Likiliki Chakwera: No Cabinet reshuffle tonight

Malawi President Chakwera and Vice President Chilima

President Lazarus Chakwera will not announce a cabinet reshuffle tonight, State House says.

Presidential Press Secretary Brian Banda, who promised Malawians on March 29 that there will be a cabinet reshuffle in 48 hours, has released a statement tonight saying the president had just received cabinet assessment reports from Vice President Saulos Chilima.

“Given that the reports are as substantial as the President’s review is thorough, the completion of the task will take a few more days longer than anticipated.

“Even so, the President is now fully seized of the matter and will release his Cabinet the instant he completes this sacred duty in a manner that conforms with the Constitution and ensures the best delivery of service to Malawians,” reads the statement in part.

Chakwera through Banda has asked for patience from Malawians and has appealed to citizens to trust that he will make a decision on which cabinet is right for Malawi.

Malawi currently has a 31-member cabinet which was announced in July last year. Chakwera said shortly after appointing the ministers that he had named a transitional cabinet which would be reviewed in the first quarter of 2021.

Reacting to Banda’s statement, social commentator Onjezani Kenani has noted that Chakwera and Chilima met on 19 February “to assess the cabinet” and even shared a photo from the meeting on Facebook.

He said: “Today, 31 March, State House has released an incoherent statement that makes a woeful attempt at explaining the failure to reshuffle the cabinet. I have read it three times, and have failed to understand the message it is trying to convey. It sounds as if the President is saying “Look, the delay to reshuffle the cabinet is not my fault, it’s the Vice President’s, he gave me his assessment too late”. Then what, in the name of all that is good, was it they were doing on 19 February, when they released a photo of them in suits, apparently assessing the cabinet?”