In Malawi, President Bingu Wa Mutharika
is expected to swear in his new cabinet Thursday. The swearing in comes a day
after Mutharika named ministers to help run his second five-year term.
change in the portfolio of the finance minister is generating controversy.
Ex-finance Minister Goodall Gondwe is replaced by Ken Kandodoon who was formally
in charge of the Food Reserve Agency.
Gondwe, who now heads the ministry of
local government, is often credited for Malawi's recently strong economic
in an interview with VOA, presidential press secretary
Chikumbutsu Mtumodzi, said it is President Mutharika's right to decide
relating to the appointment or organizing of the cabinet is the sole
prerogative of the president," Mtumodzi said.
said the cabinet ministers would be first to be sworn in.
9'Oclock, the cabinet ministers will be sworn in, and their deputies would be
sworn in at 3'Oclock in the afternoon," he said.
said the new ministers are required to begin working as soon as possible.
appointments are with immediate effect. They are supposed to take the oath of
office and the oath of allegiance," Mtumodzi said.
political observers say there was a mix reaction particularly to the change at
the finance ministry.
Mbowela, political science professor at Malawi's University of Zomba Chancellor
College said the new cabinet is generating increasing debate.
is a mixed reaction. Some people are happy, but some people are not very happy
with the cabinet," Mbowela said.
said President Mutharika didn't keep his promise of a lean government.
were told during the campaign period that the cabinet was going to be lean. But
I think what has happened is the exact opposite," he said.
Mbowela said some Malawians hailed the balance in the new cabinet.
who are happy are looking at the proportion of men, women and where someone is
coming from. It looks like people from all the regions have been put into the
cabinet. So it is quiet representative of the Malawian population," Mbowela
said some Malawians are questioning the rationale behind the change at the
think one would really not understand what the president is trying to
achieve…the shifting has really raised a lot of suspicion from people to say
there is no continuity anymore. And after all one would simply say maybe there
is something very strange that is happening behind the scene," he said.
said Malawians had confidence in the performance of former finance minister
former finance minister we are talking about here, it was very evident I think
to all Malawians that he did a very good job. So much as the president has that
prerogative, I don't think it goes with moving people anyhow," Mbowela said
Gondwe, a veteran economist served as director of the
Africa Department at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Vice President
of the African Development Bank.
President Bingu Wa Mutharika
appointed Gondwe as finance minister in 2004, a task some political observers
believe he performed creditably.