President Peter Mutharika has told Public Affairs Committee (PAC) that he was nepotistic in his appointment of 20-member cabinet comprising ministers mostly from the southern region, saying they are based on merit.
PAC and other human rights groups criticized Mutharika, accusing him of nepotism and creating division with his Cabinet appointments, and failing to address urgent economic issues.
Two local rights groups, the Center for Human Rights and Rehabilitation and the Center for the Development of People, said President Mutharika appointed Cabinet based on nepotism and ethnicity.
PAC, which met Mutharika at Sanjika Palace in Blantyre, told the President that his choice of the Cabinet, largely from his stronghold, the Southern Region, may have (a negative) impact on good governance.
Committee chairperson the Reverend Felix Chingota told the President said PAC has no problems with the size of the Cabinet, but the personalities.
Speaking to reporters after the President meeting with PAC, Minister of Foreign Affairs George Chaponda, who attended the meeting, said the President picked some technocrats that are not MPs into his Cabinet from other regions such as Minister of Finance (Goodall Gondwe), Minister of Justice (Samuel Tembenu) and Minister of Housing and Lands (Bright Msaka).
PAC publicity secretary Father Peter Mulomole of the Catholic Church told journalists that the President told the PAC delegation that he chose his Cabinet based on members of Parliament (MPs) his party has.
Mulomole said the President also said that most of his MPs are from the Southern Region and wondered how else he should have done it since traditionally Cabinet ministers are picked from parliamentary representatives one has.