Civil society activists and a political analyst from University of Malawi, have welcomed President Peter Mutharika’s decision to restructure the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) by relocating some of its current functions to their relevant sectoral ministries.
According to Vice President, Saulos Chilima, who is the chairperson of the Malawi Civil Service and Public Service Reforms Commission, the OPC shall now revert to its core business of management of the public service and cabinet affairs following the reorganisation.
Human rights activist Billy Mayaya told Nyasa Times on Sunday that the OPC reforms were welcomed.
“The restructuring is a welcome development in that it is a response to previous demands for civil service reform,” Mayaya told Nyasa Times.
He hailed government for ordering women civil servants only to perform at public functions which directly relate to their profession or organisation or at an event to commemorate an anniversary or celebration of national or international significance.
“The directive is a good one in that if upheld would lead to increased productivity. It is incumbent upon both the Civil Service Commission and civil society to hold the government to its word,” said Mayaya.
Benedicto Kondowe, executive director of the Civil Society Coalition for Quality Education and convenor of the Malawi Human Rights Defenders also hailed the decision calling it as a “right step”.
Chancellor College political science associate professor Blessings Chinsinga said the restricting of OPC “will improve efficiency” at Capital Hill.
“This is a very important development which will minimise unnecessary duplications and will help to ensure that resources are used for strategic purposes as prioritised by the ministries,” he said.
“This development is very good,” stressed Chinsinga.
The political scientist said the move will help the Peter Mutharika government “to raise its profile.”
“Malawians want the government which chooses the right thing,” pointed out Chinsinga, adding “Malawians as far as I am concerned are looking for a government that can really work at their best interest.”
The University political professor said the civil service reforms will “actually lay a solid foundation for a [Mutharika] government to enjoy legitimacy.”
Social commentator and executive director of Business Consult Africa (BCA) Henry Kachaje also added his voice in welcoming the restructuring of OPC
“This is what we call serious business,” noted Kachaje.
“The austerity measures should also be extended to cabinet ministers so that they should not be just moving about attending petty events,” he advised.
Kachaje also pointed out that the move will help in austerity measures.
President Mutharika said he wants to reform the civil service and hopes to promote “professionalism, integrity, technical competence and efficiency.”
He says he hopes the new civil service will be non-partisan and corruption free, which will be achieved “through full compliance with existing public financial management rules, regulations and practices”.
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