In a move to avoid public embarrassment from losing a legal challenge, Malawi government has swallowed its pride and effected the promotion of 15 District Commissioners (DCs) which it nullified in August 2014.
The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development —under the Joyce Banda administration—effected the officers’ promotions on April 8 2014 to grades S3/P3 and S2/P2 in the civil service structure as one way of implementing a 2005 Functional Review..
But under the Peter Mutharika regime, the ministry argued that the posts to which the DCs were promoted do not exist as there was no establishment warrant (EW) – without an EW, no promotion can be effected in the public service.
Government also argued the posts did not exist and that the promotions were not budgeted for.
After failing to settle the matter in an amicable way with the fired minister of Local Government, Tarsizio Gowelo, some of the DCs James Manyetera, Memory Kaleso and Reinhard Chavula-Kavita challenged the nullification in court which culminated into a cat and mouse legal challenge which has lasted for two years.
Apart from Manyetera, Kaleso and Chavula-Kavita, the other demoted DCs include Fanny Msimuko of Ntchisi, James Kanyangalazi of Nkhotakota; the Reverend Grace Chirwa of Chitipa, Rosemary Moyo of Karonga, Atanasio Chibwana of Blantyre, Peter Jimusole of Likoma Island and Malango Botomani of Dowa, Moses Chimphepo of Kasungu, Jimmy Kanyangalazi of Dedza, J and Jack Ngulube of Mulanje.
Nullification of the DC promotion brought in a rift between the DCs and the Ministry who viewed the act as a political vendetta. During the Joyce Banda administration, DCs were promoted to various civil service grades.
During the week, the Ministry of Local Government and rural Development has been calling the affected DCs one by one to Capital Hill where they were communicated that their promotions stand and they have not been demoted as earlier communicated.
“It has pleased the Minister to uphold the decision to promote you,” was the message in a letter signed by Stuart Ligomeka, Principal Secretary in the Ministry.
The ministry has further advised the DCs that they will serve under the Ministry of Local Government or as Government may direct them depending on Exigencies of the services.
Nyasa Times has been tipped that the sudden U-turn is a result of a legal advice the Ministry has received from the Attorney General, Kalekeni Kaphale whose opinion was that an irregularity which was made by the Ministry should be rectified by the Ministry itself because in any court of law, the Government was bound to lose and that would cost Government a lot of Money.
One lady DCs who spoke on condition of anonymity narrated that she welcomes the move although calling it way overdue and not worth celebrating.
She went further joking that Tarsizio Gowelo (MP) will go down in the history of the Ministry as the most unpopular Minister as he waged a personal war with Traditional Chiefs and DCs who benefited from the Joyce Banda administration.
In pushing for their promotions, the DCs based their arguments on the 2004 Functional Review carried out by the Department of Human Resource Management and Development (DHRM&D), which recommended the upgrading of the council chiefs from P5 to P4 and P3 grades.
OPC endorsed the functional review in 2005 as evidenced by a letter reference number DHRMD/MSD/LG/002/108 dated 22 September 2005.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :