Implementation of reforms: If wishes were horses, Malawi would ride

“The President and his government must be interested in the health of the economy. Any leader who is not interested in the health of the economy gets overthrown by the economy itself.” -Sam Mpasu, former Malawi Parliament’s Speaker

In a move that scoffs at President Peter Mutharika’s government’s own Public Service Reforms recommendation to trim principal secretaries (PSs); Chief Secretary to the Government, Mr George Mkondiwa has been given a new three-year contract.

Mkondiwa: New appetising contract

Mkondiwa: New appetising contract

The new contract will see him at the helm of civil service up to 2018, approximately 1,095 days past his “sell-by date”.

As if to rub in the insult on Vice President Dr. Saulos Chilima, the man who was chairing the Public Service Reforms; high level informants have confided that as per the Chief Secretary’s top-secret new contract, his perks are now at par with those of the Vice President.

Reform recommendations:

In its report, the Public Service Reforms Commission made several recommendations after noting that the civil service’s 96 PSs against 20 Cabinet portfolios made little or no sense.

Verbatim, the recommendation reads:

“The rightsizing in the number of principal secretaries [PSs] by fifty-six [56] from the current ninety-six [96] to forty [40] by deleting irrelevant portfolios, deploying some PSs and exiting those that may not be required within the system.”

The commission also recommended that a decent one-off exit package should be offered to PSs and an examination of the entire civil service to determine the total structure and delete all irrelevant positions in order to develop a lean and vibrant organisation.

An elephant in the room?

The renewal of Mkondiwa’s contract, who was expected to leave office by November 25, 2015 when he attains 60 years of age (government’s mandatory retirement age); raises questions and casts a huge shadow on the much touted Saulos Chilima Reforms.

With this development, it is clear that the so called reforms are yet another decoy to be selectively applied and possibly used to victimize those deemed not to be “blue” enough, while zealots that are blue to the tooth are being awarded, in the name of reform, golden parachutes and gorgeous life lines to escape the bite of the reforms.

In the light of Mr Mkondiwa’s immunity from the sting of the reforms, the recommendation made by the Chilima Committee that PSs that have reached or about to reach the mandatory retirement age of 60 should be encouraged to retire early, was not worth the paper it was written on.

Further, I can dare submit that the entire reform exercise was just an expensive exercise in futility.

Spinning in vain:

While we are talking about futility, according to the Nation, Minister of Information, Tourism and Civic Education Jappie Mhango argued that Mkondiwa was yet to reach mandatory retirement age of 60.

The Nation has since established that Mkondiwa was, in fact, born on November 25 1955, and will be 60 years on the same date this year.

Therefore, he should have been high if not the first on the list of those offered “a decent one-off exit package” – whatever Chilima and his crew meant by that.

In other words, Mkondiwa was supposed to have retired by now. And at any rate, apart from reaching the mandatory age, the Chief Secretary has a large number of accumulated leave days meaning that he could go even now so that new and younger blood run the sinking ship called Malawi Public Service.

Mkondiwa ‘thicker’ than Chilima?

According to well-placed sources, Mkondiwa’s perks in the new contract have been heftily revised upwards, and his take-home package, at the end of his new contract,will place him at par with the Vice President’s retirement package.

Mr George Mkondiwa, Malawi’s top civil servant will cart home a princely package only due to former vice presidents.

If this is the “business unusual approach” that Pres Peter Mutharika promised upon taking office, then Malawi is under a “business absurd” regime!

Let me add that before the government spin doctors refute this, theyshould make the contents of the Chief Secretary’s contract open; so that the public can compare it with the Vice President’s package.

It goes without saying that empty refutations will not suffice on this one and table-banging antics appropriate for five year olds will only attract the ridicule they deserve.

Riddles and parables?

While it is a fact that Malawi has gone to the dogs under the current regime, one would have expected even the most hopeless of regimes to play and abide by its own rules.

If the Public Service Reforms exempt the Chief Secretary, why should the other 96 or so Principal Secretaries suffer?

Are they less Malawian than Mr Mkondiwa?

Again, equating the perks of the Chief Secretary to those of the Vice President is bound to send wrong signals and is, in the least, demeaning to the Constitutional Office of the Vice President and sets a wrong precedent.

When will the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) learn? Has it not gone down this road before only to end up in hell?Can it be that Pres Peter Mutharika is “speaking” in riddles and parables to Vice President Dr Saulos Chilima?

This, is for Dr. Saulos Chilima to solve.

Wachiwona ndani”government

To wrap up, anyone taking these so called “reforms” seriously has another think coming. For their own good, I would advise them to have their sanity checked.

Look at this: in addition to the shady contract renewal of Mr George Mkondiwa, the so-called reduction of PS’s is not authentic at all.

What the Mutharika government is doing is merely altering the titles of the PS’s that were supposed to be terminated, from PS to Chief/Senior Director, without any change in substance, packages and influence.

Hence, the bottom line is that the head count in the upper echelons is the same as before. Malawi on course to reform? If wishes were horses, beggars would ride!

Malawi under “transformational leadership”? You might as well try to convince me that you saw pigs flying and expect me to believe this crap.

Pres Peter Mutharika’s miserable attempt to reform the public service is at best, just an inconsequential horse-trading manoeuvre, that cannot deliver value for money to the tax-payer, and at worst, it is that card trick known as “wachiwona ndani?” in the vernacular.

Mapeto ake, tikuwombedwapo apa. How?Having and retaining people on government payroll when all they do is sit around playing bawo and scratching their backs during work hours is also a form of cash-gate.

No wonder service delivery is zero, the government has become overly defensive and as Sam Mpasu aptly put it, the economic turmoil may soon “overthrow” Mutharika.

My recommendation is: the over-aged, redundant and unproductive PSs must go, whether they are blue or not.

This is the sort of public service reform Malawi needs.

I rest.

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31 thoughts on “Implementation of reforms: If wishes were horses, Malawi would ride”

  1. truevoter says:

    Dalitso ndi wasukulu komanso sizinachitike zinali ndale za PP zimezo.

  2. APM says:

    ‘Bang…..bang matebulo! Hey this nonsense has to stop! Ine ndine olemela nkale i cant embezzle money from poor malawians’……quoting….funny but pathetic n heart touching! Let it sound a fallacy that most of these political figures if not all act before they have fully reasoned hence commiting the very mistakes their predeccesors enjoyed, full of immaturity, lacking at worst universal moral norms and positive spiritual energy….thats why we have greedy guys and exective robbers and frauders at its best! Zonsezo zili apo, am just a student, but sees the sky is about to fall. If we had promoted the common good, respect at all cost human dignity and creation….coz this will give a reflection as a true God revering nation. Our president is termed to be a professor, a thing which only a title, coz profession or rather school has never gone thru him….anywy…..let me connect this, it will only take a philosophical being to be on this comment! I quote plato, either the president must be a phlosopher or a philosospher must be a president……kkkkkkk……funny! It begins with me, lets stop triabalism, for the cost of enimity is either a killer….DOOM!!!

  3. mtima wa nyani says:


  4. mtima wa nyani says:

    paja anakatsekulila mitengoku malingunde- k za forestry- anayamba ndi muluzi -ambasada kwa amereca, ii nanga pitala – adyyera ma plojeketi a grey -silva ya bingu, nanga yogulitsa somba za lake malawi akweliamu, ku bichi ku salima, nanga zijazi, kudyetsa azimai mu 18 mu,
    wadyela mdala uyu ndi mbwee zocitika. jb ankamubisa mkhwapa, kodi kulibe anthu ena oti mwaphuzitse nchitoyi? mugwila mpana litilo. nyumba ndi mbwee, ma alawasi mbweee, ana zizukulu skulu za kunja. ma untouchable a ku MW.

  5. Charombanthu says:

    I can’t agree more with you the Wise One. This so-called-Reform is nothing but a ploy to hoodwink donors into giving this nation funds. There is a lot of dead wood in government departments that needs to be off-loaded and yet nothing seems to be moving in the right direction. Does the president even consult on such issues? We have the Reforms Committee and Dr Chilima himself at the helm who are entrusted to oversee this reform – are all these heads in favour of such poor decisions such as retaining Mr Mkondiwa who is now 60 to run the affairs of the civil service? Then I must say we have a long way to go to get to this so-called-reform with this type of mindset.

  6. …..they are doing these everywhere – ina ndi iyi ili ku MERA. MERAs directors’ contracts came to an end October 2015, and since there had been a restructuring, it meant that their posts were supposed to be advertised at the end of their contract in October, but being as tribalistic as these people are they have offered one of their own a new 3 years contract – the other 3 angoti kukamwa yasaa!

    Actually its a payback for his approving MERA to buy air tickets worth millions and millions for part of the DPP mulhakho entourage that went to UNGA. Of course he also went to gallivant with his tribes men. This is from the money that people pay as levies on fuel and electricity. Is this not the money that MERA should have used to cushion the price of fuel and electricity even for a months, kuti mwina anthu aoneko kuwala? apepukidweko? Ameneyunso amalemba ma cheque kumati akupita ku boma chonsecho samakalowa mu ma records a ku State or ku Treasury, his tribal contact in the network scheme at the two offices cashes it and shares – even NAO you can follow this and see if its a lie – check withdraw records with NB.

    Malawians if you expect that anything will change then you will expect until the end of the world. The pirates are at work.

  7. syamboza says:

    pajatu mumkati yaikazi sikoka ngolo

  8. John says:

    I hear Govt needs to downsize its civil service as per IMF recommendation but up to now there is nothing happening. IMF is coming back in December. I expected Govt to move with speed. Engage departments on which positions to delete. We have so many positions that we don’t need and require deletion. Anthu amangoyenda bawo m’maofesimu basi.

  9. tilire says:

    thats DPP always in self disruction mode!!!

  10. muhlako weniweni says:

    This guy has a lot of money and yet he wants to continue embezzling Government funds. He’s the worst Chief Secretary Malawi has ever seen. He bribed Ben Phiri to have his contract renewed and increased his package. He is the only CS to have such a package yet work wise he’s useless. He dances to political tunes. He calls for PSs meetings to talk about useless things za zii without any substance. He’s the one who approved the UN General Assembly list. Big head but useless
    We have able people to do his job 20 times better. Basi even serious issues kumangoseka he he he he. Mbuli.

  11. Caterpillar says:

    Apart from hiring a new Principal Secretary a new Chief Director has also been hired in the Ministry of Gender. All this happening while government claims it has no money to recruit teachers!

  12. Neurosurgeon Wamkulu says:

    The shape of the head tells it all.That’s what I learnt on biology class.Dont expect anything good will come out of it.

  13. anadimba says:

    nothing to comment.zawakomera.

  14. Chindere says:

    APM can not let Mkondiwa go because of age since in his common sense he is younger than Mkondiwa himself. If he plan of contesting again in 2019, doing you think in his eyes that can see Mkondiwa being old to retire?
    The constitution should also look into the age limits of the presidents. He is old, that’s why he is in deep slumber as everything is crippling under his nose.
    Achinyamata alamulire osati nkhalamba ( Goodall Gondwe, Chaponda, Kalirani, out of our sight. Recycled from retirement and dead walking)

  15. apao says:

    Constitution ndi ya enayo osati rulers koma ya

  16. Attention Seeker says:

    While I may not have serious reservations with the renewal of Mkondiwa’s contract the hiring of Kabambe as PS is a complete joke and clear sign that the reforms will be implemented selectively. We all know that the Kabambe’s are a favorite to the Mutharikas as it all started with Bingu. But this frustrating to other serving officers who are more experienced.

  17. Lola says:

    Look at that big head. Do you think anything good can come out of that head. Kikikikiki. Malawi has lost direction.

  18. Change says:

    Nkondiwa don’t know what he is doing. Very incompetent. Msaka did a very good work. Ndiye bolatu Sam Madula wa cash-gate ujatu.

  19. Kalindilila says:

    Malawi is an interesting case study under APM leadership. There’s no doubt that Muthalika is not in control of the affairs of government and I am certain he is not even aware that George Mkondiwa has a three year employment contract. President Muthalika declared to the nation of Malawi that PSs who reach the 60 years mandatory retirement age will retire on the dot. The same Muthalika said there would be no more promotions into PS’s positions until the numbers have been managed. Where is sanity in APM’s administration when he is busy implementing exactly the opposite of what he committed to reform. PS’s numbers have not changed except their titles. Who is this government bluffing and honestly APM believes we are so dull as not to know that there are not reforms apart from using this gimmick to continue to give important jobs to his fellow tribesmen. Didn’t Chilima not announce that there would be no promotions with competition or interviews. And what is this nonsense of Dalitso Kambambe being prompted PS?

  20. caswell Thom Mbalinga says:

    koka koka awa ndi machoma basi

  21. drzeus says:

    Mkondiwa will b a multi millionaire if anyone dares to kick him out today. Immagine if he retires today his penshion pay on 14th of the month is over K1m? The CS must enjoy the same perks like the Chief Justice, the Speaker of Parliament, the Reserve Bank Governor, the MRA Commissioner General and same perks with the Vice President. He is the overall boss apart from the President!

  22. Nsanje ya Atumbuka says:

    Chiotha dont hate Dr Dalitso Kabambe wamva?






    MHSRIP !!
    PRAYERS !!

  24. George phiri says:

    Please can someone tell me how much the package is? We know Pitala is at k1,500,000. How much is in this contract amene mwayiwonanu? Nanga mubisa chani apo amene mwalemba nkhaniyi.

  25. blessings says:

    Heheeee…kkkkkkkk,etii atavala timasuit tablack ndi tima bodyguard avekere fwiiiii ife reform ife,reform yake imeneyiyi my foot!!!Malawi dziko lonukha ndipo lovetsa chisoni..oh GOD help us.

  26. chitsilu chili mwini, koma ameneyo! Tikufuna baraba, uyoyo apachikidwe pakuti mwazi wake udzakhala pa mutu pa ANA ATHU. Amalawi kufuna baraba. Lero ndi izo munavota nokha, tsogolo la ana anu munapanga nokha.

  27. Titus scot says:

    Koma kumeneko!!! Wamwayi ndi wamwayi

  28. Peter27 says:

    A Malawi kusamva. Kungovomereza zilizonse. We told you here. There is no change in this whole PS bullshit! They just just the names, the packages and everything are all the same! Koma inu ayi, kuti fwi fwi fwi. Koma kaya a Malawi kaya. Zivere ntolo!

  29. nobel says:

    Come on! That’s Malawi wa lero kkkkkk. Jessie Kabwiras assertions that the reforms were nothing than a white elephant is driven home! Come to think of it that the economy overthrows govt kkkkk

  30. Chindere says:

    Wakhoza, nike

  31. chiotha says:

    And one Dr Dalitso kabambe who was director of planning at the ministry of health and former director of budget during which k57 billion disappeared has been appointed PS for for foreign affairs because he is lhomwe as close to 50 p’s have been demoted to chief directors . All the rules are meant to work for the lhomwes

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