By Elizabeth Phiri
Social commentators have called on the state house to ditch the weekly press briefings citing they have become irrelevant. This is in the wake of the announcement made on Wednesday evening that President Chakwera will not reshuffle the cabinet by the 31st of March as earlier announced in one of the briefings a few days ago.
A Statement from Presidential press officer Brian Banda invoked angry reaction from a cross section of Malawians who were eagerly anticipating the new cabinet release “The president wishes to inform the public that the cabinet assessment reports from the Vice president Hon Dr Saulos Chilima have been submitted to his office for final review. Given that the reports are as substantial as the presidents review is thorough, the completion of the task will take a few more days longer than anticipated” read the statement.
One of the renowned commentators Rhodrick Kalumpha was quick to react to this, writing on his facebook page “This is now becoming a joke. Am literally laughing. How hard is it to pick a cabinet and fire a cabinet?”
Respected media practitioner Idriss Nassah reacted to the statement saying “ Were it Peter Mutharika, we would have slaughtered him and characterized his leadership as clueless, and him as a fumbling old man with no clue of what he is doing, or supposed to do.
But these are our favourites, so we will quickly give them the benefit of doubt and believe that they are, indeed, fully seized of the matter of reviewing a cabinet that they—on their own, in their own words— promised would be reconstituted in December, 2020.We are at the end of March, 2021”.
Opposition politicians also jumped of the issue , with one Leonard Chimbanga , a DPP councillor for Soche questioning whether the president is trying to shift the blame to his vice Saulos Chilima “Very good at making speeches especially eulogies but lacking the seriousness of running our affairs and putting the country first. This excuse by the H.E that the Vice President just submitted the reports mochedwa ndi bodza. If you guys are not delivering it is not his fault. It’s you Mr. President. You are the incompetent one”
The weekly press briefings were started by the new government state house communications team led by Sean Kampondeni. It tries to give updates of the president’s engagements and answers questions from journalist on issues of the state that involves the state house. A communications experts speaking on anonymity said , there seems to be a problem with the briefings as on several occasions , it has made announcements promising Malawians on things that never happen to be done in the timeframe promised. He questioned whether President Chakwera , Secretary to the President Zangazanga Chikhosi and the Communications team really take time to brief each other before making their announcements.