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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Cabinet Assessment For Only Key Ministries Under The Leadership Of President Chakwera

Written by James Mhango in his personal capacity

My fellow Malawians,

FLASHBACK: President Chakwera and Vice President Chilima at the official opening of cabinet ministers orientation workshop some months ago in Lilongwe

I have been compelled to do some audit on the MCP led government cabinet ministers and some deputy ministers after six months since they were sworn in. It’s good to have such kind of postmortem to know if our country is heading towards right or wrong direction.

Since the Constitution of Malawi places policy direction of the country on the shoulders of the Executive arm of government which is headed by the President who is the Head of Government and at the same time Head of State, it’s incumbent upon us a nation to make some stock taking when such time arises in quest for a productive nation.

Without wasting your time, let me start my assessment from the Head of the Executive who is the President, in this case, it’s Chakwera.

1. President Chakwera as Head of State, government and commander In-Chief of Malawi Defense Force and Malawi Police Service.

CHAKWERA: Failed miserably in his six months in office

Chakwera came into power with a sympathy vote and not his popularity. He took advantage of DPP silly mistakes that were done not by Prof Arthur Peter Mutharika but his aides whom some of them are answering criminal cases in courts. Up to now people still believe that Mutharika was stable, peaceful and visionary leader but with a very useless and bad company.

Chakwera took advantage of that and played his cards well and he eventually became the President of the country with the help of Saulos Chilima who gave him youthful votes close to a million.

Chakwera promised Malawians many things that from day one he will accomplished like universal subsidy of fertilizer, lowering of passport price to K14000, free connections for water and Escom, one week tax holiday for business people, raising PAYE tax to K100,000 and the famous kudya katatu rhetoric amongst others.

All these are enshrined in their Tonse Alliance manifesto. But guess what! Of all the mentioned above, its only one that he has implemented, and that is PAYE issue though too it was not on day one but still I can understand him.

For the first time in the history of Malawi probably in the history of African politics, we have seen a retired General to come and take over the leadership of the soldiers which indicates that the Commander In-Chief has no respect and trust with the sitting Generals who are already in the barracks at that time. Some views this as an anomaly and I agree with them.

But Chakwera successfully finds solace in new IG of police,George Kainja when he successfully brought him after Parliament massively voted for him. And that is positive side as Head of security services in Malawi.

On other policy directions like foreign affairs and others, the president has not done well. As country we have found ourselves to make diplomatic ties with country that is not recognized by UN, or AU,and that is Somaliland that has nothing to give Malawi in terms of strategic partnership.

Locally the president has been up and down in the country, but with nothing to show and deliberately ignoring the Attorney General advice not to fire people will willy because government will lose out of money in the process.

He is still lining up police officers in the streets, a thing he opposed his predecessor and he demoted one police officer for merely reminding him on his pledge. Very sad indeed.

I have deliberately skipped the RSA embarrassment that our president went through at the airport. For my readers, let me remind you that chakwera has never been a Minister or deputy Minister before apart from being an MP. Chakwera has a lot work to do in his office. No wonder he has employed Tony Blair as his expert in governance issues. He has failed with flying colours. He cant show any direction he wants this country to go unlike his all predecessors except JB who too was too mobile for nothing.

The President has deliberately failed to take questions from journalists directly instead he has decided to delegate his powers to his communication team. Though that is allowed but at times, the President needs to face the press himself to answer burning issues that have engulfed the nation eg all his travels he has undertook so far, we were supposed to know why he took such foreign trips.

But the President has done well on a very important issue that is to go before Parliament to answer questions from the MPs a thing all his predecessors failed to except Bakili Muluzi who did that once.

Under his watch the President has also signed into the Access to Information Bill that DPP government already passed in Parliament but for no reasons it was warehoused.

I would like therefore to rate President chakwera as most failed President in his six months in office and he deservedly need to get 35%.

2. Vice President, Saulos Chilima.

CHILIMA: He is no longer active on reforms

Everybody will attest that the Chilima is energetic and he does his things with passion. With his experience in private sector, the guy seems to be on top of his game always. Chilima had worked with Mutharika before in the same capacity and ministry or head of Public Reforms to try to drive the public sector into kind of commercial entities and align them with vision of the country to export more.

He produced results under APM leadership. But sadly, when he was about to finish the job, political bickering started within the Executive in DPP at that time. He was later chopped off. No need to talk more on this. Fast forward, with Rev Chakwera at the helm now, still the guy seems not to enjoy his work. The reforms are gone. He is no longer active in that department and yet its crucial one because I for sure, that is his desire to transform public service.

Luckily, he has two ministries. The other one is the economic planning. Some weeks ago we saw him touring some roads in the country. Then he went to lower shire where he toured the Chikwawa-chapanga road. He told the construction company to stop the substandard work.

Am yet to discover if a minister of another ministry has leverage over another minister because the roads in Malawi as it is now belong to ministry of transport that is headed by Mia. But my assumption is that the order came in because he is the VP of the country who is above the minister. Whichever way, but that is what is called leadership. We voted them to do us good job, to save our money on bogus issues. And chilima did like that. We all know that chilima is a good marketer. But this is not the time to sell but to deliver.

So my humble prayer to you sir, is don’t play with people’s minds. You go overboard at times. Don’t tell us about kudya katatu after rains. Mr VP, stop the push ups during working time. This is against your very reforms you are championing. It is a sign of laziness from your high office.

Allow me, therefore to give chilima 50%


LOWE: Sleeping on duty

Here the Minister, Lobin Lowe and his Deputy look out of place always no wonder they have performed so badly with AIP off track. These two ministers are just sleeping on their jobs.

Mr. President, you can as well start thinking of bring an expert in that ministry to head it.

The Minister tries to take photos for PR stunt while he is in office while poor Malawians are sleeping at Admarc deports chasing AIP but to no avail. Even his steps when walking can tell that he is not up to the task.

He and his Deputy have 10%.


CHIPONDA: One of the star performers

With covid-19 pandemic still haunting the country, the Minister Khuze Chiponda and her Deputy Chris Nyakanyasko seem to have worked very well. It seems there is unity between them though they have two different political backgrounds. I have seen the Minister always in the office holding meetings with our donors trying to get support for our health workers and the people of Malawi and she rarely attend public functions.

She seems to understand her office very well. She is a rare gem indeed. She has delegated her deputy to criss cross the country to see for herself the dire situations of our health facilities and personnel. She looks very intelligent and cool minded person.

Madam, Chiponda, but try to source more PPEs for our health workers they need more motivation from you. Remember to wear masks whenever you are in public places as leader that shows your seriousness on this pandemic. Nyakanyasko has surpassed all deputy ministers in the Chakwera cabinet. She has worked so professionally and diligently. You could see her in hospitals at the time when COVID-19 was at it’s peak.

Meeting many health workers is a great motivation to them in times of these where their lives are on the line. You could see her taking notes herself from employees. It’s not a secret that Chris loves PR. She gets photos wherever she goes. Some have criticized her for that but taking photos for good work is nothing wrong. Mind you she has been a diplomat where as a deputy ambassador to UN she has been involved in that international limelight and she understands importance of PR very well. She has those ambassadorial skills of engaging people at every time given.

This is the kind of leadership we are looking for no wonder she won as MP at her first attempt beating the experienced Mganda Chiumia. Am now convinced that this is why she is now Deputy Leader of the House in Parliament, a very strategic position for women representation.

I therefore, congratulate these two ladies for job well done. Both Minister and her Deputy I will give them 65% each in their personal capacities.


MIA: Had a miserable start

Very key ministry. The Minister in that ministry has huge experience in transport industry by looking at his political journey from this party to the other. Sidik Mia will not bring any tangible change at the ministry. The only change we shall see is that we may have new contractors working for him in that ministry. Don’t you wonder why he allowed a substandard work to continue in Chikwawa where he comes from until Chillima came to the rescue of our taxes?

So simple question, how many substandard roads do we have now which are in progress that the minister is visiting them but he can’t question and yet we surely know that that for development to take place, we need good and passable roads of high standards. The main problem with Mia is that he always think about business in his head. Now his focus is on 2025 polls to partner with Chakwera. That is his goal.

I don’t need to waste much of my time on him. He has been rewarded 12% for his recklessness and the feud he is creating in the Tonse Alliance government as he seems to be power hungry.


Mlusu: Got 17%

Oh my God. I don’t know where Chakwera took this man. I can attest here one sin President Chakwera will answer before God is that why you gave Malawians a minister who has no financial acumen and old enough to compete with youthful and digital guys both in government and in private sector.

All economic indicators are down. The kwacha continues to depreciate and yet just some months ago while DPP was in government the kwacha was strong amidst COVID-19 pandemic as well and political instability.

Mlusu has raised the PAYE to K100,000 at the same time he raises the prices of cooking oil, fuel that triggers inflation amidst COVID-19 nightmare for poor Malawians.

The agreement between him and Chakwera must be special one but disastrous to the nation. Mlusu has allowed the MPs to get a pay hike at 100% and yet he gives poor civil servants 13%. Does he really care about the poor? But his background will tell you that insurer always things of enriching themselves than the insured. Bwana president can we have a new man at the ministry in your next reshuffle. I will give Mlusu only 17%.


KAZAKO: Nothing to show

Very pompous man. He thinks he is still at ZBS with his promos. Mr Minister Sir, you have been called to work in political circles where humility is a key. I know you want to outshine your predecessors by engineering rhetorics than substance. No wonder you made a mistake a MBC interface meeting where you directed that Tonse Alliance philosophy does not accept the presidential diary to be repeated now and then.

Then you realised that you have goofed after reading in social media, you started threatening your fellow journalists who captured your remarks. You have recently defended the price of fuel in a very childish and irresponsible manner. You can’t compare the old prices of that time when DPP was in power and now. We have two different economic standards as we speak.

Sometimes, its better to let it go by telling the reporter to ask the line minister if questions are technical like of why fuel price has jumped because the Minister will be able to answer in very technical manner. ” inuyo zanu tizaku studio ndima parables basi”.

You have brought nothing new at MBC apart from aiding the firing of your fellow journalists. Some have praised you when you were answering the RSA journalist on Bushri saga. But that was suicidal. We know how powerful RSA government is. It can flex its economic muscle and we lose everything here for just to be seen clever when the best was to say, we are talking at ambassadorial levels and at certain point, we shall issue a joint statement from both countries.

Remember you insisted of constructing MPs house even though the decision was unpopular and insensitive. Now just get your portion here Sir. I will give you 15%.


MKAKA: He is crushing very fast

Mr President. I fault you for giving Mkaka this ministry. The guy is just an auditor. Its his first time to be an MP. He has no experience in government machinery apart from working in First Capital Bank.

Of all people in MCP, then you decided to give him that position of diplomat 1. Mkaka has failed at every level you can imagine. He allowed the president to be searched at the airport in RSA. He goes to Israel to recognize Jerusalem as capital of that country when the international law is against that.

He takes Malawi to Somaliland, non recognized state by UN and AU. So far nothing to show that Malawi has made strides at international level apart from the same chambo we eat here in Tanzania, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Mkaka seems to be power hungry too like Mia. He is crushing very fast. He has to slow down. Mkaka is also involved in NOCMA deals that has led to many ramifications at that institution. I will give him 15% for his recklessness of all manners.


KALIATI: Another star performer

The one heading this ministry is well know “celebrity” in her own kind of doing things. She holds no grudges with anyone. She acts on time when called to duty. Patricia Kaliati fits well that ministry since she has experience when it comes to gender issues. We don’t need to waste time to talk of her here.

But two things she has to work on is the mtukula pakhomo for women a thing this government has abandoned. And she knows the importance of that to our local women. The other aspect is on lobbying for capital punishment for those who rape under age girls in our society that has been rampant of late. So far I can just award her with 60% pass rate.


Chimwendo-Banda: Minister of “arrests”

From his look one can easily say that the man is our new “Rambo” mainly when he is in his political gear. He looks tough and fierce. When President Chakwera gave him the ministry of Homeland Security, nobody gave him a chance to perform and that how he is going to differentiate between being a minister and a youth director.

Apart from being the Minister of “arrests”, he is also the Leader of the House in Parliament where he has worked so perfectly. He has managed to pass all Bills that came before Floor including the new IG confirmation.

He has talked tough on rapists a thing some said it was wrong in legal terms but his message sent a tough warning to those rapists. And that is what at times is needed to bring sanity in society that is allowing stupidity to continue to breed.

Remember the famous ‘shoot to kill’ by late Bingu how it changed the armed robbery? That is decisive leadership. So far the raping numbers are going down because of such statements. On policy direction, nothing to show.

However Chimwendo Banda, your recent transfer of a police officer who posted a reminder on his Facebook account, on why police must be lining up in the streets against the promises during campaign, is a very serious setback on your CV. This must give you a sign that police officers do not like to be in streets for the president to pass.

The other part you have failed is the willy nilly arrests of those who are deemed to be DPP cadets for no apparent reasons as up to now, no cadet has been convicted by courts for violation of law. You can do better Mr Rambo. You have a bright future to protect or ruin it now. So far he gets 60% of his rate.


I can’t understand why and how she found herself in cabinet. She has presided over MSCE examination leakage. She and her deputy, I don’t think they have anything to show us. Dismal from their respect office is needed. I will give them 5%.


MVALO: Another good performer

So far the Titus Mvalo has no skeletons of any kind.

His private legal life is helping him a lot in shaping his vision in this ministry.

He has successfully managed to amend the Constitution and other relevant Acts when it comes to electoral laws.

But he must help the Minister of Gender to enact tough laws on Violence Against Women and Rape Laws to bring to an end the scourge. I can rate him 70%.

Well job done.


DR SILUNGWE: Top most performer with 80%

Dr. Chikosa Silungwe has so provided unbiased advice to the leadership mainly the Executive arm of government. He has at many occasions told the President point blank on contentious issues like firing of Malawians just because they seem to be opposition members. I don’t have any problems with him so far. I can rate him 80%.

Some of Chakwera’s female cabinet ministers

NOTE: Ministers and Deputy Ministers who do not appear on this list, just know that you are dead- walking people in your respect ministries. I can’t even know what you do in those miniseries since you were appointed.

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  1. I expected you to say something about Dr Usi. Since you havent, let me help you. It’s 60% for Michael Usi.
    What about Roy Kachale? I think he deserves 3%.
    The energy Minister deserves 10% just like the Lands Ministry


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