New ministers are expected to be announced as President Peter Mutharika freshens his Cabinet – a break away from lean team – in an attempt to convince voters that his administrations has the energy, ideas and talent for government.
Mutharika dissolved Cabinet last week a move political analysts believe is to incorporate Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) partner United Democratic Front (UDF) in the Cabinet ahead of the forthcoming presidential election.
The President has maintained a 20-member Cabinet ever since his campaign pledge in 2014 though he did not campaign on cabinet size in the second term.
It is a campaign pledge he has fulfilled 100% throughout his first five-year first term, even the nine months of his second five-year term even now when the economy has recovered: inflation is at the lowest in decades, bank lending rates have come down by more than 50%, infrastructure development is underway across the country, and public reform to enable economic growth.
Some observers say the economy is a lot better than then and can sustain a 30-member Cabinet.
Mutharika has now assembled a new Cabinet, according to sources at the Office of President and Cabinet (OPC).
Presidential spokesperson Mgeme Kalilani said the President will announce a new Cabinet soon.
With the battleground of fresh presidential elections in his rear view mirror Mutharika needs a different type of top team as political commentators have advised to remove “riff ruffs” in the new Cabinet.
Political commentator Humphreys Mvula says Mutharika should have a brutal clear out of the ‘riff ruffs’ that were giving the President a bad name and replace them with the people that can endear the President to the people.
“This is the time to remove individuals that make him and DPP look toxic and an opportunity to rebrand. It has dawned on him that the elections are now certain following the Supreme Court ruling,” he said.
Other analysts also say what Mutharika needs now is a delivery cabinet to turn his election promises into tangible policy.
“He needs to make a campaign cabinet,” said Henry Chingaipe, a political analyst with local thinktank the Institute for Policy Research and Social Empowerment.
The Constitutional Court last month ordered officials to hold fresh presidential elections within 150 days, but the bills for doing so require Mutharika’s assent, which on Tuesday he refused to ratify.
The proposed amendments requested a more than 50 percent majority to secure a second term — a major sticking point for Mutharika, who was declared winner with just 35.8 percent of the vote.
Without his approval, the draft laws will be returned to the National Assembly.
President Mutharika has filed an appeal against the court’s annulment of the results and refused to fire members of Malawi Electoral Commission, as recommended by parliament.
Malawi’s Supreme Court is expected to rule on Mutharika’s appeal in April.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :