Always a Cabinet aims to balance two critical things: push government policy and maintain political survival.
You need technical gearboxes to move critical ministries such as finance, health, education, agriculture and tourism with an aim of achieving a status of a developmental state.
Besides that, you need political clout to maneuver the political ground with a goal of manufacturing consent of the governed to be less agitating.
How you balance the two is critical on the survival and success of any government in power. Bingu Wa Mutharika played it well and smart in 2004. He managed to charm the public by ensuring that well deserved technocrats manned key ministries with an aim pushing a development agenda.
President Peter Mutharika’s 24-person Cabinet doesn’t sound like one well thought to balance the two critical variable I have mentioned there.
His cabinet can be understood better by analyzing the old faces that have made it than the lucky new faces.
Apart from education, all the other key ministries—health, agriculture, finance and tourism—have been left in the hands of tired soldiers whose track record doesn’t inspire confidence.
There is hardly a flicker of hope to have our finances in the hands Mwanamveka, as minister, and Gondwe as an advisor. Mwanamveka was at the treasury during Bingu days and we all beat testimony to billions of toxic loans at the Malawi Savings Bank deal. You add the same Goodall Gondwe on the advisory and you feel a strong sense of terrific dejavu.
Well there appear a sense of hope in the youthfuls such as Ben Malunga Phiri and Mark Bottoman running in key ministries.
But when you still have the Nicholous Dausi’s, the Vuwa Kaundas and the Francis Kasailas, you surely know that something things will never change.
All in all, Mutharika is struggling with legitimacy issues and it is only fair for him to win that through strengthening his soldiers.
But at this critical juncture, Mutharika could have used the cabinet to sow divisions in the people he is fighting with. He could have eloped in key members of MCP and UTM in the cabinet and redefine the discussion.
The move could have worked in ways that the national debates would have been different. Lo, Mutharika didn’t see that!Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :