President Lazarus Chakwera has warned cabinet ministers against holding party leadership allegiance, reminding them he was the appointing authority.
Speaking when he presided over the swearing in ceremony of the 30 cabinet ministers he hired over the weekend, Chakwera said he expects the cabinet ministers to report to him directly, not to any leader of any political party which is part of the Tonse Alliance led government.
“Whether you belong to Malawi Congress Party, or UTM, or People’s Party, or any of the other parties in the Tonse Alliance, you must remember that it is I who appointed you and it is to me that you report.
“Do not become presumptuous and imagine that your appointment is attributed to someone else,” said Chakwera.
Some political analysts are attributing the statement to the power struggle that is quietly raging between the president and his number two, Vice President Saulos Chilima as Chakwera assets his authority.
Some section of society are now asking the two leaders to make public the electoral alliance, Tonse Alliance agreement, ahead of the 2025 tripartite election.
However, Chakwera did not mention the name of Chilima who is coming under intense pressure from some UTM members to pull out of the electoral political alliance as they claim they do not see the benefits of being in the alliance.
But Chakwera told the newly sworn in cabinet ministers that he expects regular and timely reports to the presidential office of the progress the ministers will be making.
“… I expect those reports to be presented to me directly and for me to be the one that directs you on whether any contents in your reports should be shared with anyone else.
” My point here is simply to remind you that you are not just a Minister of Government. You are my Minister,” he said.
He also told cabinet ministers to work audibly, saying one of the flaws of the Cabinet he dissolved last week was its deafening silence.
Chakwera said the Malawian people need to hear from cabinet ministers.
“They need to hear your voice. There are technocrats in your ministries whose job it is to work quietly.
“That is not how a Minister is meant to function. If there is a matter of public interest that falls under your domain, it is your responsibility to stand before the Malawian people and explain it,” said Chakwera.
He advised the ministers not to leave all public engagement to the Minister of Information.
He said if Malawians are left guessing or misinformed about the activities and achievements of their ministries, then he said he will hold them responsible.
He told the ministers to work courageously, saying they must be brave enough to confront incapacity, incompetence, corruption, and disorganization in their ministries.
“You can’t be a Minister and think that you must run to the President to complain every time you face a challenge or obstacle with another public officer or Ministry.
“You must confront what stands in your way and find a way to overcome it,” said the president.
Chakwera said If there are people in their
Ministries that are lazy or corrupt or sabotaging Tonse Alliance agenda, the ministers should confront the problems and find a legal means to address the obstacles.
“The time when you must bring an
obstacle to me is when that obstacle is within my office.
“After all, my office and yours are inextricably linked, which is why it is called the Office of the President and Cabinet.
“The people that work for me in that office also work for you. They are there to assist you, not to obstruct and delay you, and so you must inform me when they are acting otherwise, said Chakwera.
He said he read on the front page of one of the news papers that there are road construction projects that the Roads Authority under the Ministry of Transport is failing to start because of delays at OPC.
He said that sort of thing will not be tolerated.