President Lazarus Chakwera yesterday challenged his Cabinet to go beyond rhetoric and start matching the governing Tonse Alliance’s campaign promises with action on the ground.
The President made the appeal at Bingu International Convention Centre in Lilongwe when he opened a two-day orientation and training for Cabinet ministers and deputy ministers.
With the orientation coming 45 days after the Cabinet was hired following his triumph in the court-ordered June 23 Fresh Presidential Election, Chakwera said the team had already discovered that there was more “rubble to be cleared” in government than what they expected before assuming their respective offices.
He said: “We are still in the early days of my administration and these Cabinet members have already discovered that there is more rubble to clear out of the system than they anticipated before we can fully set in place a new system that delivers our promise of transformation to Malawians.
“Even so, Malawians across the country are right and have a right to have great expectations of this administration, for together we represent a fresh chance to build a new Malawi.”
The President said his administration would only deliver on its transformative governance agenda by matching promises with action and ensuring that “everyone is involved”.
He said: “As members of the Cabinet, you have accepted this responsibility and have no choice, but to execute it with excellence and humility.
“With the tools you will receive during this training, you will have the wherewithal to live up to the particular expertise, political experience, and public expectations that first inspired my decision to appoint you as I did. I am, therefore, delighted that this workshop has been organised.”
The President said the 32-member Cabinet will hold its first full Cabinet meeting in “a few days” after the orientation session.
He said Vice-President Saulos Chilima, who is also Minister of Economic Planning and Development and Public Sector Reforms, will chair the proceedings during the two days when Cabinet ministers and deputies are expected to be equipped with knowledge on government systems, processes and procedures.
Chakwera hired his first full Cabinet on July 9 that included some partners in the nine-party Tonse Alliance, but immediately faced criticism over perceived appeasement as evidenced by the appointment of some relations and a couple in his team.
But the President, who has promised to transform the running of government amid a huge tide of expectations, reacted to the backlash of the Cabinet appointment with a pledge to review the Cabinet after six months.
He said the Cabinet would be judged on performance indicators and dared the ministers to prove the critics wrong.
Yet to hit 100 days in office, Chakwera and his deputy Chilima appear focused on reforms in government and fighting corruption as top priorities, but the jury will have to wait a bit longer on whether the duo is able to deliver on the key reform areas and myriad campaign promises requiring administrative and legislative changes.