In a cabinet reshuffle made by President Peter Mutharika announced on Thursday by Chief Secretary George Mkondiwa, the Head of State has stripped deputy Saulos Chilima duties as Minister responsible for Disaster Management, maintaining a lean 20 member cabinet with only three female ministers and also retained the ‘midnight six’.
In the new cabinet line-up, Chilima is just State Vice President without portfolio.
Notable changes in the cabinet also shows the rising of Leader of Government in Parliament, Francis Kasaila who is also ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) spokesman, from Transport and Public Works Ministry to key Foreign Affairs Ministry replacing George Chaponda who heads another key ministry of Agriculture Irrigation and Water Development, .
Mutharika has dropped Minister of Agriculture, Allan Chiyembekeza while the outspoken Parliamentarian Patricia Kaliati has been moved to Ministry of Information and Civic Education from Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social welfare where Jean Kalilani takes over.
The reshuffle comes seven months after Mutharika made changes to his 20-member cabinet, and two weeks after the country’s consumer watchdog, Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) took to the streets in protest against, among other issues, the government’s failure to address social and economic challenges facing poor Malawians.
And the firing of Chiyembekeza from cabinet might be regarded as a reprisal for his failure to address maize shortage the country is currently facing which has forced millions of people to spend days and nights on queues at Admarc depots.
Mutharika has roped in a new face, Parliamentarian Aggrey Masi as a Deputy Minister of Defence.
But the change that will attract more attention is the moving of Patricia Kaliati to the Ministry of Information and Civic Education which has held before under the former President late Bingu wa Mutharika’s regime.
Kaliati will take over from Jappie Mhango who has since been moved to the Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security. Mhango’s predecessor, Jean Kalilani is now new Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare.
Among those who have retained their positions in the cabinet include Minister of Finance Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe; United Democratic Front (UDF) president Atupele Muluzi who remains Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development; Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism Joseph Mwanamvekha; Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining Bright Msaka, SC; Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu, SC; Minister of Education, Science and Technology Dr Emmanuel Fabiano; Minister of Sports and Culture Grace Obama Chiumia; Minister of Health Dr Peter Kumpalume; Deputy Minister of Education, Science and Technology Vincent Ghambi
Mutharika has retained parliamentarians who were in the ‘Mid-Night Six’, who went public in opposing the ascendency to power of former President Joyce Banda following Bingu wa Mutharika’s death in 2012.
On Good Friday (April 6 2012), the eve of the official announcement of Mutharika’s death, a group of six Cabinet ministers addressed a midnight news conference beamed live on Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) television which suggested that Banda could not assume the presidency as “there was no vacancy in government” and allegedly because she had formed an opposition party.
MP’s in the midnight six; Henry Mussa, Patricia Kaliati, Dr. Jean Kalilani, Kondwani Nakhumwa have been retained while Symon Vuwa Kaunda remains at State House as presidential adviser on national unity, and Nicholas Dausi is chief state spy.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :