Malawi cabinet reduction positive but JB can do more in cutting waste: Editorial

Apart from pruning what she may have considered dead wood as well as bringing on board veteran politician Brown James (BJ) Mpinganjira as 2014 elections draw closer, the other key talking point about the Cabinet that President Joyce Banda hired on Monday is the reduction of ministers from 36 to 32.

Although Malawians would have loved to have a much leaner Cabinet in the region of between 20 and 25, JB’s decision to land the chopping blade instead of increasing her team, especially this time when it would make political sense to put more PP figures on government payroll with a view to help campaign for PP as the countdown to the polls continue, should be commended.

We, at Nyasa Times, therefore warmly congratulate the President for the bold and brave move.

That said, we want to encourage the President to continue on a path of such reforms that save taxpayers money and that while at it she should ensure that any savings that may accrue should be channelled towards the social services sector to benefit the poorest of the poorest among our people.

President Banda congratulates BJ after he was sworn in as minister on Wednesday
President Banda congratulates BJ after he was sworn in as minister on Wednesday

Indeed, we envisage that this is not the end of the beginning but the beginning of the beginning of more cuts in government running costs.

In this regard, President Joyce Banda may look at herself in the mirror and decide whether she has personally done enough in this endeavour. Her constant travels, for instance, are a source of concern to many Malawians who see them as an unnecessary drain of forex at a time when government is telling Malawians that there will be more economic misery ahead before things get back rosy.

This is not to say the President should not travel once in a while to raise Malawi’s flag abroad.

Indeed, as her team at the State House press office never seem to tire in saying, this country lost a lot of goodwill from her friends during the confrontational era of the Bingu wa Mutharika regime and upon assuming office last year the President surely needed to put this right.

But it is now more than a year since that the death of the former president and surely we now have the goodwill from donors that the President has worked so hard to get, is it not time for her to draw the line and instead focus on other issues such as cutting unnecessary government waste that should start with her office to set an example to others?

Malawians have cried for long that they have been made to carry the burden of bearing the sting of economic reforms alone while the leaders, including the President, are swimming in unbridled opulence.

We would like to believe the cutting of the Cabinet is the beginning of the much needed change in the way of doing things in government that would in the end reflect fairness and justice between the rulers and the ruled.

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