Mutharika set to reshuffle cabinet

Amidst growing squabbles in his ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Nyasa Times has been tipped by top government sources that President Bingu wa Mutharika is contemplating to reshuffle his cabinet.

Sources confided in Nyasa Times the honey moon for the six-month old cabinet is over as Mutharika continues with his reforms within the party ahead of the 2014 presidential and parliamentary polls, expected to be the toughest ever.

Already the 78-year-old president has made some surprising dismissals and appointments over the last few months which include firing of the ruling party Regional Governor for the South (Noel Masangwi), director general of the National Intelligence Service (Clement Kapalamula) and his Aide De Camp (ADC) Desmond Chawanda.

Mutharika: Cabinet to be reorganised

He recently also replaced the Malawi Army Chief General Marko Chiziko with Brigadier General Henry Odillo.

“The president is not happy with a number of his cabinet ministers who he feels have not assisted the party and he has already come up with a new list which is just waiting for the Office of the President and Cabinet [OPC] to make an announcement once he gives it a go ahead,” said the source.

Our source said among the target ministers who have failed to rise up include Ephraim Mganda Chiume (Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs) and deputies Nicholas Dausi (in the Office of President Cabinet) and Otria Moyo Jere of Education responsible for Higher Education.

The source also said Mutharika was annoyed with the conduct of his young brother, Peter, heir to the throne and Minister of Foreign Affairs but cannot remove him as 2014 presidential candidate for the DPP.

State House Spokesperson, Albert Mungomo, was not available for comment when contacted on Friday.  Mungomo is always coy to grant interview, preffering presidential spokesma Hetherwick Ntaba to do the talking.

The impending reshuffle comes amidst growing reports of things falling apart in the party with the emergence of the Hope Alliance, a faction of sitting DPP Parliamentarians led by Blantyre City South Moses Kunkuyu who claim their mission is to re-strategize for the party’s victory in 2014.

It is, however, not clear whether the said reshuffle will be executed as the president is away to an African Union (AU) summit in Ethiopia.

Should Mutharika indeed reshuffle the cabinet, it will be his “shortest lived” cabinet after only being appointed six months ago, on 6th September 2011 where a number of senior ministers like Ken Kandodo, Etta Banda, Prof David Mphande and Grain Malunga while reengaging former fired ministers Patricia Kaliati, Dr Ken Lipenga, Dr Goodal Gondwe and Henry Mussa.

Mutharika fired all 40plus members of his cabinet and run the country alone for about two weeks before dropping about 18 in his lean cabinet which Malawians had been crying for.

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