for Cabinet ministers to prove themselves whether they are up for the job or not.
“Give them more time. A Cabinet ministerial job is not as easy as people might think. With this deadline, the ministers will be working to impress the President so that they are not fired instead of working for the people, as a result there will be chaos,” said Nankhumwa.
He suggested one year would be ideal to make assessments on each Cabinet minister.
“As of now, they are working under panic to prove themselves that they are up for the job as a result they can mess it up,” he said.
The 31 ministerial posts has been met with accusations of favouritism and nepotism.
Among the appointments that appear to have rattled the public are the new deputy minister for lands, Abida Mia, who is married to the vice-president of the president’s party, Sidik Mia, who is now also the transport minister; the new minister of industry, Roy Kachale, who is the son of former president Joyce Banda; and the new ministers of health and labour, Khumbize Chiponda and Ken Kandodo Banda, who are siblings and are related to Malawi’s founding president, Hastings Kamuzu Banda.
Critics have also noted various conflicts of interest: the new minister of mining Rashid Gaffer comes from a family that owns mines; the new minister of information Goseple Kazako owns a major broadcasting network Zodiak and his sister-in-law is the new deputy agriculture ministe.
United Democratic Front (UDF) spokesperson Ken Ndanga said it does not matter whether Chakwera has appointed the Mia family or the Kandodo family into the cabinet, saying what is important is the individual performance.