Cabinet Given Five-Months’ Probation; 'Perform or Go' - President Chakwera
President Lazarus Chakwera has given members of his transitional cabinet first cabinet five months to prove their worth or face the boot when he next shortlists for public interviews for appointment of his next cabinet at the start of next year.
For the first time in the history of this country, a president has indicated he would review a cabinet after which members will be hired for a period of one year.
President Chakwera says the ministers will have to personally make public what they will have achieved after five months against indicators that he shall be given.
The president was blunt that his choice of each of the ministers and deputy ministers in his transitional cabinet is to lay groundwork for a Tonse approach to managing government affairs.
“The ministries you have been assigned to are in a mess, characterized by wanton wastage of resources, greedy monopoly in the awarding of contracts, incompetence in the standard of work,and multiple systemic inefficiencies.
“You each have five months to produce results that will give Malawians confidence that change has come. At the end of that period, you will each give a report to Malawians publicly on your progress in each of the key performance indicators that I will give you,” Chakwera said indicating that at the start of year 2021, he shall “shortlist those...whose performance I find satisfactory” for inclusion among those who shall be publicly interviewed for a year-long appointment in his next cabinet.
Observing that “many Malawians are not as persuaded” about the composition of the cabinet as he is, Chakwera told the ministers and deputy ministers that the onus was on them to prove critics wrong.
“Should you prove the sceptics right by being lazy, abusive, wasteful, arrogant, extravagant, divisive, and corrupt, I will not hesitate to have you replaced. Contrary to public opinion, I am not beholden to any of you, nor do I have any of you to appease,” he said.
Responding to criticism that he has appointed members of the same family and others from one region, Chakwera said, in his reign he would never make appointments with regional considerations.
“The only thing that counts is merit, but here I must hasten to add how merit is defined in our Tonse Philosophy, because for far too long, we have defined merit wrongly in this country. For far too long, we have reduced merit to academic credentials and social media populism…That responsibility should only be offered to someone on merit,” he said.
Chakwera, has also earned himself praise for acknowledging a technical anomaly in the appointment of Dr. George Kainja as Inspector General of the Malawi Police Service, rescinding the decision publicly for all required processes to take pace first.
Chakwera has also directed his Chief Secretary Zanga-zanga Chikhosi to rename one ministry to reflect his commitment to gender equality and pledged to increase the number of full women cabinet minister when he restructures “my administration” after the five months of transition in response to an existing outcry.