The iDigital Review of outgoing Cabinet

The President says he is considering a review of his Cabinet. Something  he says everytime his Ministers are caught doing something or some massive public policy faliures.

2022 there was very little output from the Cabinet and in real terms Malawi moved into deep poverty than previous years.

In short the President  and Cabinet failed to deliver. There is nothing worth to write home about. Here is our 2022 Cabinet Review and our suggestions for the next Cabinet if at all the President  wants to salvage his damaged reputation and avoid Malawi sinking deeper into chaos.

Overall Cabinet performance  was 3 out 10.

President Lazarus Chakwera- 2 out of 10.

He failed to implement any of his projects and his public admission that he didn’t know anything about arrest of Martha Chizuma damaged his Presidency. The fact that he did not release reports, fire the Director of Public Prosecutions, he failed in critical accountability test.

The economy went into deep crisis, the President  is yet to deliver a proper recovery plan. His suggested austerity measures were undermined by himself taking a total of 32 days of Foreign trips in the second  half of 2022. He has not reduced local travel as well.

The President has lost public trust as he has maintained all persons named in various scandals and he cannot seem to make a decision on anything.  He can only salvage his reputation by starting with right Cabinet, taking action on those named in corruption scandals and proposing a proper economic recovery plan. Otherwise 2023 could be a disaster with food shortages looming. First he should release the Commission of Inquiry Report into the arrest of Chizuma. That could save him a few points of trust with the public.

Ministry of Homeland Security Jean Sendeza: 1 out of 10.

The Malawi Police Service seemed busy with arrests of political critics than delivering security. Police spent more time on roads harassing motorists and fundraising while criminals broke into people’s homes and businesses. The Minister was invisible on security matters. Albino attacks resurfaced and she has been very quite about it.

The Ministrys other departments Prisons failed to provide food to inmates while Immigration Department tried to improve passport supply.

The borders remain porous and the death of Ethiopian migrants in a tanker shows how much corruption is taking place allowing everyone into Malawi for a penny. The Minister claimed she was not also aware of Martha Chizumas arrest, that gives her the worst ranking in the Cabinet.

Ministry of Land Resources, Housing and Urban Development Sam Kawale: 6 out 10.

Until the K750 million scandal at Agriculture, as a replacement of Kezzie Msukwa he started on a high note on land registration to give Malawians a chance to add value to their customary land. He took time to explain to all stakeholders the new land law and gave a fresh air onto the land matters which were riddled with corruption.

His move to Agriculture has not diminished his determination to give the public information even in difficult circumstances sorrounding the AIP programme and corruption that runs it.

He is one Minister President Chakwera needs to bring sanity to the Agriculture Ministry.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International,  Cooperation Nancy Tembo : 5 out of 10.

The Minister has maintained Malawis multilateral and bilateral relations, China did a debt relief and USA signed the MCA compact. The country’s visibility at international level was noted.

UK and China missions were on point in due diligence on fertliser companies despite authorities not paying attention to them.

Her biggest failure in the year is the embarrassing episode of Bridgin Foundation which her Ambassador at Brussels Naomi Ngwira engineered and backed. That was a bump on the work for Foreign Affairs.

Mrs Tembo can fit into any Ministry including that of Finance as during her first term as MP in 2009 she chaired the Budget and Finance Committee and she was no push over.

President Chakwera need to pay attention to this lady if he wants a brand of winning Ministers.

Ministry of Information and Digitalization Gospel Kazako : 3 out 10.

His biggest failure is the failure to operationalise  access to information and hiding information to public. He chooses who to answer if sent questions. He has failed to pick cholera as a pressing issue for 8 months.

The Minister has become what all Ministers of Information become- propagandists. He started well before he started churning selective truth. He failed to read social issues affecting Malawians and went to town after the signing of the fake US$6.9bn Bridgin Foundation  grant. In other part of his Ministry data and communications remained expensive and the Minister now seems to be delivering press briefings and statements in defence of mediocrity.

There is nothing to write home about digitisation of public services even the Ministrys website is outdated and some of its officials still use Gmail accounts for government business.

This is a Ministry that should be downgraded to a Department in OPC. No Minister needed.

Ministry of Local Government Blessings Chinsinga : 2 out 10,

The Minister has been busy with written policy documents than delivery of anything substantial.

The cities remain dirty and now two big cities under his two local authorities can’t open schools because of cholera. Markets, bus depots and other sanitary places are all breeding cholera. The Ministry has failed to whip local authorities to act and save lives. Professor Chisinga is best suited at academic institution not providing political visibility that a serious Ministry like local government  requires. Within the Malawi Congress Party realm, The President  should consider Ken Zikhale Ng’oma or promote Halima Daudi to the post. The two can rejuvenate the Councils into delivering.

Or Patricia Kaliati from UTM can make a huge difference. The Ministry requires an action oriented Minister.

Ministry of Defence Lazarus Chakwera : 5 out of 10. Nothing to write home about save the MDF continues to do well in its Foreign Mission and being non partisan.

His Deputy Harry Mkandawire has given the Ministry the visibility that it requires. He can be retained or promoted in a lean Cabinet.

Ministry of Education, Science and Technology Agness Nyalonje : 4 out of 10:  Good academic results but very poor on developing infrastructure  and systems. The Minister is stuck in higher education systems like University’s and Colleges but the basic education of primary and secondary seem to have lacked her presence and support. She rarely appears on their programmes.

If she pulls her socks, she could deliver better and more. The Ministry does not need a deputy. 

Ministry of Health Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda : 4 out of 10,

while succeeded in Covid 19 control, the Ministry and her team have failed in cholera whose outbreak was first reported in March 2022.

The Ministry seem to have failed to mobilise support and public information until now when over 600 lives have been lost. Medicines or their unavailability in public hospitals continued. The challenges at Lilongwes Bwaila Hospital less 5km from her office at Capital Hill shows how detached the Ministry of Health is from its structures that deliver services.

Despite her faliures over Cholera, Khumbize Kandodo should be retained based on her experience so far and she could deliver with a President  who is also in touch with what the people needs her.

Ministry of Labour Vera Kamtukule- 3 out of 10,

The Labour Market failed to actively deliver any meaningful contribution to the ailing economy. Lots of foreigners continued to work in Malawi jobs that Malawians can do. The Minister provided formal visibility to the Labour events but did not deliver any programmes outside the designated event

The Minister can be better suited at the Ministry of Youth and Sports, and should be maintained.

The Department of Labour should be emerged with a Ministry of Homeland Affairs to ensure Work Permits are not issued for jobs Malawians can do.

Ministry of Natural Resources Eisenhower Mkaka ; 2 out 10, The Ministers public image has been affected by the issues sorrounding investigations into Zuneth Sattar gift of vehicles. Apart from appearance at COP meeting in Cairo, very little has come out of this critical Ministry in terms of climate change and management of natural resources. Raiply which has failed to replant Chikangawa has been given Zomba as well to the suprise of many.

The Minister should be moved out of Cabinet until his name is cleared and may be he can focus on MCP duties for now.

Ministry of Gender, Social Welfare Patricia Kaliati- 5 out of 10, the Minister provided the voice and visibility to the Ministry, consistent in defending the women and vulnerable groups and programmes that make a difference in community.

The Minister could have scored more but she has been less eloquent on social welfare bill that she has failed to push in Parliament that could impact on social work and protection among those that access social services. She needs to have the bill delivered.

Ministry of Youth and Sports Richard Chimwendo Banda: 5 out of 10; 

He delivered the Region 5 AU games and he has since his appointment  provided political visibility to the youth portifolio.

Though the Ministry does not have any empowerment  programmes for youth to transform their lives economically, the Ministry continues to deliver some donor supported programmes in other areas of youth participation.

The Minister can be suited at any Ministry in a lean Cabinet.

Ministry of Agriculture Lobin Lowe MP;

1 out 10: He worked hard to deliver but his failure to be on top of things for AIP erased all his good work. A lesson to other Ministers  to pay attention to what technocrats are doing to break public laws.

Ministry of Trade and Industry Mark Katsonga

1 out of 10; No investor worth a name has come to Malawi, he failed to provide leadership to deliver industrialisation and he went into hiding when companies were closing down. He has been a very absent Minister at the time the Ministry should be in front finding solutions to boost trade and investment.

The Minister should be fired.

Ministry of Transport Jacob Hara- 3 out of 10:

He came at time and riddled himself in China Mota engil turf war..Promised  to deliver new Lilongwe Mzuzu Road and many others.

The roads are bad, rains are washing away the fake tarmacs contractors have been constructing and the Minister is quite.

He seems contented to inspect and see a few places that he is to provide leadership to ensure public finances are secured.

The Minister can be fired or tried  in another Ministry. No impact at Transport. No need.for a deputy.

Ministry of Finance and Economic Development Sosten Gwengwe- 4 out 10.

The Ministry failed to secure an IMF agreement  and his biggest faliures were releasing payments for K750 million for Agriculture which his Secretary admitted to have been sleeping on the job.

The Ministry  also announced deal with Khatos Qauay company which had not capacity and almost gave sovereign guarantee to a non entity Auzano. 

Gwengwe might be too diplomatic and lacking political muscle like Goodall Gondwe or Aleke Banda was as Minister of Finance. 

The Ministry is failing to develop a proper economic  recovery plan for a short term to put Malawi economy back on track.

In short the Ministry of Finance has failed to provide direction on the economy or provide hope that it has ideas to improve the situation which includes spiliring cost of living.

Though Gwengwe should be retained in Cabinet, the Ministry of Finance needs someone with clout and is able to withstand from political  pressure. He surely signed off crazy things including Bridgin Foundation.

Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Titus Mvalo : 2 out 10. He can’t bring discipline to the Ministry and he was caught on crossfire of DPP vs ACB. He lost when he admitted ignorance of what was happening.

Mvalo should be fired.

Ministry  of Water: Abida Mia- 3 out 10.

Water taps are drying and cholera shows how much sanitation especially water is the country  exposed  to.

Fire the Minister and emerge it to Agriculture  or Natural Resources.

Minister of National Unity; Timothy Mtambo;

1 out of 10: The Ministry with no relevance to the current national economic climate.

Nothing to write about this Ministry.

Close it down, fire the Minister. He can do public lectures  at his own cost.

Minister of Tourism and Culture: Micheal Usi: 7 out 10. He delivered on visa removal for high spending countries. This will boost tourism and compete in the region where Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe are way ahead.

He has been visible both in Tourism and culture and appeared focused to change Malawis Tourism sector.

Give Usi Trade, Tourism and Industry. We could have new thinking and some progress.

Minister of Mining: Albert Mbawala; 5 out 10

He has made progress on policy framework and potential national mining company..He needs to work more on delivering  security for Malawi resources and a provide proper structure for locals to venture into mining and sale them at proper markets than current rip off.

Mbawala should be retained and added with the Ministry of Natural Resources.

Minister of Energy: Ibrahim Matola, 3 out of 10.

His Ministry failed to deliver and was riddled with scandals from NOCMA, MERA and ESCOM and EGENCO.

As seen in the case of NOCMA the Minister  has no political  clout as the SPC Coleen Zamba is calling the shots.

The Ministry can be combined with something  and Matola since he comes from an alliance partner he can be relocated to another Ministry.

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