Malawi: Chakwera Bloats 'Leagues of Advisors' With Kunkuyu, Chibvunde and Thyolela Appointments - Analysts Cautions

President Lazarus Chakwera (file photo).
23 September 2020

President Lazarus Chakwera has appointed two Malawi Congress Party (MCPP) members and a People's Party (PP) vice president as special advisers in his office overcrowding State House with the inflation-busting league of advisors attracting criticism that most of the characters have nothing to tell him other than gossips.

The three include former MPs Moses Kunkuyu, Maxwell Thyolera and former president Joyce Banda's loyalist as well as PP vice president for southern region Ephraim Chibvunde.

Kunkuyu, who is MCP campaign director, ,confirmed that he had been appointed presidential adviser on Chiefs and Rural Governance.

He previously served as minister of information in the government of Joyce Banda between 2012 and 2014.

Kunkuyu said he will be working in collaboration with Ministry f Local Government and Rural Development to bring traditional leaders closer to Chakwera's development agenda.

While Thyolera, a former MP for Lilongwe North East, has been appointed Presidential Advisor on Parliamentray Affairs.

PP's Chibvunde is Presidential Advisor in Political Affairs.

Confirming his new post, Chibvunde said: "I am immensely pleased to be part of President Chakwera's transformation team."

However, neither the Office of the President and Cabinet nor State Residences director of communications Sean Kampondeni could shed light on the new appointments.

But critics argue that Chakwera's transformation leadership focused on nation building in line with the Tonse Alliance campaign promises will be a lip service with his "shopping-spree of characters to appease."

Ministers are, by nature of their vows, presidential advisors; and analysts say the President does not need a motley crew of pretenders to feed him with lies in the guise of 'advice'.

Governance expert and commentator Makhumb Munthali called for caution on the appointment of presidential league of advisors, saying for a long tme their contribution has been questionable.

"I think we need to revisit the role of presidential advisors in the country to avoid duplicating their roles with some of the ministries around because where there is a line ministry then the role of the minister is being advisor to the President ," Munthali said.

Chakwera earlier appointed Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) chief executive officer Chancellor Kaferapanjira as his chief economic adviser and picked three others for other posts.

The President also appointed Dr. Samson Lembani as his chief adviser on public policy and governance.

Among others, Chakwera also appointed Collen Zamba, an experienced economic adviser, as his chief adviser on Sustainable Development Goals and international relations.

In addition, the President has appointed Chris Chaima Banda, a development economist and long-serving British Civil Service technocrat, as his chief adviser on strategy and manifesto implementation.

Other advisors Chakwera appointed include Overstone Kondowe as special adviser on People Living with Albinism and Disability and Reverend Brian Kamwendo as special adviser on religions affairs, with Sheikh Hashim Abbas as his deputy.

The President also appointed Major Precious Mahara Gausi as assistant aide-de camp, Brian Banda as press secretary, Martha Chikuni as head of media and marketing and Solomon Kavuta as director of ICT.

The league of advisors has also Adamson Mkandawire as Chief Advisor to the President on rural transformation and development while musician-cum-politician Lucius Banda is special adviser on arts and youth.

Presidential advisors are entitled 500 litres of fuel a month (about K400 000), a vehicle which they drive themselves, medical scheme and airtime, free water, free electricity, DStv subscription at a combined cost of almost K300 000 ($434), including a driver and guard who are also allocated about K100 000 ($145) on top of a salary of close to K1.6 million ($2 312), which translates to K25.6 million ($36, 994.21) a month for the 16, totalling K307 million ($443 641) annually.

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