Human rights activist and Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) executive director, John Kapito, has added his voice to the criticism on the inflation-busting appointment of advisers and assistants to President Peter Mutharika.
Mutharika has appointed 15 advisers in various capacities, including the level of principal secretary (PS) in the public service for which they are entitled 500 litres of fuel a month (about K400 000), a vehicle which they drive themselves, medical scheme and airtime on top of a salary of close to K500 000 per month.
Kapito in comments published in the press, expressed concern that the league of advisors will impact negatively to the austerity measures President Mutharika has been preaching since his election in May.
He questioned the value they will bring to the office of the President “apart from gossip.”
Influential newspaper columnist Raphael Tenthani also rapped Mutharika with his article on the appointment of advisors.
“A cabinet of 20 was a winner for Peter; he lost it when he populated State House with characters who will have nothing to tell him other than who was dining with who last night,”noted Tenthani in his ‘Muckraking on Sunday’ column published in Sunday Times.
He pointed out that Ministers are, by nature of their vows, presidential advisors and that President Mutharika does not need “ a motley crew of pretenders to feed him with lies in the guise of ‘advice’.”
Among the advisers are chief adviser on communication and strategy Bright Malopa, chief adviser on economic affairs Collins Magalasi, President brother’s widow Callista Mutharika as chief adviser on safe motherhood, population and HIV/Aids management and chief political adviser, Francis Mphepo.
Other advisers including Symon Vuwa Kaunda on national unity and parliamentary affairs, Annie Makuta (women affairs), Nick Masebo (youth) and Wictor Songazaudzu Sajeni (capacity building) are on P3 grade which is equivalent to a director at a ministry.
President Mutharika also has a “special” adviser Ben Phiri.
In comments quoted by The Nation, political and governance commentator Chris Chisoni said are “an unnecessary expenditure”.
Chisoni who is also national coordinator for the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) said:“Most of these advisers have no physical offices, their terms of reference are never made public. Because they are so close to the President, they can amass powers equal to that of the President which is not good for the separation of powers.”
Critics argue that Mutharika’s transformation leadership of “business unusual” will be a lip service with his “shopping-spree of characters to appease.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :