Mafunde disapproves Malawi’s new cabinet: ‘Still bloated for ailing economy’

Opposition Malawi Forum for Democracy (MAFUNDE)  has lashed out at President Mrs Joyce Banda’s cabinet  describing it as too big and “a threat to Malawi’s economy”.

The party which has one lawmaker, its president George Mnesa, said it is shocking that Banda had assembled a bloated cabinet of 23 ministers asnd 12 deputies

“Whilst it is the President’s prerogative to hire and fire the cabinet, MAFUNDE is disappointed that the President has not taken heed of the prevailing economic conditions and the cries of Malawians,” said the party in a stamen isused by publicity secretary Chimwemwe Kumbweza Banda.

“In the first place, the President should have been merging some ministries instead of splitting the existing ones,” the party said.

Nnensa: Handclappers rewarded

“Secondly, the President has hired additional Deputy Ministers. This move means that the taxpayer has to pay more to sustain such a bloated cabinet. This does not reflect the economic austerity measures that the President has been preaching to the nation.”

The statement adds: “We have been begging for food support from donors and yet we are increasing Government expenditure unnecessarily. There are no drugs in hospitals and the President does not seem to be as concerned as a caring mother should be.”

Mafunde nonetheless said the cabinet list is “uninspiring as it is more political in nature than designed to solve the problems that Malawi is facing. “

It says: “Competent technocrats should have been hired than taking the handclapping MPs that have now been included.”

“MAFUNDE strongly disapproves this cabinet and Malawians should demand a lean cabinet to reflect our economic realities.”

The changes

In the reshuffle announced on Thursday, Malawi President Joyce Banda dropped former vice-president Cassim Chilumpha as energy minister and also sacked Tourism Minister Daniel Liwimbi.

Chilumpha, who while being vice-president, was charged by the late president Bingu wa Mutharika for treason, has been replaced with Ibrahim Matola.

A statement from the Office of the President and Cabinet did not give reasons why President Banda sacked Chilumpha (ruling PP vice president) and Liwimbi

Vice President Khumbo Kachali has also been removed as Minister of Health. He, however, remains vice-president with responsibilities over National Relief and Disaster Management, National Public Events Office, Central Government Stores, Department of Printing Services and the Electoral Commission.

Banda has also hired former International Monetary Fund (IMF) economist Goodall Gondwe, as the new Minister of Economic Planning and Development. Gondwe, who was Finance Minister under the late President Mutharika, has replaced Atupele Muluzi, son of former president Bakili Muluzi, who last month resigned his cabinet job under protest after his cabinet colleagues derided his presidential ambitions.

Solicitor General Anthony Kamanga has been appointed Attorney General, taking over from Justice Minister Ralph Kasambara who combined the two positions. Kasambara, who also served under Mutharika as Attorney General, remains Justice Minister.

This is the first time Banda, Africa’s second female president, has made a cabinet change since taking office in April following the sudden death of President Mutharika.

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