Mutharika to decide on Chikaonda led development council

President Peter Mutharika is to decide on whether it is necessary to keep or disband the High Level Development Council, chaired by Professor Matthews Chikaonda which was established by former president Joyce Banda.

Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe said the fate of the multi-sectoral body, formed on January 9 2014, to deliberate and advice on national social and economic development lies with the new President.

He said the council has no legal mandate, therefore its fate lies with the policy of the incumbent.

Chikaonda was appointed chair of the council by former President Banda
Chikaonda was appointed chair of the council by former President Banda

Chikaonda, who is also group chief executive officer of Press Corporation Limited (PCL), speaking at the fourth annual general meeting (AGM) of the Association of Business Journalists (ABJ) at Hapuwani Village Lodge in Mulanje on Saturday the council will have to report to President Mutharika as its mandate is to “advise government of the day and future governments.”

The council, according to Chikaonda, has done a lot of studies about the past development plans of the country.

“We are focusing on where we have failed as a nation and what we have achieved on the other side,” said Chikaonda, famous for a 10 point plan during the time he was finance minister.
“We will present the report in the near future. Before coming out, the council needs to have a dialogue with the new government,” he said.

Chikaonda described the council as independent and non-partisan which will have to come up with a “master development plan for Malawi.”

But social commentator Chris Chisoni of the Catholic Commission Justice and Peace (CCJP)
wondered why the committee has members before Parliament approves it.

“How do you elect people to a body that has not been approved by Parliament? And what was the criteria for choosing the members?” said Chisoni.

The council comprises 24 members which include Abdul Gaffar Jakhura, Blessings Chinsinga, Paramount Chief Kyungu, Dr Charles Mwansambo, Sam Kakhobwe, Dr Bruce Munthali, Professor Richard Mkandawire and Reverend Patrick Semphere.

The mandate of the Council is to take a broad, cross-cutting, independent and critical view of Malawi’s development needs, to help define the Malawi that we seek to achieve over the next 50 years; prescribe the necessary and sufficient conditions for achieving the desired outcomes; and clearly outline the path and implementation; monitoring and evaluation strategies to achieve those objectives and the aspirations of Malawians.

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