July 22 2020
It is evident that some of the ministers in President Lazarus Chakwera’s government have gone full throttle to establish their authority using the power endowed them into the Cabinet.
We have seen his Vice-President Saluos Chilima going the length and breadth in bringing to life the public sector reforms portfolio he heads. Not so long ago, the Veep has shaken affairs in statutory corporations, asking them to submit reports on their performance and if they find themselves wanting, they have to give themselves a boot.
That is a necessary word, when nearly all the public institutions have been deemed none performers and cash cows for the ruling elite and their cronies. It is yet to be seen when the said reports will be in Chilima’s in-tray.
And, by the way, Chilima also gave a tough word to the public broadcaster Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) that time was ripe they stopped operating like a sub-branch of the ruling party or entities. Chilima, just like Chakwera, were victims of the propaganda propelled at the national broadcaster and that too must be an area to watch if at all that will be brought to fruition.
Information minister Gospel Kazako has not been sitting idle as well. He has been to town at MBC, saying employment at MBC, the Malawi Posts Corporation (MPC) and Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) should be on merit, not as a payback to political underdogs who spend time at the regulator’s offices propelling hate speech on Facebook and other social media platforms.
You would think that was the good news. Kazako had better news. He wondered how Macra could blow K1 billion in a month. Hey! Kazako put it in the layman’s parlance, that the amount is worth over 10 000 maize mills and over 100 oxcarts for each villager.
But then, that was not the best news Kazako brought. He wondered why our data rates are far beyond the rich of every one of us. He wondered why the data expires and why the service providers can’t bring it to the rates in the region. Necessary talk, that awaits action.
Then, Homeland Security don Richard Chimwendo Banda was at the Salima Sugar Factory. There, the Dowa East parliamentarian and Leader of the House in Parliament tackled the issues of Indian workers with no work permits, doing jobs that Malawians could ably do.
Well, one can go on and talk about how gender and community development minister Patricia Kaliati went to town about how some investors were physically, economically and sexually abusing indigenous workers. Yes, I could go on about how Khumbize Chiponda was getting to terms with her endowment as Minister of Health and her role as co-chair of the Committee on Covid-19.
Of course, I could roll on how Minister of Lands Kezzie Msukwa and his deputy Abidda Mia were trying to explore the gaps in their ministry, given the rot in land deals that led to the sale of a primary school land to an investor. Yes, I could go and see how Ken Kandodo and his deputy Vera Kamtukule told the rest of us they were on top of things on how one million jobs will be created as per the campaign promises.
Well, Michael Usi was also in town, bringing out how dissatisfied he was with works at the once famous entertainment haven, the Blantyre Cultural Centre (BCC) was still in a more dilapidated state than it was when it changed from the French Cultural Centre (FCC). That is in spite of the many budgetary allocations to make BCC for the various rights holder associations in the Mother Republic. And for one, we hope it is under his tenure that we will see the introduction of an Arts Council with years gone since the transformation of the National Arts Policy into an Act.
One could go on and on, but this is not a Cabinet diary of events.
It is the hope of every Malawian that this set of Cabinet ministers is not just engaging in those familiarisation sommersaults ministers engage in once they are appointed. It is our hope that they will all work to move and act on all the rot they find, and act on it for the benefit of the Malawian on the street.
We hope this crop of ministers will go beyond the fashion show that familiarisation tours really are.