As Malawi governing Peoples Party (PP) commemorated its first anniversary in office on April 7, Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Peter Mwanza, and his counterpart, Enock Chihana, of Youth and Sports, have been rated as the worst performers in the President Joyce Banda’s administration.
This is according to a 2013 cabinet assessment conducted annually by Malawi’s media giants, the Blantyre Newspaper Limited (BNL).
For some years, BNL has been conducting the exercise to assess the President, vice president and the cabinet ministers basing on the successes and failures of the government (country) and the ministries respectively.
BNL are the publishers of The Daily Times (its flagship title), and three weeklies Malawi News, The Sunday Times, Lifestyle Magazine and the Friday gossiper, The Weekend Times.
In its 2013 appraisal of the 22 ministries, the media giants reason that Mwanza and Chihana have failed their respective portfolios big time.
Published in its Sunday title, The Sunday Times of 7th April, 2013, out of a total score of 10, the two ministers have both attained dishonorable 2s.
On the other hand the cabinet assessment team has given President Joyce Banda a five out of 10 score while her deputy Khumbo Kachali has been ranked as another failure after scoring 3/10.
Among the reasons for scoring two, BNL justifies that Mwanza failed to guide the crucial ministry during the nationwide food shortages that resulted in thousands of poor Malawians spending days and nights in long queues to buy maize, the country’s staple food, at ADMARC selling depots.
At the same time the price of maize skyrocketed on the parallel market with vendors fetching as much as K12 000 per 50kg bag.
On the overall, BNL states that Mwanza’s portfolio performed badly on hunger reduction, FISP management (as maize was freely being smuggled to neighbouring countries) and promotion of alternative cash crops.
As for Chihana, BNL discovered that the minister made so many promises in his early stages of office which he has miserably failed to fulfill.
For instance, he promised of revamping youth training bases to empower the youth but until now there is nothing on the ground.
“In sports, Chihana has nothing to celebrate about,” reports BNL adding that since his appointment the ministry has been embroiled in controversies.
Among the controversies are political pledges of houses to Flames’ players (he later backtracked saying he was misquoted), the closure and re-opening of the country’s soccer Mecca, Kamuzu Stadium and the dismissal of Flames’ coaching panel.
In its assessment, BNL sums up by saying that “the ministry needs to inject in its blood some serious adrenalin to jerk itself into action or humbly take a bow.”
The best rated
However, in its assessment the country’s oldest print media house has rated two women cabinet ministers, Anitta Kalinde and Grace Maseko, as the best architects.
Kalinde and Maseko, who head the Gender, Child and Community Development and Local Government and Rural Development ministries respectively, have both scored six out of 10.
The media group has also given five other ministers 50 percent (5/10) and these include Ken Kandodo (Defence), Ralph Jooma (Economic Planning and Development), Sidik Mia of Transport and Public Infrastructure, Eunice Makangala of Labour and Vocational Training and Ephraim Chiume (Foreign Affairs and International Relations).
Out of the total 240 marks, the President Banda’s cabinet has just scored 95, with an average score for the whole cabinet (24) of four (24/95).
Other ministers that have performed badly with scores of 3/10 include Henry Phoya (Lands and Housing), Ken Lipenga (Finance), Ralph Kasambara (Justice and Constitutional Affairs), Moses Kunkuyu (Information and Civic Education), Uladi Mussa (Home Affairs) and Ibrahim Matola of Energy.
Eunice Kazembe (Education, Science and Technology), Jennipher Chilunga (Environment and Climate Change Management), John Bande (Mining), Sosten Gwengwe (Trade and Industry), Catherine Gotani Hara (Health), Reen Kachere (People with Physical Disabilities and the Elderly) and Rachel Zulu of Tourism and Culture have done relatively better with a 4/10 rating.
In its foreword to the supplement, The Sunday Times states that the scores averaging four out of 10 are not inspiring for the PP cabinet as it strives to impress and be considered for a substantive position considering that it was put in power on probation.
It, however, says all is not lost for the cabinet as it can still make use of the experience of the past year to reflect, regroup, refocus, rebrand and even refurbish ahead of the 2014 polls.
“There is need for some serious soul searching to try and fix the ailments that seem to be disillusioning the citizens who are dog tired of governments that prosper at their expense while they continue to suffer,” says the paper in its foreword.
But speaking on Sunday during a public rally in the capital, Lilongwe to commemorate her one year in office, President Banda admired herself saying she was proud that her 12-month administration has brought hope and smiles to Malawians.
She said since she took over government in April last year, many things have changed in social and economic sectors.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :