Malawi DC’s complain given raw deal at State House

District Commissioners (DCs) in Malawi are describing the recent meeting with President Joyce Banda at the State House in the capital Lilongwe as empt, saying they were deliberately prevented from voicing out their grievances and presenting pertinent issues affecting their respective areas of control to the Head of State.

President Banda invited the DCs Wednesday, November 7 to the new State House with an open agenda.

Insiders reveal to Nyasa Times that the DCs which were drawn from all the districts of Malawi left the State House frustrated and dejected after some senior officers in the Ministry, Local Government Minister, Grace Maseko, and her right hand man, Stuart Ligomeka (PS 2), turned the event into their own circus probably after noting that the meeting would be to their disadvantage.

“The DCs wanted to take advantage of the meeting with the president to remind her of the plight of staff serving in the councils and were also eager to hear from the president the results of a Three Man Commission of inquiry which was established by OPC to establish gross irregularities in the ministry.

Some of the District Commissioners who attended the meeting

“The DCs also wanted to talk of the welfare of other council staff, like the Direct Employees who are viewed as second class employees, whose terms and conditions of service are not very clear as their salary payments are always in arrears of not less than 3 months. We wanted to request the president to consider an integration of these into the main stream,” said the source.

The source said topping the agenda of the DCs’ prepared presentation was the implementation of the 2005 Functional Review, and the removal from the ministry of Stuart Ligomeka himself and Kizwell Dakamau.

“The commission chair, Dr. Magwira, presented his report one and half months ago, but since it is believed to have implicated the two officers, it is being kept under lock and key in the OPC.”

According the source, the top officers managed to hoodwink the Master of Ceremony, Brian Banda, by presenting their own prepared agenda to the dismay of the DC’s who had already lined up persons to present issues to the president.

Instead of presenting the needs of the councils, the source says the minister and Ligomeka staged Charles Kalemba, Chief Executive for Zomba City and presumably a puppet of the regime to talk of issues not relevant to the suffering of council employees.

“DCs were dismayed by the conduct of this Minister whom most complained that she has limited capabilities to lead a portfolio like that of Local Government which is politically sensitive”.

One DC who spoke on condition of anonymity complained to Nyasa Times that the current minister is not even fit to be a ward councilor alleging that she is “so daft”,saying the Ministry requires some person very sharp in the head.

According to the DC, the representatives of the DCs tried to raise their hands during the meeting to contribute but Brian Banda – the State House Press Officer – deliberately ignored them.

“We came from very far leaving behind tight programmes only to be told of the Local development Fund (LDF), a function we are already undertaking. The president has been an MP before and why should we come here to waste her time to tell her about LDF” wondered one DC from the populous southern region.

“We thought by meeting the president, our issues would have been dealt with, we left State House a frustrated lot, and the president should know this. The ministry is sinking, Grace Maseko has no capacity, lo lead. If she doesn’t know we ought to tell her that she has to watch her back because Ligomeka has misled and destroyed ministers,” another DC chipped in.

According to the DC, Ligomeka likes dunderheads as ministers.

“Having exhausted all our energies, we now think it’s every man for himself  OPC and Department of Public Sector Management are watching the ministry sinking, just to protect Ligomeka and Dakamau, what a shame?”

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