Fear grips Malawi ministers over looming reshuffle

Fear of the unknown has gripped ministers as President Joyce Banda will reshuffle cabinet to improve her flagging political ratings following the rising cost of living and alleged corruption in her government, a top civil servant has revealed.

It is being widely belived that President Banda wants to merge the Ministry of Finance and that of Economic Planning and Development into one and continue with her reforms ahead of the 2014 presidential and parliamentary polls, expected to be the toughest ever.

“The President wants to change the economic direction,” said the source.

Lipenga: Finance Minister to be returned?

Speculations were rife that President Banda wants to draft in Dr Goodall Gondwe, who is credited for Malawi’s economic success during President Bingu wa Mutharika’s first term.

The revered Malawian economist  served  as the Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Environment Affairs ; the Minister of Finance  where he was an “engine room” of Malawi economic success and Minister of Local Government .

He also worked at International Monetary Fund where he headed the African division.

Gondwe has said he is ready to serve President Banda  in his own capacity, saying :: “I have done this before and this won’t be anything new because when I joined the late president Mutharika, I was not a member of DPP until after 18 months.”

The current Minister of Finance is Dr Ken Lipenga, a linguist of note and a former academic.

Ministry of Agriculture is also expected to be merged with that of Irrigationa and Water.

President Banda is also expected to sack some minister for reasons ranging from below-average performance and disloyalty.

Consumer activist and government ferocious critic John Kapito said the President is doing a fantastic job but some of her key ministers in cabinet are letting her down.

Government spokespersons were coy to comment on the impending reshuffle, saying cabinet appointments is “the prerogative of the President.”

It is, however, not clear whether the said reshuffle will be executed as the president is away to an European Union summit in Brussels.

The reshuffle will come at a time when opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) has asked its Members of Parliament to terminate their cabinet contracts and go back to opposition back benches.

Economic Planning Minister, Atupele Muluzi of UDF, is aspiring to run for presidency and is likely to be axed from cabinet.

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