President Lazarus Chakwera has said he will not change the appointment of a faulted Cabinet, saying he has assembled a capable team, appointed on merit and one which equates with the Tonse Philosophy in a five-months transition in which to prove to Malawians that change has come.
Among the appointments that appear to have rattled the public are the new deputy minister for lands, Abida Sidik Mia, who is married to the vice-president of the president’s party, Mohammed 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 Kandodo 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 ‘Rashy’ Gaffer comes from a family that owns mines; the new minister of information Gospel Kazako owns a major broadcasting network Zodiak (and is the sister-in-law of the new deputy agriculture minister) Agnes Nkusa Nkhoma.
Some of the concerns included that the cabinet comprises majority from the central region, which is the strong hold of the ruling Malawi Congress Party (MCP), the party Chakwera leads.
President Chakwera on Friday gave a speech to respond to the concerns, saying that all appointments were made on merit alone.
“I want to assure all Malawians that in making any appointments, I will never consider what family or region one comes from nor whom one is married to. I believe that a just society is not only one in which familial, regional and marital ties do not qualify you for service, but also one in which those ties do not disqualify you for service. The only thing that counts is merit,” said Chakwera.
He assured the country that this time would be different.
Speaking directly to his new cabinet ministers, he said: “I want you to hear me and to hear me clearly …You each have five months to produce results that will give Malawians confidence that change has come. Should you prove the sceptics right by being lazy, abusive, wasteful, arrogant, extravagant, divisive and corrupt, I will not hesitate to have you replaced.”
Chakwera said to be a minister of government is to accept the responsibility of national and political leadership.
“That responsibility should only be offered to someone on merit, where merit means a proven track record to lead people effectively in producing results in the face of formidable odds and political complexities.
“There is no one on this Cabinet who does not pass that test,” said Chakwera.
The six political parties that are Tonse Alliance partners but have, thus, not been considered in the appointments made so far include Alliance for Democracy (Aford), Malawi Forum for Unity and Development (Mafunde), Umodzi Party (UP), People’s Progressive Movement (PPM), People’s Transformation Party (Petra) and Freedom Party (FP).Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :