Chakwera earns praise over his gender-sensitive Cabinet

President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera has earned praise from both critics and following over the new Cabinet, which has, for the first time in the history of Malawi democracy, achieved a 41 percent female representation.

Chakwera night evening released his second line-up of the ministerial appointments having made an initial one on Wednesday night. In total, the Cabinet has 21 full Cabinet ministers and eight deputies bringing the total number of the Cabinet to 29, excluding him and his vice Dr. Saulos Klaus Chilima, whose has been relieved of the Minister of Economic Planning duties after overseeing a decline in economic performance.

VP Dr Saulosi Chilima: His workload has been cut

When he made a partial appointment of the Cabinet, some sections of the society expressed fear that the President would again delay the process.

But barely three days before the opening of the 2022-2023 National Budget session, Chakwera announced his second set of ministers and deputy ministers.

In the last squad of the Cabinet appointments, Chakwera has appointed youthful Lilongwe Msozi legislator, Sosten Gwengwe, as the new Minister of Finance, replacing Felix Mlusu who has been shown an exit door.

The President has also drafted in new faces who include Albert Mbawala who will head the Ministry of Mining previously headed by Rashid Gaffar, People’s Party’s Ibrahim Matola who will lead the Ministry of Energy, which has gone months without a minister following the firing of Newton Kambala over allegations of corruption practices.

Other new faces President Chakwera has surprisingly included in the Cabinet are Malawi Congress Party (MCP)’s vice president for the North, Harry Mlekanjala Mkandawire, who will deputize the President at the Ministry of Defence.

“These final appointments bring the total number of Cabinet appointees to 29, consisting of 12 women(41 percent) and 17 men (59 percent) in compliance with Section 11(1) of the Gender Equality Act,2013, not counting His Excellency the President and His Honour the Vice President, who are in Cabinet by their election and not appointment. His Excellency, the President remains the Minister of Defence whereas His Honour the Vice President will continue to be for Public Sector Reforms,” says a statement Secretary to the President and Cabinet Zanga-Zanga Chikhosi has signed.

In the newly constituted Cabinet, Chakwera has moved Nancy Tembo to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which was under Eisenhower Mkaka. Mkaka will now head the Ministry of Forestry and Natural Resources and Climate Change, Jean Muonaowauza Sendeza is now Minister of Homeland Security, which was previously headed by Richard Chimwendo Banda who is now Minister of Youth and Sports.

Chimwendo Banda replaces Ulemu Msungama whom Chakwera has given an early retirement from Cabinet role.

On the other hand, Chakwera has maintained Gospel Kazako at the Ministry of Information and Digitalization, Timothy Pagonachi Mtambo as National Unity albeit slightly adding and subtracting some names from their ministries, respectively.

The Cabinet list also includes Nancy Chaola Mdooko as Deputy Minister of Transport and Public Works, Madalitso Wirima Kambauwa as Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Halima Alima Daud as Deputy Minister of Local Government, Deus Gumba as Deputy Minister of Lands, Enock Phale as Deputy Minister of Health, John Bande as Deputy Minister of Water and Sanitation, and Hon. Monica Chang’anamuno and Deputy Minister of Education.

Gender experts such as Unandi Banda and Emma Kaliya commended Chakwera for heeding calls for more women inclusion in the Cabinet.

On the other hand, governance and human rights expert Undule Mwakasungula saluted the President for stripping Chilima a ministerial post at the Economic Planning and Development.

“I applaud the President for combining the ministry of Finance and Economic Planning as these ones and the same unlike the previous structure.  The new minister will have big task of reviving the economy with more sound people centered strategies and I believe with the support of all other stakeholders it will be possible,” said Mwakasungula.

He added that delinking Economic Planning and Development from the previous holder will give more opportunity now for the new minister and ministry to focus on planning for the revival of our economy.

“I have noted faces like Hon Ibrahim Matola whom I know is a hard working person and am sure will bring value to the new cabinet. I have seen women also being featured in the new cabinet more featuring Nancy Tembo as Foreign Affairs Minister. And Hon Sendeza as Homeland Security Minister .these are key ministries and is a big plus in the involvement women in national positions. This is a good indication of promoting women in this country.

“All in all this is a new cabinet with new faces and it is my hope that the new cabinet will work hand in hand with the President and Vice president to revive the struggling economy and development of this country,” said Mwakasungula.

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