Major Cabinet shake up as Mlusu, Msungama, Rashy Gaffar are dropped; Mlusu replaced by Gwengwe as Finance Minister 

In his further appointment to the new Cabinet made on Thursday, President Lazarus Chakwera has also dropped three more prominent figures that include Felix Mlusu as Minister of Finance.

Experienced cabinet operator Sosten Gwengwe, who was Minister of Trade is the biggest rising star in the new cabinet as he has replaced Mlusu at Finance and Vice President Dr Saulosi Chilima at Economic Planning. He now heads the merged Ministry of Finance & Economic Affairs.

Vice-President Saulos Chilima is now left with Public Sector Reforms after a dismal performance as the Economic Affairs Minister which has seen the economic collapse and failure to recover post Covid-19 pandemic with job losses being a daily experience.

Also dropped is Ulemu Msungama as Minister of Youth and Sports — replaced by Richard Chimwendo-Banda — who has been demoted from Homeland Security and been replaced by Jean Sendeza (who previously served as Deputy Minister of Defence).

A rising star Finance and Economy Minister – Sosten Gwengwe MP

Others that have been dropped are Rashid Gaffar from Ministry of Mining — replaced by new face in Dr Albert Mbawala, Chrissie Kanyasho from Deputy Minister of Health and Roy Kachale (son to former President Joyce Banda) from Minister of Industry.

The six that have been dropped join beleaguered Chitipa East MP Kezzie Msukwa, who was fired over his involvement in the Anti-Corruption Bureau alleged corruption investigations.

Eisenhower Mkaka has been demoted from Foreign Affairs and shuffled to Natural Resources, while Nancy Tembo earned a promotion in a direct swap.

The portfolio of Civic Education has been taken away from Timothy Mtambo and only left as Minister of National Unity while Gospel Kazako has maintained his portfolio of Information and added on with Digitization.

Chakwera, remains Minister of Defence.

The other new faces include — successful entrepreneur Mark Katsonga Phiri as Minister of Trade and Industry and Samuel Kawale replacing Msukwa as Minister of Lands; Dr Albert Mbawala as Minister of Mining; Ibrahim Matola (Minister of Energy); Monica Chang’anamuno (Deputy Minister of Education); Harry Mkandawire (Deputy Minister of Defence); Deus Gumba (Deputy Minister of Lands); Enock Phale (Deputy Minister of Health); and John Bande (Deputy Minister of Water and Sanitation).

Retained deputies are Nancy Mdooko (Transport and Public Works); Halima Daudi (Local Government) and Madalitso Kambauwa (Agriculture).

Chikwawa Mkombezi MP, Abida Mia — who was deputy Minister to Msukwa — has been promoted to full Minister to head a newly-constituted Ministry of Water and Sanitation.

Vera Kamtukule has also been promoted to full Minister of Labour.

Chakwera has retained the most experienced cabinet minister Patricia Kaliati (Minister of Gender, Community Development & Social Welfare); Titus Mvalo (Minister of Justice); Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda (Minister of Health) and Jacob Hara — who stays on after his recent appointment as Minister of Transport & Public Works.

The new Cabinet, dissolved from the maiden 31 members after 17 months, now has 29 consisting of 12 women (41%) and 17 men (59%) in compliance with Section 11(1) of Gender Equality Act, 2013.

It has increases number of females who are full Ministers by 75% — from 4 to 7.

Soon after Chakwera dissolved his Cabinet on Monday, the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) issued a statement imploring on the President reduce it from 31 to below 20 and that certain ministries such as Civic Education and Information, Trade and Industry could be merged.

The DPP also expected Chakwera to reconfigure his cabinet “that is truly representative of Malawi” and to “desist from appointing people from one district, region or faith group” and “to trim the number of his presidential advisors to around 5”.

Hours before he dissolved the Cabinet, Consumer Association of Malawi (CAMA) had appealed to the President to trim his cabinet as well as reduce the large number of presidential advisors.

Executive Director John Kapito had alluded that the presidential advisors’ main job description is not being explained and justified and that Chakwera has “a bloated cabinet that is inefficient and does not add value to the taxpayer”.

Kapito also requested Chakwera to merge most of the Ministries and put them under his office or that of the Vice-President and to be managed by efficient directors in order to have an improved cost effective delivery of services.

Kapito further asked the President, his Cabinet Ministers and the Presidential Advisors to reduce their frequent travels both local and international which “do not to add value to Malawians”.

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