BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)—Malawi leader Lazarus Chakwera has today Friday proceeded with the swearing-in of the new cabinet ministers despite the fierce criticisms from the general public for inclusion of members of the same families.
Chakwera released the full cabinet on Wedmesday which saw Malawi Congress Party (MCP) Vice President Sidik Mia and his wife Abida making it into the 31-memebr cabinet, and a large percentage of people from the central region, a development that angered many Malawians who were hoping for an end to cronyisms and nepotism.
However, speaking at the swearing-in ceremony on Friday at the Bingu International Conference Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe President Chakwera has said he will never consider what family or region one comes from nor whom one is married to when making appointments.
“I believe that a just society is not only one in which familial, regional, and marital ties do not qualify you for service, but also one in which those ties do not disqualify you for service.
“The only thing that counts is merit, but here I must hasten to add how merit is defined in our Tonse Philosophy, because for far too long, we have defined merit wrongly in this country. For far too long, we have reduced merit to academic credentials and social media populism, but I think it is now indisputable that we have many educated and popular people who are either untested or failures in political leadership,” Chakwera said.
Chakwera said he did a thorough background research on each cabinet minister appointee and each one has been appointed basing on their respective accomplishments and they will all be assessed so as not to abuse office by falling into the trap of conflict of interest and serving personal interests.
He further defended absence of people with disabilities in his Cabinet and the absence of a Ministry of Gender and Women, arguing he has named more women in Cabinet than any president in history.
The president says the ministry will be renamed and more women will be promoted to full ministers at the end of a five-month transition.
Turning to the cabinet ministers, Chakwera said each of them has five months to produce results that will give Malawians confidence that change has come.
Chakwera advised them to continue their good work that persuaded him to appoint them into the cabinet so that the ‘doubting Thomases’ should be proved wrong.
“As you already know, many Malawians are not as persuaded as I am that you are the right people for this job. The onus is on you to prove them wrong and to reaffirm me in my confidence that you have what it takes to deliver the Tonse Transformation that Malawians have long cried, prayed, and fought for.
“Should you prove the sceptics right by being lazy, abusive, wasteful, arrogant, extravagant, divisive, and corrupt, I will not hesitate to have you replaced. Contrary to public opinion, I am not beholden to any of you, nor do I have any of you to appease, for I owe both my election and allegiance to God and the Malawian people. May God’s Spirit rest upon you as you take your oath to serve them,” he said.
The cabinet raised questions on whether Tonse Alliance is ready for business unusual as per their promise considering that the cabinet has seen people from the same family making their into it, a tendency that also characterized the previous Democratic Progressive Party administration.
South Africa based Professor Danwood Chirwa, writing on his official facebook page, said the cabinet is uninspiring and does not reflect the will of Malawians who unanimously agreed to do away with politics of nepotism, regionalism and tribalism by ousting the DPP from the country’s leadership mantle.