You are becoming silent on national issues. What is going on?
I think you are not right when you say I have been quiet. I have spoken on several issues, including the need for Her Excellency President Joyce Banda to take an inclusive approach as she is building our nation, and already you have seen the composition of the new Cabinet. In conjunction with my colleagues, we have spoken on the need for the Millennium Challenge Corporation grant to be released to the new government and on many other issues.
Second, we all know we have a new President who is open, willing to engage and is responding to national issues very well at the moment. So, why should we take a confrontational approach like we used to do with the previous regime which never wanted to listen to anybody and anything? Let us give the new President and her government a chance to focus on current national challenges rather than saying anything when it is not new.
What is your comment on the Cabinet appointments?
I sincerely applaud President for coming up with a broad-based Cabinet. Yes, I might not agree entirely on the composition, but let us give the Cabinet a chance to deliver. I always do not undermine anybody in my life.
When the President picked these ministers, she knew very well about the expectation of Malawians. She needs ministers who can help her meet Malawiansâ€™ expectations.Â If the ministers are not going to deliver, definitely, they know what Malawians will demand from them.
Luckily, I have many friends in the new Cabinet and I have already talked to some of them on the challenges ahead and on the importance of being focused and principled in order to meet peopleâ€™s expectations.
This is the first ever inclusive Cabinet in Malawi. Is this the right decision?
I think she made the right decision. As you know, her party [Peopleâ€™s Party] does not have MPs in Parliament. Therefore, it was important to have an inclusive government so that it becomes easier to discuss issues in Parliament for the benefit of the nation.
I donâ€™t think it is a strategy to kill the opposition because, whatever the case, we will have elections in 2014 and these will be multiparty elections which will include even those political parties in this broad-based government.
All in all, the new government inherited numerous problems which need collective responsibility in dealing with them and the first right move was to have an inclusive or broad-based government.
Do you see the Cabinet delivering with so many new faces?
As I said, let us not undermine the new Cabinet. Yes, many new faces, but I am sure they are capable and have the capacity to deliver. Being new in Cabinet will not prevent someone from delivering.
You have always advocated for a lean Cabinet. How do you look at this one?
Of course, the size of the new Cabinet is a concern, but I am sure other factors influenced the President [to make that decision].Â But my view is with the background of where we are coming from, let us look at the performance of Cabinet at the moment.
There are some changes in some ministries; others have been split into two. Is this okey?
I have no problem with that as long as the split will add value to our efforts on national unity and development.
What are your expectations from the Cabinet?
I would like to urge all members of the Cabinet to abide by the code of ethics so that they perform their duties diligently. They should fulfil their obligations and should not use their positions of influence to mislead the President or Parliament by enacting laws that undermine democratic values and principles.
The people are watching with much expectation and they want a Cabinet that can deliver and not a Cabinet which will spend its time politicking and misinforming the President. Times for politicking on government matters must end.
There was a sour relationship between the previous government and civil society organisations. What do you expect from the new government?
Our expectation is that we will have more engagement with the new government which was missing during the previous administration. Already, when we met the President. We emphasised on the need for government and CSOs [to work together].
Any last words?
It is our hope that the President and her newly appointed Cabinet will uphold, defend and respect the supremacy of Malawiâ€™s Republican Constitution as they discharge their duties. This will be exemplified by constant and objective interface with all stakeholders with the aim of promoting democratic governance and economic development in Malawi.