Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) yesterday met President Lazarus Chakwera over the appointment of a Cabinet that is perceived not to meet the principle of inclusivity which the Tonse Alliance sold to the electorate.
The coalition has since asked Chakwera to reconstitute his Cabinet to meet the aspirations of the people.
Speaking in an interview HRDC leader Gift Trapence said they engaged Chakwera in Lilongwe for an hour yesterday afternoon following concerns that the appointment of the new Cabinet smacked of nepotism and cronyism.
He said the rights body received a number of telephone calls from the public as well as some unnamed Tonse Alliance members advising them to intervene on the matter; hence, the decision to dialogue with the President.
Before engaging the President, the grouping held a media briefing in Lilongwe where they justified their need to meet Chakwera ‘so soon’ when the appointed Cabinet ministers had not yet been sworn in.
Said Trapence: “As HRDC we have been fighting nepotism. We went into streets to demonstrate against nepotism and corruption. We have decided to engage the President because we have received several calls from Malawians including fRom the Tonse Alliance…”
But he was silent on the action they would take if the President does not take heed of advice to reconstitute his Cabinet.
On their part, Non-Governmental Organisations Gender Coordination Network (NG0-GCN) chairperson Barbara Banda, Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) Gender Protocol Alliance/Femnet chairperson Emma Kaliya and Men for Gender Equality Now (Megen) chairperson Marcel Chisi, also faulted Chakwera for not appointing women to meet the promised 40 percent representation.
The three co-signed a statement, demanding that the President include more women and maintain the Ministry of Gender and appoint its minister.
The statement added, in part: “We hereby express our concern and disappointment over the omission or scrapping off of Ministry of Gender from the Cabinet portfolios that were presented to the public on Wednesday 8th July 2020. We are of the view that the name Gender needs to stand alone.”
According to them, the Gender Ministry is relevant because its existence would show highest political will towards the attention to women’s affairs, among others.
Meanwhile, the quasi-religious Public Affairs Committee says it plans to meet Chakwera on the concerns over the Cabinet and other previous governance and issues on fighting corruption.
PAC spokesperson he Reverend Gilford Matonga said it is important for the body to engage the President early in his presidency, to refine issues and commitments made before the June 23 election.