Peter Mutharika newspaper assessment ‘wrong’- Nankhumwa

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kondwani Nankhumwa, has added his voice to discredit The Sunday Times newspaper for coming up with a cabinet assessment that has labelled his boss, Foreign Minister Peter Mutharika and ruling DPP presidential candidate as one of cabinet flops.

The newspaper carried a special 8-page Cabinet Assessment supplement inside its 26 February 2012 edition which rates the president, vice-president and the 17 cabinet ministers on a scale of 1-10.

According to the newspaper, a score of 1-2 means ‘give it up’ and that the minister should seriously consider giving up their ministerial job while a score of 9-10 indicates ‘excellent, and that such official deserves another term’.  It says 3-4 means ‘pull up your socks please; 5-6 ‘ok, but you can do better’; 7-8 ‘you are a star’.

Peter Mutharika: Wrongly assessed, says junior minister

The paper scored President Mutharika 4, the same grading to his brother, Peter, who is heir apparent.

But Nankhumwa told Nyasa Times that the yardsticks used to grade his boss were “misrepresented.”

The paper termed Peter Mutharika as a reluctant and unwilling candidate of which Nankhumwa said it’s not true as he has refused to be dragged into commenting of his proposed candidacy.

“What Peter has been saying is let’s concentrate on nation building and find solutions to our challenges like fuel and forex. Once we do that we shall sit down and talk politics,” Nankhumwa said.

He also trashed the assertion that Peter Mutharika never came back to Malawi until after his brother became President.

“This is not true because records are there that the professor was part of a leading team that drafted the country’s constitution in 1993-4 which shows that Peter had passion for Malawi way before that,” said Nankhumwa.

Citizenship

The other issue that worries the deputy minister is the attainment of the United States Green-card, saying Malawians need to be informed what a Green-card is, explaining that it does not declare one to be a citizen of America but only allows you multiple entry and exit into the country.

He said it was therefore wrong to conclude that Peter Mutharika had dual citizenship just because of the Green-card.

Nankhumwa also said it is totally wrong to vilify the younger Mutharika just because he married in Trinidad and Tobago as there are so many Malawians who are married outside Malawi but are not attacked for that.  His wife died some years ago.

He also said it was wrong for the media to say Peter’s three children have never been to Malawi, saying the fact is that the children, who are lawyers, have been coming, citing Mutharika’s swearing in ceremony in 2009 which they attended.

Defending

Nankhumwa also said it is out of order for someone to say that President Mutharika have been shifting his brother to different ministerial positions like at Justice, Education and Foreign ministries to prepare him for presidency in 2014, saying there are some ministers like George Chaponda, Ken Lipenga, John Bande, Yunus Mussa, Lucius Kanyumba, Henry Mussa and so many others who have been shifted several times.

As the assessment also  had put it that the ministry of education was a disaster during Peter’s tenure, Nankhumwa thinks to the contrary adding the issue of salary arrears to teachers were sorted out during Peter’s tenure.

On the long  fight to academic freedom at  Chancellor College , the deputy minister  said Peter ‘s hands were tied because according to rules governing the university,  a minister is not involved in the day to day running of the colleges but is only there for policy guidance.

The deputy minister also brushed assumptions that at foreign ministry, former president Bakili Muluzi outscored Peter for correcting Malawi’s relations with Zambia, saying the truth of the matter is as a top diplomat the Minister has been holding meetings with his Zambian, Mozambican and Tanzanian counterparts “silently”.

“Some of the diplomatic affairs need to be tackled in camera. You only come out to the media after the conclusion,” he said

Nankhumwa said Malawians need to know that some donors who vehemently had refused to support Malawi in its 2011-2012 budget had to make a u-turn and offered their financial and technical support to drug shortage and fertilizer subsidy after the young Mutharika convinced them to do so.

He said Malawians needed to take heed of Peter’s usual message of forgiveness, tolerance and development than wasting time on flimsy issues.

“Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika has said this at almost all meetings he has addressed but surprisingly the media does not write about this,” he said

On his recent leave to United States, Nankhumwa clarified that Peter Mutharika was not on leave for one month as was widely reported.

“It was actually 11 additional days. He left Malawi during the long civil service holiday that the president declared up to 9th January. Then he asked for additional 11 days that were approved by the authorities. And actually the issue of a two month holiday here does not arise,” Nankhumwa said.

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