Zimbabwe: Mnangagwa starts with cabinet that does not impress anyone, Drops Education Minister After Public Outcry

New president Emmerson Mnangagwa dropped his education minister, a day after reappointing him to a cabinet which gave top posts to senior military officials in what was widely seen as a reward for the army’s role in the removal of his predecessor, Comrade Robert Mugabe.

Mnangagwa was also forced to make other changes to the cabinet that his chief secretary Misheck Sibanda called “adjustments to ensure compliance with the Constitution and considerations of gender, demography and special needs”.

According to the Zimbabwean constitution, ministers and their deputies have to be members of parliament, except five who can be chosen for their professional skills and competence. Mnangagwa had named as ministers seven people, including Major-General Sibusiso Moyo as foreign minister and Marshall Perrance Shiri to the sensitive land portfolio, who are not lawmakers.

He replaced primary and higher education minister Lazaraus Dokora with his deputy Paul Mavima. Dokora’s reappointment had caused an outcry from Zimbabweans on social media and radio shows who slammed him for poor performance and undermining the country’s education system.

He also named ZANU-PF lawmaker Petronella Kagonye to the labor and social welfare portfolio, replacing university professor Clever Nyathi who was appointed special advisor in the president’s office on national peace and reconciliation.

Chris Mutsvanga, leader of the powerful war veterans’ association and who was named media, information and broadcast minister, has also been appointed special advisor to the president.

Sworn in as president last Friday after 93-year-old Robert Gabriel Mugabe quit in the wake of a de facto military coup, Mnangagwa’s cabinet drew criticisms from analysts and Zimbabweans who had expected a more broad-based lineup that marked a break from the Mugabe era.

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Hypocrisy: Chakwera, Entire MCP Against 50+1…’But we cannot say that in public; that can damage our reputation’

Chakwera: Not comfortable with 50+1

The opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) is not comfortable on the wholesale tabling of the electoral reforms Bills, Nation on Sunday has learnt.

Though leader of opposition Lazarus Chakwera threatened to boycott deliberations in the House if the reform Bills are not tabled, sources in the party said MCP is equally not comfortable with the 50+1 proposal.

“Our president promised PAC that he would push for these Bills, but for sure as a party we are also not ready for 50+1-It can also work to our disadvantage.

“But we cannot say that in public; that can damage our reputation as a party which believes in democracy and everyone is looking up to us for a better Malawi,” said the source who is a member of the MCP national executive committee.

DPP MEETS MCP LEADERSHIP ON REFORMS

Leader of opposition Lazarus Chakwera last Thursday met representatives of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP0 on the way forward on the Electoral Reforms Bills.

Chakwera according to sources, was accompanied by MCP chief whip Robin Lowe while the government side was represented by Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu and leader of the House Kondwani Nankhumwa.

Both Chakwera and Nankhumwa confirmed about the meeting to Nation on Sunday.

“During the meeting Chakwera asked government to present to Parliament lesser controversial bills, and delay the 50+1. The leader of opposition was clear that he is also not for 50+1, but cannot openly say so because he promised PAC that he will push for it. “said the source.

Two MCP MPs from Kasungu and two others from Lilongwe collaborated the matter.

 

 

Atupele says Malawi at critical stage, health services ‘under more strain’

Minister of Health and Population Atupele Muluzi has said is rising population in the country is placing intolerable pressures on public services, especially health. Muluzi made the remarks in Parliament on the impact of current population...

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Z Allan Ntata’s Uncommon Sense: WHY MUTHARIKA MUST RETIRE AND NOT RUN AGAIN

Malawi Minister Chaponda
George Chaponda

With unprecedented power blackouts and an economy so dreadful that no investors other than dubious Chinese gambling companies are interested in it, the failure and ineptitude of president Peter Mutharika as President has been harshly and unequivocally exposed.

Under President Peter Mutharika, the looting and corruption crisis we knew as cashgate has not been curbed but has escalated massively in the form of corrupt deals for a water project in Salima, corrupt maize purchase deals at Admarc, and corrupt deals at the ministry of health and the central medical stores just to mention a few.

We now have a government that is failing to raise wages for its workers, let alone find funds for other critical national infrastructure, like health care and education. Service delivery has totally collapsed. As of the main health referral centres, Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre and Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe, they are so unreliable that the prospect of being treated there is so frightening and no government official dares trust them when they need medical care. The governing party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has become so clueless that the only consistent elements about it are policy inconsistency and corruption.

Malawi could be the only country where in a time of peace and without any natural disaster of any kind, the official government economic thinkers can convince themselves and their president that the solution to an acute shortage of electricity is to employ the use of diesel powered generators leased at an exorbitant price from India!

I do not know what should frighten Malawians more- the fact that any one leader can prove to be so inept at leading the country and solving its relatively small and simple problems, or the fact that at the advanced age of 79, instead of simply admitting failure and retiring, he is refusing to throw in the towel and talking of contesting again in a presidential election.

Peter Mutharika
Malawi President Dr. Peter Mutharika:

What is president Peter Mutharika thinking as he embarks on this path? What is it that he plans to do in the next five years they he has failed to do in his first five years? Or does he just want the nation to see him bleed as the pressures of leadership continue to ride high and strong on his ageing body?

There is another, more important dimension to president Peter Mutharika’s intention to contest again that needs to be pointed out. It seems Mutharika has looked and analysed his cabinet and his party, and concluded that there is no-one in the party who can competently take over leadership when he retires. It suggests that when he looks at his “children”, Grandpa Mutharika sees no-one ready and capable of leaving the mantle to, and therefore has no choice but to press on himself even if the move is hazardous to his own health and peace of mind. What message is he giving out when he at the age of 79 must contest again in an election while his party has younger men like Joseph Mwanamveka, Kondwani Nankhumwa and Samuel Tembenu? There is even a very young and level-headed Vice President who is supposed to be next in line. Are Mutharika, and the DPP itself, telling us that none of these younger vibrant politicians are capable of leading that party or leading Malawi? What does that then say about the future of the DPP as a political party beyond Peter Mutharika?

Looking at his stunt this week of visiting the retired Honourable John Tembo, and adding on to that a study of some of the old politicians still hanging on to the political coattails, it has suddenly dawned upon me that politicians need to and must a have retirement age enforced by law.

It may come as a surprise to many to note that while every profession has a retirement age, it seems that one of the notable exceptions is politics. I believe that there is a reason for having retirement age in every profession. After a certain age one’s efficiency is considered to decline and it is time for him or her to retire from work and enjoy the remaining life in peace.

Retiring the older generation is also essential as young people need employment and one of the ways to provide for this is by filling in the vacancies vacated by the older people via retirement. Somehow though, when it comes to our presidency, there is no retirement. This is a very curious situation especially when you consider that the president is a civil servant and the civil servant retirement in Malawi in 60 years of age. Is it just double standards or a constitution written by old, power-hungry people that made this possible?

Perhaps I need to elaborate the point further for the purposes of clarity. We need young people to take up senior positions in political arena, which is only possible when elders leave active participation in politics. Politicians are also human beings, and after a certain age they are also prone to age related issues and thus for the same reason as there is a retirement age in other employment there should be one for politicians. Whilst senior politicians would have valuable knowledge and experience, generally they have a more conventional approach, which acts as a barrier to new thoughts and ideas. Ideally, the retirement age should be in line with retirement age set for other employment (age 60), and where a politician is considered as a valuable mentor he or she can be involved as a consultant but not push directly for power. Having a set retirement age for politicians would also ensure that a person knows that his reign of power would end at a definite point of time and he may have to answer for any misappropriation sooner rather than later.

Otherwise, it seems to me, we will continue to see spectacles of old people failing or refusing to initiate smooth power transitions, and I am especially concerned if we cannot convince ageing presidents to retire, we will continue to have undesirable state funerals which, as we noted in 2012, can be potentially dangerous to national peace as power plays are made even before the body is cold, and hamper the proper mourning of the deceased.

Perhaps what President Peter Mutharika has not been told and therefore doesn’t know – which is why he thinks Malawians still want him as leader – is that there is overwhelming convergence against his regime and his leadership.

Someone needs to tell the President that he needs to retire and not try to run again. This is the only honourable option for him. He has failed miserably to do anything of note in his term as president and I dare say that anyone encouraging Arthur Peter Mutharika to run for president again is simply licking his boots and afraid to tell him the truth.

Mutharika can rant and rave that he was elected in a free and fair election and therefore has a legitimate mandate to govern the country. The grim reality, however, is that, given his age and his decimal failure as president and leader, – from failing to implement any of the promises made in his party’s election manifesto to encouraging corruption buy shielding the corrupt and looking the other way as looters and fraudulent officials work hard at enriching themselves under his watch, it is his responsibility- no, his duty to retire honourably and set the stage for national economic and social recovery. For the sake of his legacy, he needs to send out a message that the country is more important than individuals.

If Mutharika truly loves this country, his retirement after this unremarkable and bungling first term will probably be the most effective demonstration of that love.

Allan Ntata
Z Allan Ntata

Malawi does not need more of the Mutharika incompetence.

Feedback: Zantata@Gmail.com

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Open letter to President to Peter Mutharika and the ruling DPP on the 13th December national wide demonstration

By Saunder Jumah

Mr. President! It seems you are out of touch with the situation and circumstances on the ground in Malawi.

Your actions indicate you are too much obsessed with power, beside being a well learned man you have failed to learn a lesson on how and why your predecessors lost elections in a distant past.

Founding president Kamuzu Banda lost elections in 1994 because he was obsessed with power, when the ‘voice of reason’ knocked on his door he defied and labeled many of them as dissidents who were after unseating him from the presidency, little did he know that his obsession could cost him power.

Referendum came he lost, at elections he lost too. The man you think is a political engineer Bakili Muluzi did the same trying to further and rule beyond the constitutional mandate for a third term; he was crushed down and failed.

Your own brother was stubborn over his own failure; when fuel became dry in the country he started lying about the Tete bridge in Mozambique instead of telling the truth that there was no money to pay for bulk fuel.

When citizens started voicing out he became obsessed with power to the extent you guys in DPP failing to reason with your brother of the truth on the ground.

Your nemesis that you hate so much to kill, Joyce Banda was cautioned and warned against globe trotting and lies over the selling of the presidential jet and limousines of state.

Her own lies started backfiring when citizens saw the sold “Rear Jet” being used by the same female president.

She defied the cries of citizens the end result was a disappointing third place elections results under Orange People’s Party.

You came in with a well documented and believed manifesto, with your education many believed and expected the best from you, to the extent the high court and MEC twisting results just to get rid of the lady president who had disappointed enough with Cash Gate and lies.

Though we are realizing late that the cash gate and state looting is your child (the Mutharikas) but she was punished for it. All these have not taught or rang any bell of lesson to you.

In less than one term of your presidency Malawi has been bankrupt, economy turning to junk status, democracy robbed and held hostage, the rule of law defiled and molested, state looting and cash gates graduated and promoted.

All these have been witnessed in three years of your presidency and DPP government.

You sweet mouthed when you was out of government but has become a nuisance in the government that you have messed up everything in the country.

Your tone has been to blame all the past four governments as if you are the best president and government. The fact remains you are the worst and destroyer of our Malawi nationhood.

Malawi engaged in looking at the fault lines from as far as 1995 to 2007 where consultation was conducted to streamline and smarten our constitution to meet the needs and aspirations of the better future.

You were one of the advocate of this initiative where on your own mouth you talked about trimming the powers of the president, reformation of the constitution from the present “the first past the post” to “the 50+1 system”.

We are questioning where you have lost it? Has state house become “marijuana house” where you smoke and forget or turn down your humanity? What exactly is wrong with you Mr. President?

On your consultation with PAC and GTF you agreed that the reforms on electoral process particularly the “50+1” will be tabled on the November parliament sitting.

From nowhere you have changed your tone; you are using looted state funds to lure some CSOs to crush down the intentions and wishes of all Malawians by deceiving rural citizens that the reform process has not been well versed to the general public, you are using traditional chiefs to fool the nation against the reforms so that your interests can be protected.

We know that you know with 50+1 you will not make it in 2019 but do it for the country.

Our warning comes on the wake of the call by PAC sanctioned by religious organizations which includes the most revered Catholic Church.

You may be a Christian who is not well conversed with past events. The date of 13th of December of the year 1307 has bad omen, if the march and demonstrations take place on this day you are doomed and bad lacked.

Your presidency will be tarnished with damaging repercussions because biblically you will be a cursed leader in government.

The timing of the men and women of God is very threatening if you cannot heed to their call.

*Views expressed in this article are those of the author (Saunder Jumah-Utopia Jumah Africa Think Tank) and not necessary of The Maravi Post.

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