President Peter Mutharika has told newly-elected Cabinet ministers to be results-oriented and aim to provide solutions to the country’s problems than waiting to go on international trips and amass allowances.
Speaking after the swearing-in ceremony of 22 out of the 24 Cabinet ministers, Mutharika said it is high time that ministers served the country and provide solutions to local challenges; hence, ordering that they should not take more than three trips a year.
He said: “I would like to tell you that you are here to serve the country, you should work to provide solutions to the problems and not just responding. Refrain from useless international conferences which will yield the country nothing. That is not your job! Your job is to serve the country,”
“You will have to at least travel three times a year, whether it’s fully funded or not, but I expect you to deliver. On top of that I expect a two-paged monthly report from each one of you five days after the end of each month, we must find new ways of doing things, change must begin with us.”
Mutharika, who said he has maintained his promise of keeping a lean Cabinet, told the new ministers that they are all the same and that no ministry is greater than the other, hence they should treat each other equally regardless of how they appear on the ministerial list.
But while welcoming the idea of restricting international trips, Chancellor College-based political analyst Ernest Thindwa said in a telephone interview there is need for the presidency to introduce measures to track performance.
Said Thindwa: “It’s a good starting point, but still we need action. Similar sentiments have been said before, but there was no enforcement. The best is for the President to set targets for each minister for a year to report to the country and nation quarterly. We need the deliverables on targets. If one is not delivering, he/she should be removed.”
In his new Cabinet, Mutharika has maintained eight ministers from the previous Cabinet while bringing in new blood like Zomba Chisi MP Mark Botomani, who is heading the Ministry of Information, Civic Education and Communications Technology.
Botomani has since said he will strive to improve communication in the country, stressing the need for working collaboration with media houses for fair and balanced news reporting.
“It is my wish that we work with the media in an open environment and I will ensure that there is free media which will give balanced and fair coverage despite of who is being covered,” he said.
Another newcomer in the Cabinet is Lilongwe Msinja North MP Bintony Kutsaira, who is now Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, promised to change the mining sector in the country.
“We have been told to be problem solvers and not just responding, so I will make sure that we solve the problems,” he said.