President of Malawi, Lazarus Chakwera, has maintained his cabinet despite criticism over the inclusion of a husband and wife as well as two siblings in the 31-member cabinet.
After the cabinet was announced on Wednesday, Malawians condemned the inclusion of husband and wife – Sidik Mia and Abida Mia – as well as siblings Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda and Ken Kandodo in the cabinet.
There were also concerns that most of the appointees come from the Central Region.
Speaking today, Chakwera said he did not consider what family or region one comes from nor whom one is married to.
According to Chakwera, he believes that a just society is not only one in which familial, regional, and marital ties do not qualify you for service, but also one in which those ties do not disqualify you for service.
“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, but I think it is now indisputable that we have many educated and popular people who are either untested or failures in political leadership,” he said.
Chakwera added that merit to him means a proven track record to lead people effectively in producing results in the face of formidable odds and political complexities.
“There is no one on this Cabinet who does not pass that test,” said Chakwera.
He further said that there are many people who qualify but the appointees have been chosen because their combination is a representation of the strategic strengths of the member parties of the Tonse Alliance, of which they were instrumental architects and which the Malawian people voted for.
Chakwera was appointed president in the Fresh Presidential Elections in which he represented the Tonse Alliance which is a coalition of nine political parties.