Appeasement or Merit-Malawians divided over Chakwera's cabinet

Sidik Mia

Malawians are expressing huge concern over President Lazarus Chakwera's cabinet appointments announced on July 8 with some arguing they are more aimed at appeasement than merit.

The bone of contention is a group of families from various districts and regions who have made it on the list. For example the President has picked the husband and wife pairing of Sidik and Abida Mia as ministers.

Sidik is also Vice President of the Malawi Congress Party and was hailed for having stepped aside to pave way for Vice President Saulos Chilima to be Chakwera's running mate. In the same cabinet Chakwera has also appointed Halima Daudi, a close relation of the Mias.

Abida Mia on the campaign trail
Abida Mia on the campaign trail

Chakwera has also appointed another family of the Kandodos. They are brother and sister Ken and Khumbize from Kasungu from the Kamuzu lineage.

Chakwera has also named Gospel Kazako as Minister of Information and his in-law Agness Nkusa Nkhoma as Ministers.

"We see this as sad and aimed at appeasing Kazako for the job well done during the campaign time at this time Malawians needed a cabinet to put Malawians ahead and remove them from their abject poverty. Its not time to appease people," said one MCP member.

Divided opinion

As the debate rages on two school of thought  have emerged with one saying the cabinet members fought for their right to be appointed as they were on the ground during campaign sacrificing their life and personal resources.

The Mia's, especially Abida was in the forefront during demonstrations which toppled the Peter Mutharika regime and she was the one 'guarding the votes in the Lower Shire' to ensure no rigging was done.

Kelvin Sulugwe, an influencer and political commentator under the banner Akometsi said on his Facebook page: "I think we should accept and later judge them by how they perform and not as a family."

Laywer and vocal critic of the Mutharika government Silvester Ayuba James could not resist but voice out his displeasure on Facebook saying: Tiyeni tidzigona basi guys. Nyimbo ndi yomwe ija, "Kwathu sipadziko". Nanga azibambo awiri a ma PhD kusankha nduna kuwapeta chonchi? [Let us just sleep guys. The song is the same 'This world is not our home' Imagine two men with PHD failing to choose ministers].

Another influencer Onjezani Kenani wrote: "I will not lie, I am greatly underwhelmed by the cabinet list. Perhaps our expectations were too high. Husband and wife and the wife's cousin all in one cabinet, really? Malawi wokomera tonse? Gospel Kazako, owner of Zodiak Broadcasting Station, Minister of Information.

"Granted he could make a show of "relinquishing" ownership, but, frankly, if ZBS were to flout regulations, would he close it? What, exactly, are the qualifications of Roy Kachale Banda, the Minister of Industry?

"I have not seen the Ministry of Gender or the word "gender" mentioned anywhere. Does gender equality rank among the priorities of the Tonse Alliance? Under which minister do water and irrigation fall? I haven't seen that anywhere. At least one DPP member has been included in the cabinet, so perhaps that is a plus, since this is a Malawi for all.

"I have congratulated my friend, Timothy Mtambo. He is capable of handling any ministry. But what is the civic education and national unity ministry exactly? Looks like tokenism to me."