The State House says Malawians are free to express their expectations for the next Cabinet but, at the end of the day, President Joyce Banda “is not accountable to anyone” on such appointments.
Presidential press secretary Steven Nhlane was responding to a question from The Nation on whether the President is ready to listen to people’s aspirations on the type of people to appoint into her next Cabinet.
Said Nhlane: “People can express their views regarding who should be appointed into the Cabinet, but Cabinet appointments are the prerogative of the President of the Republic of Malawi. The President is not accountable to anybody over Cabinet appointments.”
The State House response comes at a time the nation is eagerly waiting for the President to appoint a new Cabinet after she dissolved her second Cabinet since April 2012 last Thursday amid calls for her to fire officials under whom looting of public funds happened.
Several stakeholders have expressed their expectations on the next Cabinet with the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) stating that this was another opportunity for the President to hire a lean Cabinet.
“President Banda should make sure that the next Cabinet is lean enough so that government can save some costs,” said CCJP national coordinator Chris Chisoni.
Malawi Health Equity Network (Mhen) executive director Martha Kwataine shared similar expectations, calling on the President to reduce the size of her next Cabinet.
Opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) spokesperson Ken Ndanga said his party expects the new Cabinet to bring new faces that will restore confidence and accountability in government.
Speaking on her arrival from the United States of America last Wednesday, the President defended top officials, saying they are not involved in the looting and that they are helping in the fight against corruption.
The President claimed that the revelations and arrests of suspected looters are a result of her government’s efforts to curb corruption.
Currently, some donor partners have expressed worry about the looting. Donors provide about 40 percent of the country’s overall budget and 80 percent of its development budget.