Speech by His Excellency the State President, Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika On Swearing-in Members of Cabinet
Let me begin by congratulating Honourable Chimulirenji, M.P, Honourable Charles Mchacha, M.P., Honourable Amos Mailosi, M.P., and Honourable Welani Chilenga, M.P., on their respective appointments.
As you are aware, in accordance with the law, I made some changes to the Cabinet on Wednesday, 7th November, 2018. The changes mostly entailed re-assigning Ministers to new portfolios.
However, I also promoted Honourable Chimulirenji, M.P from being Deputy Minister of Defence to become Minister of Civic Education, Culture and Community Development. I also appointed Honourable Charles Mchacha, M.P., Honourable Amos Mailosi, M.P., and Honourable Welani Chilenga, M.P. as Deputy Ministers.
As the law requires, newly appointed Ministers and Deputy Ministers must be sworn into office before they can discharge their functions. We have just fulfilled what the law says. As such, the Minister and Deputy Ministers can now begin to undertake their work. Once again, let me congratulate you all.
Such changes to Cabinet are normal. Ministers and Deputy Ministers are occasionally rotated simply to expose them to other domains of Government; and sometimes to reinvigorate or reenergize Government machinery. Sometimes, we replace others. There is no life time appointment in Cabinet.
In other instances, Ministers and Deputy Ministers also need a fresh challenge in their work. The ultimate aim is to ensure that Government serves the country better.
I have trust in everyone that I have appointed. I expect them to live up to the expectation of the people. And I believe they will serve Malawians with a patriotic spirit, integrity and hardwork.
In particular, I would like to urge you to protect public resources and foster transparency and accountability. I appeal to you to desist from engaging in corrupt activities.
As I have said on numerous occasions, corruption is an evil that must be fought out of our society. It is the collective responsibility of us all to fight corruption. Currently, our rate of corruption control is at 65%, according to the Millennium Challenge Corporation report just released this week. But we need fight more. Join me in the fight!
While the job of the Opposition is to point fingers and accuse the Executive of corruption, our job is to fight that corruption everywhere.
Having said so, let me quickly add that serving as a member of the Cabinet presents its own challenges. Serving people, including those who dislike you, is a huge responsibility.
However, we must always rise to the occasion. I expect you to bring about changes in your various ministries. This demands hard-work, total commitment and thinking outside the box.
The responsibility to drive the national development agenda rests with Cabinet. It is because we have a focused and hardworking spirit in Cabinet that, in the past four years:
- We have stabilised the economy and begun economic growth
- We have delivered new roads in towns and rural areas
- We have delivered rural electricity to many villages
- We have taken piped water to rural communities
- We have built community colleges to empower our Youth with technical skills
We have delivered development at unprecedented speed because we believe in hard work as Cabinet and many Malawians working in the public service.
Internationally, Malawi is performing very well in a cross-section of sectors. According to the November Millennium Challenge Account report, we have scored very well in:
- Control of corruption
- Government effectiveness
- Rule of Law
- Freedom of Information
- Trade Policy
- Primary Education Expenditure
- Health Expenditure
- Civil Liberties
- Political Rights
- And many more areas.
Let me use this opportunity to thank all Malawians and public servants who are working hard for us to attain these achievements that are on record. And I am proud of every Malawian working hard to make this country rise to prosperity.
As a member of Cabinet, it is also your duty to inspire the people you work with and the nation with your hardworking spirit. Developing Malawi is a collective duty of every Malawian.
Working in Cabinet also demands discipline. Working in Cabinet demands collective responsibility. Because we work on the principle collective responsibility, you cannot sit on Cabinet if you are not part its agenda. Every Cabinet has a policy agenda.
The job of Cabinet is to collectively make policy decisions for Malawians. There is nothing like sitting a Cabinet as an honorary position.
Being in Cabinet is not a matter of constitutional status. We are here to collectively drive policies that should make a difference in the lives of Malawians. Therefore, you need to subscribe to the policies of this Government. Either you are part of our policy agenda, or you are not part of my Cabinet. And that’s what is going to be.
Therefore, I urge you to familiarise yourselves with the policies that you will be representing as you sit on Cabinet. You also need to familiarise yourselves with the various documents that guide the protocol of decision making in your job.
The Chief Secretary will circulate to you various reference documents. This includes a Cabinet Handbook. I urge you to read it carefully because it will guide you in your day to day work as a member of the Cabinet.
I wish you all the best.
Once again, congratulations.
God bless you all!