Chimunthu Banda Turns Down Ministerial Appointment
Only hours after President Peter Mutharika unveiled his new cabinet of 32 members, one senior appointee, former Speaker of Parliament Henry Chimunthu-Banda has turned down the appointment.
Chimunthu-Banda told Zodiak Online in an exclusive interview Friday that while he would not give reasons for turning down the offer, there were also communication flaws with how it was announced.
“They never informed me. Probably if I had that prior information, I could have expressed my views at that point. But I wasn’t informed (in advance),” Chimunthu-Banda said to Zodiak Online.
He said he has since written President Peter Mutharika through the office of President and Cabinet, “to thank them for the consideration but that I am not taking up the offer.
“The appointment is a matter of state and that is where I have directed my information to,” he said.
He said, however, he remains a member of the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
Chimunthu-Banda, who was appointed as minister of Natural Resources and Mines, becomes the third Malawi to turn down a ministerial post after Sam Mpasu and former vice president Cassim Chilumpha.
After serving office as Speaker of Parliament, Chimunthu-Banda tried his lack to take over leadership of the DPP but was defeated at a Blantyre party convention that elected President Mutharika instead.
And after a term in recess, Chimunthu-Banda bounced back into Parliament as parliamentarian for Nkhotakota North.
Some observers say what has happened is embarrassing coming at a time the DPP must be concerned about its image how it is perceived in the public domain.
“How do you appoint someone into cabinet as full minister without their knowing and indicating interest? This speaks volumes about management of government. This fiasco could have been avoided.
“It is embarrassing whatever the reasons for his turning it down. The world has more coivilised ways of doing these things,” said an expert in diplomacy.
The new cabinet has generally been described as bloated with seven women (three full ministers) and no youth (aged below 35).