President Lazarus Chakwera has drafted two new faces into his Cabinet, bringing on board University of Malawi (Unima) academic Blessings Chinsinga and Mzimba Solola legislator Jacob Hara.
Chinsinga, a professor of political since specialising in public policy analysis, institutions and development administration, is Minister of Local Government, according to a statement signed by Secretary to the President and Cabinet Zanga-Zanga Chikhosi.
Hara, on the other hand, is Minister of Transport and Public Works.
The two ministerial positions fell vacant on January 12 2021 following deaths of Mohammed Sidik Mia who held the Transport and Public Works portifolio and Lingson Belekanyama who headed Local Government.
The two appointments mean that Chakwera still has two yawning gaps in his Cabinet at Energy where he sacked Newton Kambala as well as at Labour where he fired Ken Kandodo.
Before his appointment, Chinsinga worked in the Department of Political and Administrative Studies at Unima. He joined the university in March 1996 as a Staff Associate and rose to the rank of Professor.
Hara was first elected as member of Parliament for Mzimba Solola in the May 2014 Tripartite Elections. He retained the seat in the May 2019 Tripartite Elections.
A civil engineer, Hara is a commissioner of the Parliamentary Service Commission as well as a member of the Industry, Trade and Tourism Committee of Parliament. Under Parliamentary Standing Orders, he will automatically relinquish the two positions following his appointment as minister.
In an interview, Hara, who is also an elder at Assemblies of God’s Glorious Temple in Area 47, Lilongwe, said he accepted his appointment and would give a detailed response after reporting for work.
Reacting to his appointment last evening, Chinsinga said he accepted the position and will work with the team on priority areas.
He said: “I accept the position. I will first have to see what is there and work with colleagues in the ministry to set what would be priority areas that need urgent attention.”
Chakwera has come under criticism for taking long to fill vacancies in his Cabinet.
The President was also faulted for not fulfilling his promise to review the composition of his Cabinet by December last year. His promise followed criticism from civil society and analysts , including gender activists, who said his maiden Cabinet did not meet the 40- 60 representation of either gender in public appointments