The  Cabinet and Government Review 2023

….poor performance from all Ministers

….Ministries, Departments in fighting worsen

On the last day of 2023, we can declare another failed year for Malawians as Government services came to a grinding halt and only a few of the elected representatives worked for Malawians. Services in most public institutions stopped and the President and his Ministers were largely absent from explaining to the public what was going on and how the problems were going to be fixed.

Out of 25 Ministers, only six engaged the public and showed leadership when required, while the rest did not show initiative with most of the time, Ministers spending time to travel outside or for engagements to just deliver speech.

The Investigator Magazine analysts who looked at Ministerial diaries and engagement, found that there very few government led initiatives in 2023 and Ministers spent time on attending events by NGOs and other civic groups than delivering programmes.

The Public Service Reforms, initially championed by the Vice President Dr Saulos Chilima was all but on paper with most targets set for 2023 were thrown away as Capital Hill was almost bankrupt and spent time on the road, delivering nothing.

The assessment

The assessment looked at Leadership, Engagement and Delivery in terms of Ministers and impact on delivered programmes or none of it. We add to the Initiative and Crisis Management (including talking to the media and the public) on issues emerging or of public concerns. Each of the five points carry 2 points and a star. We found that only six Ministers managed 6 points out of 10 and three stars, others got five points whilst majority fall in the firing category.

Here is the assessment:

President Chakwera

Engagement: 0– only met Public Affairs Committee after prolonged requests and did not provide answers. He allowed Police Services to arrest perceived critics and demonstrators showing his intolerance to freedom of expression. Throughout the year he only attended choreographed press conferences or events where he was not asked critical questions.

Delivery               : 0- None of his promises at the start of the year were delivered and he opted for a blame game without offering alternatives solutions as Malawians became more poor and the food shortages continued. None of his foreign trips delivered direct benefit to the country, apart from appearances at a huge costs of K12 billion spent on his travels.

Initiative              : 0– The President lacked initiative to pursue any of failed government projects or performances, he did not act when his Ministers were caught in illegal deals like East Bridge with fake companies and overall he remained aloof to a myriad of scandals and open fights involving his Secretary to the President and Cabinet some of which were loudly condemned by the Church and Civic groups. As in other years, President Chakwera cannot act in cases many believe he is involved.

Crisis Management: 1 and 1 star– directly related to Cyclone Freddy, though late to react, he managed to put together Former Presidents Bakili Muluzi and Joyce Banda.

Vice President Chilima

·         Not assessed, he was out of delegated duties and stripped most of active portfolios.

·         However, it was noted he lacked initiative to speak up for suffering Malawians and excesses of his administration.

Mrs Vera Kantukule- Minister of Tourism

Leadership: 2 – Provided needed leadership raising the status of the Malawi Tourism Month and activities.

Engagement: 2– One of the most engaged Ministers in the year.

Delivery               : 1- Tourism marketing remained more traditional attendance to fairs than modern means of accessing travellers- digitally.

Initiative              : 2– Effectively used digital engagement and personal reach to many players in the sector, departing from a culture of Ministers who expect stakeholders to follow them.

Crisis Management: 0– Visa issues for Tourists and access to some tourism centres especially along the lake for Malawians remain an issue. Places like Vwaza Reserve and Mwabvi remain underutilised.

Mrs Khumbize Kandodo- Minister of Health

Leadership: 1 – Available to lead from front despite challenges like people complaining of poor hospital services and being charged by doctors to be operated on.

Engagement: 2–  The Minister remained engaged with the public and stakeholders beyond normal events inspiring partner confidence in the process.

Delivery               : 1- The hospitals remained open despite drug and staff shortages. They saved lives when required.

Initiative              : 1- She appeared to be leading at times to engage in challenges affecting hospitals though later she was very silent on some of the key issues affecting public health delivery.

Crisis Management: 1– Publicly admitted shortage of drugs levels at 30% providing accurate data and what Malawians should expect.

Mrs Nancy Tembo-Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation

Leadership: 1 – Lead well as Malawi top diplomat, but failed to solve the overcrowding in embassies and returning diplomats cases which remained unsolved over the years.

Engagement: 2– Continued to provide information to public and stakeholders.

Delivery               : 1- Managed to represent Malawi at key events but failed to deliver core goals of Malawi diplomacy, always attending events and having no impact on Malawi as a nation.

Initiative              : 1– The Minister was key in developing partnerships with others a core attribute for a diplomat which would be beneficial in long term

Crisis Management: 1- Though managed to lead Embassies from embarrassing episodes of delayed payments, she failed to advise the President to stop opening embassies as Malawi economy cannot support any more of them. Also failed to be consistent on Malawi position in Ukraine and Israel, leading to the country to be looked suspiciously by both sides of conflicts as opportunists.

Mr Sosten Gwengwe

Leadership: 1– Was an optimist and always on top of things despite having a weak support system. He failed to control political side of treasury, issuing sovereign guarantees like Christmas gifts to dubious characters.

Engagement: 2– Open and always available to public and stakeholders. He presented as an honest politician despite being asked to defend financially explosive projects.

Delivery               : 1- He laid strong ground to delivery of IMF ECF but failed to improve the economy.

Initiative              : 1- He became unpopular as he cancelled politically driven sovereign guarantees and stopped all payments. However, he lacked initiative to stop them before they happened.

Crisis Management: 1 – He led Treasury in one of the most turbulent seasons of Malawi economy but avoided total collapse. His challenge was playing smart not advising other politicians including the President to stop senseless travel and projects such as Salima Lilongwe Water project.

Mr Ken Zikhale Ng’oma

Leadership: 1 – Though sometimes comes across undiplomatic, he is one Minister that has been available in all sectors under his Ministry, trying hard to find solutions and paying attention to the public.

Engagement: 2– Continued engagement with media and public, explaining what is happening under his office

Delivery               : 1- He delivered on National IDs suspending them and also on security concerns that had engulfed the country.

Initiative              : 1– The Minister showed initiative to address security concerns but failed to tackle passports and a backlog of permits currently sitting idle in his in tray for months.

Crisis Management: 1– Managed to reassure the public on security concerns but failed to manage refugee relocation and passport issues affecting Malawians.

Mr. Ibrahim Matola- Minister of Energy

Leadership: 1 – From a crying minister to providing electricity and solving some of crucial issues in the sector. However, he was absent at times when his Ministry was fighting EGENCO and ESCOM to pursue selfish reasons. He needed to take charge of the events.

Engagement: 2– Engaged well at all times explaining to the public measures addressing various issues including fuel shortages.

Delivery               : 1- Delivered on electricity but failed on alternative energy.

Initiative              : 0– The Minister did not show any initiative to address individual challenges under his Ministry like MAREP (Non delivery of materials), EGENCO and ESCOM which were facing onslaught from the SPC.

Crisis Management: 1– He worked on safe areas and managed but left others.

Mr Moses Kunkuyu- Minister of Information and Communications Technology

Leadership: 1 –  He led the Ministry providing answers, though his biggest challenge was defending strange contracts such as Bridgin and East Bridge which were not in the best interests of Malawians.

Engagement: 2– The Minister engaged well with the public and did not sound rude or patronising as others before him.

Delivery               : 1- He delivered information, but failed to tackle MBC and MACRA under him which undermined the role of the Ministry in the sector.

Initiative              : 1– The Minister took initiative several times to reach out to the public and delivered some expected results for Malawians.

Crisis Management: 1 – During crises, fuel and cyclones, the Minister has done well to update Malawians. He also stood on the side of the public during the MARC-Multichoice stand-off.

Abida Mia- Minister of Water

5 out of 10, 2 stars out of 5

Deus Gumba- Minister of Lands

4 out of 10, 2 stars out of 5

Simplex Chithyola Banda- Minister of Finance

4 out of 10, 2 stars out of 5

Micheal Usi- Minister of Natural Resources and Climate Change

4 out of 10, 2 stars out of 5

Richard Chimwendo Banda- Minister of Local Government

4 out of 10, 2 stars out of 5

Uchizi Mkandawire- Minister of Youth

4 out of 10, 2 stars out of 5

Titus Mvalo- Minister of Justice 

Titus Mvalo- Minister of Justice : Achieved nothing, he failed to deliver and his office prosecuted government critics making Malawi look like a less democracy. He needs to be the political head defending Malawian freedoms. He has failed to inspire confidence in the justice system.

Jacob Hara- Minister of Transport: 

Jacob Hara- Minister of Transport: Achieved nothing, most of the roads remain undone including the M1 and Nyika Road. He has concentrated on Lilongwe alone. Lied to Malawians about Chinese K5 trillion project which is non-existent. Ministers who lie to the taxpayers should be fired.

Sam Kawale- Minister of Agriculture

Sam Kawale- Minister of Agriculture: Backed and lied about East Bridge while he was aware of their true status. His work in the Ministry has been chaotic and failed to deliver subsidy resulting not only in reduction of beneficiaries, but even the few failing to access the essential commodity. He lacks capacity to deliver as all his promised activities have failed in 2023.

Jean Sendeza – Minister of Gender

Jean Sendeza – Minister of Gender: The Minister engaged only in official events, failed to be the voice of young women facing violence or harassment. She appears only when there is a donor funded engagement. The Ministry needs an advocate type of politician.

Agness Nyalonje- Minister of Labour

Agness Nyalonje- Minister of Labour: The Minister was caught off guard over Israel contracts when Malawians already got a raw deal in Gulf countries. Shows up to official events and no initiative or leadership to address Malawi labour issues. Failing to engage with Unions on potential strikes planned in relation to cost of living.

Monica Chiyang’anamuno- Minister of Mining

Monica Chiyang’anamuno- Minister of Mining: The Minister has been silent on major mining contracts and only appears at events and thereafter disappears. The Ministry is a waste of resources.

Madalitso Kambauwa- Minister of Education

Madalitso Kambauwa- Minister of Education: She has failed to lead and provide answers to young people facing huge fees increases. Poverty in schools and drop out rates are set to increase and the Minister has been literally absent from engaging with parents and schools to cushion impact of fees increases.

Harry Mkandawire, Minister of Defence:

Harry Mkandawire, Minister of Defence: The Ministry that looks after  one department does not add value to the economy. Relocate Mkandawire to another Ministry abolish Defence Ministry is just a duplication of bureaucracy.

Deputy Ministers:

Fire the rest save for Halima Daudi for Health, relocate to her to a Ministry she can make more impact.

SPC Zamba needs to be relocated

Secretary to the President and Cabinet; Needs urgent relocation as she is suffocating many agencies through interference as observed by the Public Affairs Committee (PAC).

Judges of Appeal and the High Court: Life audit and audit for cases handled especially those suspected of delivering justice for cash. Malawians are losing trust in the judiciary.

Electoral Commission: Intensive civic education and awareness on the new electronic systems required to avoid last minute challenges and accusations of vote rigging.

Malawi Police Service: Take action on errant officers, starting with those that robbed refugees.

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