Professor Wiseman Chijere Chirwa, a social commentator based at University of Malawiâ€™s Chancellor College in Zomba, says President Joyce Banda should trim her Cabinet and appoint a technocratic crisis management team.
In a written response to a questionnaire, Chijere Chirwa said currently, Malawians are not happy with the state of affairs as evidenced by strikes, rising crime rate, the public anger and prevailing frustration; hence, a crisis Cabinet is needed to steer the country to economic recovery.
He said it is surprising that although it was obvious that there was need to devalue the local currency, the countryâ€™s leadership did not put in place concrete mitigation mechanisms to ease the hardships people are facing now.
Chijere Chirwa also joined the Public Affairs Committee (PAC) in snubbing calls for Bandaâ€™s government to step down, saying there is still room for improvement.
He said: â€œMy suggestion would be that the country is probably better off with a more technocratic â€˜crisis management Cabinetâ€™ rather than the â€˜reconciliatoryâ€™ one we have at the moment.
â€œWe need a clear vision, clear direction, and concrete solutions. The statement that came from the Mangochi retreat is good, but it does not give adequate information on its operational/implementation modalities.â€
Heed the advice
Chirwa said the President needs to listen to advice from her team, including avoiding repeating mistakes made by her predecessor, the late president Bingu wa Mutharika.
â€œFailure to take advice and to respect the popular voices earned him [Mutharika] a bad reputation and even worse, plunged the country into a mess. The first step should have been to reduce the size of the Cabinet itself. If I were the appointing authority, I would limit it to not more than 22,â€ he said.
Minister of Finance Dr Ken Lipenga said on Wednesday the President and government are aware that some people have been greatly affected by the economic reforms.
However, Lipenga said much of what the Banda administration is implementing reflects the general views obtained during the budget formulation consultation process his ministry undertook before coming up with the 2012/13 national budget.
The minister, who is also the director of economic affairs in the ruling Peopleâ€™s Party, said the measures taken by government are necessary and that the adjustments would take some time to yield positive results.
â€œIt is surprising that people who are experts expect these reforms to yield in a very short period of time,â€ he said.
Last week, Consumers Association of Malawi executive director John Kapito said the Banda administration has failed to defend Malawians from the economic and social challenges that have followed the 49 percent devaluation of the local currency and its flotation.
But PAC publicity secretary the Reverend Maurice Munthali said although it appreciates the economic hardships that Malawians are going through, it was premature to call for the resignation of Bandaâ€™s government.Â