I‘m from Thyolo not Nkhatabay, says Thoko Banda: North Malawi feels sidelined on appointments

Thoko Banda, son of former cabinet minister the late Aleke Banda, told parliamentary Public Appointment Committee (PAC) that he hails from Thyolo and not Nkhatabay the home of his father.

Banda who was being interviewed by 20 members PAC for the position of Malawi Ambassador to the EU after being appointed by President Peter Mutharika.

Thoko Banda:  Mentions Thyolo as his home

Thoko Banda: Mentions Thyolo as his home

His CV indicated that he is from Thyolo and sources said PAC Chairperson Lingston Belekanyama had to clarify from him on his origins and maintained he is a Lomwe from Thyolo.

Banda nearly missed the diplomatic posting after he allegedly turned up without any degree or educational transcripts despite his eloquence during the interview, members wanted to remove him for not being qualified.

Sources said he scored poorly amongst all in the interviews but was given a “may try” rating.

Though Brussels is one of the key donor centres with the European Union, Banda who served as Deputy Ambassador in Germany and later in Japan, is seen as the least qualified academically among the newly appointed diplomats. His credentials are yet to be known.

Meanwhile,  a pressure group campaigning for North Malawi to be a standalone country or allow federalism has noted with “concerns” that since Mutharika came to power, his diplomatic appointments has  ignored the north.

The pressure group pointed out appointments of diplomats, saying all eight appointed only Hetherwick Ntaba was from the centre and the rest coming from southern region.

Hawa Ndilowe deployed to Tanzania as High Commissioner is from Blantyre, returning UN Permanent Representative designate Brian Bowler is from Zomba, Frazer Nihoriya from Mulanje, and Charles Namondwe from Thyolo and Margaret Roca Mauwa from Chiradzulu.

PAC, however, is said to have interviewed the appointed diplomats without considering the regional balance. PAC is blended of highly qualified and experienced members, who include Lingston Belekanya, Harry Thomson, Dr Elias Chakwera, Collins Kajawa, Agness Nyalonje and Ralph Jooma,

But the pressure group feels the appointments displayed “naked tribalism” on the party of the President.

“North Malawi is discriminated against in senior government appointments,” said Dr Bina Shawa.

He noted that despite the north producing many educated people than other regions, persons from the region are sidelined in appointment of head of civil service (Secretary to the President and Cabinet), head of Malawi Defence Force, head of Police Services, head of Malawi Broadcasting Corporation, head of university council, head of constituent colleges of University of Malawi, Governor of the Reserve Bank of Malawi and others.

“No one from the North Malawi has been appointed to head these institutions/positions except once in 50 years in the Malawi Defence Force (Mr. Simwaka), Cristina Chihana (Principal of Kamuzu College of Nursing) and the Reserve Bank of Malawi governor (Mr. Chimwemwe Hara),” noted Shawa.

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