The opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmaker for Chikwawa Owen Chomanika who surprisingly has made it into President Chakwera’s cabinet says is yet to think whether to accept or deny the appointment as Deputy Minister of Local government. In an interview and signaling that he was not consulted before the appointment, Chomanika said was encouraged that President Chakwera has seen potential in him to help push the country’s development agenda forward despite being from the opposition bench.
“Don’t ask me whether I accept the appointment or not. I am yet to sit down and consider it,” said Chomanika adding that he only learned about the appointment via social media.
The Malawi leader in this year’s reshuffle has fired eight ministers according to a statement from the Office of the President and Cabinet. Chakwera reduced ministerial posts from 30 to 25, including deputy ministers, and removed ministerial portfolios for himself and Deputy Saulos Chilima.
“The appointments are with effect from 31st January 2023,” said Colleen Zamba, secretary to the president and Cabinet.
Among those sacked were Information Minister Gospel Kazako, Local Government Minister Blessings Chinsinga, Community Development and Social Welfare Minister Patricia Kaliati and ruling Malawi Congress Party’s Secretary General Eisenhower Mkaka, who was Environment Minister.
Political commentators and experts praised Chakwera for reducing the Cabinet.
“The new Cabinet has reduced by 13% and 40% are women which shows that some progress is being made to have a small Cabinet that is fairly represented,” said Humphrey Mvula, a government commentator.
On his part, Human Rights and Rehabilitation executive director Michael Kaiyatsa said Chakwera needs to continue to implement austerity measures to save resources.
“I call for a reduction in travels by the President, ministers and other government officials but also a reduction of benefits for Cabinet ministers,” said Kaiyatsa.