By Draxon Maloya……..
Following the release of the much-awaited new cabinet by His Excellency President , Lazarus Chakwera on Tuesday,(31stJanuary, 2023), the governance and human rights activists, Undule Mwakasungula says he welcomes the new cabinet with mixed observations.
In the first place, Mwakasungula applauds President for coming up with a new cabinet within his promised period of one month saying his action on this matter has at least brought in some hope that he is now a man of his words.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, the senior governance and human rights activists made some few mixed observations on the cabinet includes but not limited to the following: –
•The cabinet in the first place is still too large for our struggling economy as the best Malawians were looking at/for a 20-member professional cabinet as the President promised a lean cabinet. (Malawi needs more a professional cabinet than a cabinet full of politicians in order for delivery).
•The Vice –President Dr Saulos Chilima has not been given any additional responsibilities hence making him a mere passenger and irrelevant in this new cabinet.
•The composition of women in the new cabinet is encouraging as more
women have been given the responsibility to manage important Ministries such of Foreign Affairs, Mining, water and sanitation etc.
•The exclusion of Hon Patricia Kaiati as Minister of Gender from the new
cabinet is very questionable as she was viewed to be one of the best Ministers in the Tonse Alliance government.Hon Kaliati deserved re-appointment unless otherwise.
•The merging of Ministry of Local Government with Unity and Culture is a Misplaced option.
Local government was supposed to have a stand alone Ministry looking at the huge responsibilities upon the ministry and
the responsible Minister having additional responsibilities of unity and culture will bring confusion and retrogression in the operations of the whole ministry.
•The Ministry of Peace and Unity is very important for our country looking at the polarization of our country.
Efforts which were made by Hon Timothy Mtambo as a Minister in facilitating peace and unity in the country must not be ignored, for Malawi needs genuine peace, unity and reconciliation.
•The scrapping of Civic Education as a Ministry is very worrisome as
Malawi cannot move forward without continued civic education.
You Cannot talk about anything in this country without Civic education. For example, to deal with our political differences, we need civic education. The cholera challenges and need for improved sanitation we need civic education, with our illiteracy rate standing at 35% we need continued and uncased civic education. Therefore, removing Civic Education as a Ministry is a big mistake by the President or those who advised him.
•The appointment of the new Minister of information. Moses Kumkuyu is welcome and hope he will bring a difference approach in how to respond on national issues and challenges.
Malawian seeds a Minister who can be accountable to them by giving them honest owes and feel the reality on the ground.
Malawians need a Minister and not
a propagandists and hope the new Minister will bring that and deliver.
•Regional representation was supposed to be the core of the new cabinet appointments looking at sentiments coming from some regions: i.e. northern region who are advocating for federalism due to the feeling that the region is not benefiting from/in national participation and development. The President woudhave explored further by appointing Regional Ministers with full responsibilities to facilitate regional initiatives for national development hence diffuse those sentiment son federalism.
All in all, the question might arise of the new cabinet if it represents Tonse
Alliance or is a government more of one leading partner. One important factor to note is that the Tonse Alliance is just existing on paper but in reality is not.