In Malawi – Another economic planning minister throws in the towel

Goodall GondweIn Malawi few months after the first Joyce Banda anointed Economic Planning and Development Minister Atupele Muluzi resigned, his replacement, Goodall Gondwe, has taken a similar route, throwing in the towel when the country needed him most.

And Newstime Africa understands that President Dr. Joyce Banda has since promoted Deputy Finance Minister Ralph Pacharo Jooma to full Cabinet Minister to pick up the pieces at the Economic Planning and Development Ministry.

Gondwe’s resignation was rife in Malawi Friday March 15 2013 afternoon although the Government’s Spokesperson and Information Minister Moses Kunkuyu denied any knowledge of the matter.

“But surely with this evening breaking news that the President has appointed Honourable Jooma as the new [Economic Planning and Development] Minister, it confirms that the Honourable Gondwe has indeed taken leave of the portfolio,” observed political and Social commentator Professor Rashid Maganga.

Ironically, Muluzi left the cabinet to concentrate on his United Democratic Front (UDF) Presidency, while Gondwe seems to have stepped down to concentrate on his court case.

The highly rated international economist who until his resignation from active politics meticulously served in the Bingu wa Mutharika led Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) cabinet in different portfolios, was roped in by President Joyce Banda in a mini cabinet reshuffle after Muluzi had resigned.

In the said resignation, the Mzimba North Parliamentarian, who has also served in the Ministries of Local Government and Rural Development; Energy and Mining and that of Finance and Economic Planning, respectively, has offered to resign because “under the prevailing circumstance” it would not be possible for him to serve in his post.

The cool but articulate former First DPP Vice President, was arrested on March 11 2013 along with other top officials like the Guard Commander of the late Head of State; the Chief Secretary in the Office Of President and Cabinet, Ministers in the DPP government that include acting DPP President and the late President’s younger brother.

The arrests comes straight on heels of the revelations made by Commission of Inquiry constituted by President Banda to look into the death of Bingu wa Mutharika in April last year and other related issues.

While the other arrested 10 people were fighting for bail at the Lilongwe Magistrate and later the High Court, the celebrated Finance Minister during late Bingu first Presidential term, was at a private clinic being treated for hypertension after he had collapsed at a police station after being picked for questioning.

When Dr. Joyce Banda, who ascended to the Presidency in April last year after the demise of Professor Bingu wa Mutharika, drafted in cabinet Goodal Gondwe, an air of relief started blowing in certain quarters as memories of how he had turned around the country’s economy during the Mutharika reign gave hope to the people.

It is yet to be seen how Jooma, an economist himself, but deputised Dr. Ken Lipenga in a ‘strange’ Ministry of Finance, will handle the  Economic Planning and Development Ministry, which seems to be central in government’s much touted and adopted Economic Recovery Plan (ERP), launched by Muluzi when he headed the Ministry.

This will be Jooma’s full Ministerial post as during the DPP reign, the innovative Mangochi-Monkey Bay Parliamentarian was deputy Health and Population Minister.

The young but promising Economist and Entrepreneur cum-Politician joined active Malawi politics prior to the 2009 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections and won a seat in the Malawi National Assembly as an Independent candidate during his maiden elections.

His portfolio at the Ministry of Finance has been entrusted to Karonga Central Parliamentarian Dr. Cornelius Mwalwanda.

© 2013, Peter Chipanga. All rights reserved. – The views expressed here are purely those of the author and not necessarily those of the publishers. – Newstime Africa content cannot be reproduced in any form – electronic or print – without prior consent of the Publishers. Copyright infringement will be pursued and perpetrators prosecuted.

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