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ON THE NEW MALAWI CABINET

(Photo by AMOS GUMULIRA / AFP)

Last week, I went to bed a sad man upon learning the names of those appointed to the cabinet. But this week, I awoke an enlightened person. I think I know exactly why the “presidents” selected these people into the cabinet. I was reminded, in my pondering, of the fact that we are coming from regimes that made us believe that to be in the cabinet is a matter of names and politics. Our minds will take some time to unlearn this political construct.

I was reminded that there was no way the presidents would choose a cabinet, at a time such as this, that would be pleasant to everybody. Why? 

  1. Too many parties in the coalition, hard to please them all. 
  2. Too many people who helped bring about this victory, hard to please them all. 
  3. Too many expectations from people, hard to please them all. 
  4. Too many names that people think are qualified.

Here is my reflection on why we have this cabinet;

1. Experience.

There are many qualified people in the alliance, some are even more qualified than those in the cabinet, yet they do not have experience.

What would happen if the presidents chose inexperienced people into the cabinet? Let me answer that for you. They would spend the first three months learning their job. In those three months, our country would lose a lot.

I figured the presidents wanted people who would know what to do, where to start from, who to fire, why, from the word go.

To clarify this point further,

  • SIDIK has been a minister before and he knows government very well. He will know what to do from the first day.
  • HALIMA has been minister before.
  • ROY KACHALE’S mother was president of the country while his son was deep into politics and government affairs.
  • ROBIN LOWE was leader of opposition, a position that interacts with government on a very close range.
  • FELIX MLUSU’s experience in the financial sector speaks volumes.
  • MICHAEL USI has been an executive of ADRA Malawi for a long time and would know how to run a ministry from the word go.
  • KALIATI was minister before for so many years.
  • GWENGWE has been a minister before.
  • KANDODO was a minister before.

I can go on and on!

2. Action-oriented people

Most of these cabinet members are people who do not fear to act. They have before, put their heads on the rail track. They act without being told. They are pacesetters.

1. Who remembers how one Abida followed a truck from Msanje to Blantyre, when she suspected the truck was full of rigged votes. Who remembers how she, without fear, confronted the DC in Msanje when one MEC officer was caught tampering with votes? She is an action-oriented person and if you ask those around her, they will tell you, she does not play Santa. Google her pictures and videos for you to understand that this woman means business.

2. How many of us remember how one Ulemu Msungama fought in the courts to redeem his seat? I can assure you, this was at a time when MCP did not dream of winning a court case on elections. He had almost zero support from his fellow politicians, yet he believed. He gathered his own team that helped him with the evidence. He paid his own lawyers, he believed, he was full of action. His case was actually one of the benchmarks for the Concourt case. And almost each time we went to the streets to march, Ulemu was always there. And do you remember the time he was arrested with Jesse over a WhatsApp chat? How about the controversy over Corona?

3. Vera is a technocrat and an action-oriented person. Go on her Facebook wall and see what she has been up to all this time.

4. Richard Chimwendo is an action-oriented person. He alone changed the face of the youth wing of MCP. Remember how his house got petro bombed in Dowa? Why? He is a powerhouse.

3. Public Servants

I know about 60% of the cabinet members and, trust you me, most of them are people who have before made sacrifices for this nation. People who are public servants.

I can go on and on. But my guess is, this cabinet list is also a learning project for the presidents. There will be reshuffles for underperformance, there will be changes here and there. I am happy to see a variety of backgrounds in the cabinet; non-politicians, the youth, artists, people from all regions, a mix from different parties, women, technocrats and above all, people geared to work.

When all is said, I wish Sam Kawale was on this first list. He fits in all these categories.

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What do you think?

Written by Shadreck Chikoti

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