Joyce Banda and Abidah Mia

By Kelvin Sulugwe and Nellie Joseph

First and foremost, on behalf of all Akometsi, the Landlords of Facebook and opinion influencers, I take the opportunity to congratulate anyone appointed to the various ministerial positions as announced by government. May you serve the interests of Malawians and advance the Tonse Philosophy.

It is hard to please anyone and I know most of you are not comfortable with the inclusion of both Hon. Sidik Mia and his wife Hon. Abida Mia. Without playing down your noble observations, I still think we should accept them and later judge them by how they perform, not as a family.

Sidik Mia is a man who sacrificed his political interests to accommodate and pave way for Tonse Alliance to happen. He was not selfish. He showed real transformation and leadership.

On top, he is a Vice President of Malawi Congress Party and his appointment is well well understood, at least by me and those who share my sentiments.

Going further, Abida Mia is the same woman who fight side by side with people during those difficult demonstrations when most of you feared the streets.

She was there and supported everyone who went to the streets to demand justice. She is one of the few women in the Tonse Alliance that did everything in her power to see to it that alliance succeeds. Some of you might not know her influence, but I do.

I remember on the voting day when most of you were at the comfort of your homes, she was on the ground with a security team in the Lower Shire guarding the votes.

There was an incident someone reported to me, when I inquired the people in the Lower Shire, her name came first, I called her and alerted her. She acted like a man and attended to all security alerts in the lower Shire. She was that instrumental.

On top, you need to understand, some of the people on the cabinet list are not Members of Parliament. What this means is that when they go to parliament, they can only speak when given reports or answering questions about their respective ministries. They cannot debate or vote on anything. Pay attention to the political side of this.

Despite their limited contribution to parliament, these people will occupy front seats, pushing actual members of parliament further to the back seats.

There is a reason president prefers Members of Parliament (MPs) to be ministers than those who are not. The front seat should give all the powers it can in parliament.

Mia during the campaign period

Abida Mia is a member of parliament and on top, she has been chosen Minister. Its good politically and if you do not understand this then take time to understand parliament politics.

And this is a woman who has an independent political career, why should we hinder her progress? There was Bill Clinton in America who did politics side by side with his wife Hilary Clinton. We should not victimize one person for the sake of the other.

This woman is fire. I remember she once gave Michael Usi a very tough time during debate in Blantyre. Thats how fired up she is when in a fight. We need such fired up and down to earth women to contribute at such a level especially on political arena. Family or not, she is qualified just like anyone else.

Anyway, I do not have more to say today. We will continue to speak as time goes. Special congrats to the following friends for making it:

1.Eisenhower Mkaka
2.Timothy Pagonachi Simbega Mtambo
3.Ulemu Msungama

The young generation is behind you and we are grateful to the president for your inclusion. Its a good start for youth inclusion in higher positions. Do not let us down. Malawi has her eyes on you.

For the rest, I trust our president, I will trust his appointment and give him my full support. I won’t always agree with his decisions, but I will support them. He may see what some of us do not see because he knows all these people than we do. We know him as visionary and full of wisdom. That will do for me.

Briefly this is the rational of the new cabinet:

  1. Alliance; In this all party leaders submitted names, Saulos Chilima, Joyce Banda and Khumbo Kachali.
  2. All party vice presidents of the three main parties, Sidik Mia, Dr Usi, Roy Kachale fall in this category
  3. 40 percent women from parties. Abidia Mia, Nancy Tembo, Nyalonje, Jean Sendeza, Kanyaso, Kweni, Vera, Halima etc fall in this category
  4. Regional balance; Kambalas, Msukwa, again Usi, Kachale and Kambauwas fall in this category
  5. Technocrats: Mlusu, Mvalo, Vera etc fall in this one
  6. Party pillars- Mkaka, Kweni etc are here
  7. Popular mandates; Mtambo fits here
  8. Ardent loyalists; Belekanyama, Lowe, Ulemu and Mkaka fit the bill.
    So many considerations for the new President. For sure cabinet drives policy but leadership rests with presidency. Chakwera will lead his cabinet to produce or fail Malawians.

Listen, most of us professionals have extremely high expectations of this new government.

We like to contribute from the comfort of our homes, behind our company bought smartphones.

We never get dirty at all. If we get dirty, its just one unsavory comment on our walls.

And yet we expect that when the time comes, the people who worked hard, risked everything will be forgotten. And you, or your learned friend will be considered instead.Politics is dirty. Very dirty.

Contributing to change goes more than a facebook rant. It involves sacrifice of time, money, energy and sometimes family.

People give up important aspects of their lives whilst you and i proudly watch the rallies and say, “i am watching from Addis.”

We all had no problems when Mrs Mia and her husband where campaigning.

Now we have problems with them both being trusted with portfolios. We all had no problems when people lost jobs and opportunities for merely associating with the opposition.

Next time time you want a different cabinet, ask the people you want to get dirty and work so they can be trusted with greater things.

This is your Cabinet, take it or leave it.

Give him and cabinet a chance

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