Malawi donors senseless on full-board

Well, the shame of being Malawi, a poor nation, is that you live in perpetual subjection to entirely senseless but hegemonic ideas of the rich and powerful nations.

Donors holding talks with President Peter Mutharika

Donors holding talks with President Peter Mutharika

They decide while seated in air-conditioned comforts of their skyscrapers and, without a touch of understanding the context of their decision, impose their supreme will well aware that poor nations will have no option, but to submit.

This, I should admit, is the price we shall always pay for failing to build our economies.

Had we been sensible with our ways of political and economic governance, like China, we could have had the zeal to stand up and challenge these Western donors, disguised today as development partners, to give us a break.

We know from history that Western donors, using their economic advantage, have imposed awful policies on poor nations such as Malawi. The results of such policies, we all hold the truth, have done extremely well in deepening, not uplifting our poverty.

Because we are poor and helpless, so the donors find comfort, we cannot stand up to their increasing imposition of awful and senseless ideas. Because if we stand up, the way the late Bingu wa Mutharika did, they will cut their financial support.

Well, I know withholding financial support is their most trusted bullet to shoot and disable all of us to submission.

That is why, no matter how unpopular their full-board policy is among most Malawians, a consortium of donors is demanding Malawi Government to endorse the policy or risk aid withdrawal for the projects.

Should we, as a nation, be living in constant fear of not advancing what is good for us just because donors will cut their aid? Like seriously?

I argued, no long ago, how full-board will widen even further the gap between the rich and the poor and also kill mushrooming small-scale hospitality industries.

Full-board gives money to already rich and successful hotels. By not giving Duty Station Allowances (DSA) to a civil servant, it means the money remains with the rich hotel owners.

What suffers are all these small-scale businesses— lodged, eateries, groceries, minibuse ,  crafts  industries, bottle stores— that get patronised with an extra-income for a civil servant with a DSA.

Further, the donors themselves argue that civil servants are shunning trainings because of full-board. I find this a vindication to them that full-board is unpopular.

The solution, therefore, is not for government to deepen the system by smoking out those who missed this or that training; rather, to abandon full-board and revert to DSA.

It is surprising to note that there has never been a systematic study to prove the wrongs of DSA in relation to full participation of civil servants in the donor-funded trainings.

I would not be wrong, therefore, to assume that the donors’ decision to change from DSA to full-board, as per their historical tradition, was purely a same old case of imposition.

In fact, I could only shudder to understand how His Excellency the German Ambassador Peter Woeste, without providing figures, could publicly declare that ‘many Malawians attend external events for the sake of receiving allowances’.

Such a generalisation, without facts, defeats even the slight truth embedded in his words. It is the least you would expect from a diplomat.

I shall, therefore, continue to challenge full board system.

In fact, among civil ser vant s and many other Malawians, it shall consistent l y remain shunned.

The solution is to sit down with government, with an open mind, and develop a system that works to the advantage of all the players involved. This traditional condition of attaching ‘withdrawal of financial support’ to every discussion defeats every word in the principles of development partners.

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21 thoughts on “Malawi donors senseless on full-board”

  1. VYOTO says:

    MR NYONDO IS MISSING THE POINT(S) ON THE REASONS BEHIND THE INTRODUCTION OF FULL BOARD SYSTEM.OUR CIVIL SERVANTS ARE TO BLAME FOR THE PROBLEMS IN THE ADMINISTRATION OF TRAVEL ALLOWANCES.THE DONORS ARE JUST COMING UP WITH A SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM.THERE HAS BEEN A BIG APPETITE FOR TRAVEL ALLOWANCES AMONGST ALL GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES FROM CLEANERS TO THE CHIEF SECRETARY AND EVEN THE PRESIDENT JUST TO GET TRAVEL ALLOWANCES AS A WAY FOR SUPPLEMENTING THEIR LOW SALARIES. IMAGINE PROFESSOR MATHEWS CHIKAONDA WHO HAS BEEN REPLACED BY PATRIDGE HAS BEEN RECEIVING A FAR MUCH HIGHER SALARY THAN THE PRESIDENT.IT IS THIS SCENARIO THAT HAS LED TO BIGGER APPETITE FOR TRAVEL ALLOWANCES.

    CIVIL SERVANTS HAVE BEEN GETTING TRAVEL ALLOWANCES FOR MEETINGS/WORKSHOPS NOT ATTENDED OVER THE PAST YEARS TO THE EXTENT THAN SOME COULD EVEN GET TRAVEL ALLOWANCES FOR 40 DAYS IN A MONTH OF 30 OR 31 DAYS INCLUSIVE OF WEEKENDS OR 1000 DAYS FOR A YEAR OF 365 DAYS.THE CASE OF MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE OF 2008 MUST REMIND MR NYONDO THAT THE PROBLEM IS REAL. IMAGINE SOME CIVIL SERVANTS RESIDENT IN LILONGWE CLAIMING 7 DAYS TRAVEL ALLOWANCES AND MK500,000 WORTH OF FUEL FOR ONE VEHICLE FOR A DAYS MEETING AT MPONELA IN DOWA.

    FULL BOARD SYSTEM ACTS AS A GOOD CONTROL SYSTEM AS GUEST HOTEL BILL PROVIDES ADDITIONAL EVIDENCE THAT A CIVIL SERVANT INDEED SPENT A DAY OR NIGHT OUTSIDE DUTY STATION.WITH FULL BOARD SYSTEM,EXPENDITURE ON TRAVEL HAS BEEN MINIMIZED BECAUSE CIVIL SERVANTS ARE NO LONGER MOTIVATED TO TRAVEL OR TO BE ON THE WORKSHOP BUDGET JUST TO GET DSAs.MOST OF THE GOVERNMENT BUDGETED RESOURCES ARE JUST FINANCING TRAVEL ALLOWANCES TO THE EXTENT THAT SOME MINISTRIES OR DEPARTMENTS FAIL EVEN TO BUY OFFICE FURNITURE AND EQUIPMENT OR MAINTAIN OFFICES FOR YEARS AND YEARS.

    AS A MATTER OF FACT, THE DONORS HAVE JUST ENFORCED THE FULL BOARD SYSTEM, GOVERNMENT ON ITS OWN INTRODUCED THE SYSTEM LONG TIME AGO BUT BECAUSE OF PERSONAL INTERESTS , OUR CIVIL SERVANTS NEVER ENFORCED THE SYSTEM JUST LIKE THE MANY CONTROL SYSTEMS THAT ARE AT GOVERNMENTS DISPOSAL.

  2. Spade says:

    The allowance culture only benefits those who are able to work in the field or attend conferences. When you you are making a case against full board, do not generalize the benefits of DSA as not all civil servants are accorded that chance. Already this culture has brought about inequalities among civil servants and has promoted corruption and inefficiency because those who don’t get such allowances derive their own means to also get up there financially. I did really expect something like this from people like Nyondo

  3. M Sizini says:

    Mr Nyondo – you are fortunate that you are not one of my students. The best grade that you could expect for this gibberish would be D-.

  4. We dont need donors in this country PERIOD. Malawi can run its own affairs without donor stupid conditional aid. Bingu had run this country for two years without donor support and Peter too has completed another 2 years without donor money. So do we need them???? think..its only when a leader is a boot-licker like Joice Banda who had no clue but distributed UFA and MBUZI, fear donors. she too is a MBUZI no wonder was busy distributing mbuzis to enhance her UMBUZISM which was manifested upon her arrival at No. 10 Downing Street…. gracing towards heaven as Cameron demeaned her….kkkkkkk

    1. FootSoldier says:

      In case you have forgotten, Peter is a bigger mbudzi and chitsiru with nothing to show for the papers he claims to have!

  5. james says:

    DSA is a leaking bucket and will always be. In govt ministries, civil servants make allowance and upkeep claims for workshops and training sessions that never took place. Full board will help curb this thievery !

  6. sugar free says:

    Za ziii mmxxxxxx kulilira allowance basi mbava za anthu

  7. Dr Tambala says:

    In fact for USAID or the UN family their DSA are publicly available on their websites. Just google it. The rates run in tens of thousands of kwachas for example USAID pays a DSA rate of USD 70.00 per night plus bed and breakfast while the UN family pays about K120,000.00 per night for bed breakfast and incidentals. Now how can they be paying these allowances to their staff members but refuse to pay k20,000 per night for participants to the meetings they organize? This is hypocrisy of the highest order. To hell with their money

  8. The Analyst says:

    O………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..O
    When attendees are given full allowances hence freedom to fend for themselves; making savings (on the allowances) becomes a priority. Thus, everything cheapest, becomes appealing; especially accommodation, sometimes disregarding the distance from the workshop venue or availability of other services like internet.
    . . . This has a bearing on attaendance hence effeciency and effectiveness of the workshop or conference.
    Full-board (everything already paid for hence no need for allowances for attendees) is meant to curb such problems. Thus, mostly; all attendees stay at the workshop’s venue. This ensures timely attendance and thus increases the chance of success of the workshop.
    ……………………………………………………………………………..
    . . . Now, should anyone worry about measures which ensure timely, hence effective attendance to a workshop?
    . . . If full board has reduced attendance, can you fault the German Ambassador’s observation that allowances are a priority for attendees? Come on, Ephraim! You could have done better than this!
    . . . Yes, we all know that donors’ dictatorial tendencies on poor countries’ havent helped much, but on such as issue as this, you could have done better. And perhaps even better writing about something else!
    O………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..O

  9. Only the Truth says:

    Full-board is senseless to many Malawians. Whats the point of sleeping in a K70000 per night room at a hotel,and eat anything you want when you are attending a meeting, when there is no food when you go back home? The little money we get as allowances in meetings help us a lot in running our families because the salaries are peanuts. Everyone who works in the Civil Service in Malawi knows this very well.

    1. Bolero says:

      DSA is not salary supplement you people. They is nothing wrong the donors are doing. Keeping you in luxury is a big plus for you. At least you have comfort to focus on what you are there for and not DSA. Donors are right to pay the way they do it.

      1. Any Hope says:

        I totally agree, Allowances are a tax free scam for those that cannot sit in their offices and do the job they are paid to do.The reasons that salaries are so low is that much goes to the few who have access to meetings. Why should the Central Medical Stores sponsor a meeting including a MK 9,500 buffet at Livingstonia Hotel when there are perfectly good conference rooms at the Min of Health of KCH. This is Civil servants stealing money without working!!!

  10. Observer says:

    Well said indeed.

    The donors impose these rates on us where we end up dipping from our meager salaries as well when we go out for duty while they use their 100 thousand plus kwachas and claim that they are not using Malawi conditions but those of their organisations. Same trip they sleep in Sunbird hotels while we have to go look for lodges because of the accommodation limits imposed in their letters. What hypocrisy!! Where is equality they talk about? Where is human rights in all this?

    You attend the same meetings with a donor partner, and they will be comfortable while you struggle to get even better accommodation. And they really look for power by withdrawing aid, just like they are now doing for Zimbabwe, tightening up things so people can blame their leaders.

    The truth is a bigger chunk of their aid go back into their pockets. What sort of empowerment is this? Indeed they are just deepening poverty in Africa so they can advance their agendas and create jobs for themselves in Africa and other poor countries.

    I salute government staff and those boycotting to continue. Our leaders also need to have ideals and not just accept everything.

  11. Chigo Diba says:

    They are the most hypocritical the donors. It would make sense if they too indeed set the tone by doing what they preach. They are like that biblical preacher that say do not follow what I do but do what I preach instead.

  12. Gogodasi says:

    What Nyondo has written makes real good sense and I like the argument he has made. These so called development partners pocket so much money when they travel and I do not understand why the same should be extended to Malawians. Why should Malawi be operating on conditions from neu-colonialists? These guys are practising racism in our own country, and we let it go just like that, why? They cannot give such silly conditions to a country like North Sudan because Bashir will immediately give them 24 hours to leave the country. Malawians should beginning to understand why Bingu kicked out the British High Commissioner and it appears these guys have forgotten already and they think can twist us any how in the name of being a donor. Let them organise their meetings or seminars and Malawians should continue to shun them – that will send a very powerful message to them that we don’t condone nonsense. If we do this, some of them will be recalled by their governments because they have no reports to send to their countries to justify their stay here in Malawi. If you don’t know these guys survive on report writing but if you look closely they do not actually author those reports – they ask you and me to write reports and they simply copy and paste and consolidate their reports. They should not use us in order to keep them on the job when they continue creating misery for us.That is not partnership per say, but neu-colonialism.

    However, let me correct Nyondo that DSA does not stand for Duty Station Allowance (if that was not deliberate), but rather Daily Subsistence Allowance.In simple terms. it is the living allowance paid to an employee when s/he travels away from the duty station to perform official duties including attending meetings/seminars.

  13. be humane says:

    DSA is Daily Subsistence Allowance osati Duty Station Allowance

  14. Chimtemwende says:

    You know what those in CSO or NGOs amati amakhala pa full board yet some get K50000 or 40000 and other 30% of hotel room. If Donors want civil servants to be on full board let it be like theirs. Pasakhale kusiyana. Nanga full board ya Civil Servant asalandireko chilichonse? Zosayamba zimenezo. Tikufuna full board yawo basi. Secondly donors they always this is money from poor people. Why then do they live in Areas like 43, ndalama zomwe za anthu osauka akwaozo kuno akumakhalira moyo wofewa. Pali mzeru pamenepo. Let them stay in villages too.

  15. Madala says:

    Well said. donors should not take us as fools. this is our country and we should make our own policy decisions.

    1. Civila Servant says:

      Unfortunately, most of the people who attend these meetings and workshops and receive DSA are those who do not provide critical services such as staff at Capital Hill . A poor nurse at Chingale Health Centre workers for 24 hrs a day and 7 days a week attending to pregnant and she has never attended any workshop since she got employed. I support the decision of the donors. What I would advise government and donors is to increase the salary of civil servant across the board, this will provide equity. DSA is only benefitting very few civil servants, especially these corrupt Accounts staff. Accounts staff they pocket the money for those participants who fell to attend the meeting by forging signatures

      1. Alfred Minjo says:

        Forsake! Who told you that health care workers from health centres do not attend these workshops? You must be from a different planet altogether I guess.

      2. Viola says:

        Vuto la Malawi timazibweza tokha mbuyo. We have this pull you down syndrome so entrenched its hard to watch. So u mean we cant stand together to fight this nonsense for once as civil servants because you feel that some minority in the civil service will be left out? How about the majority whose work requires them to travel?

        Tell me how are you expected to make a living as a graduate with 7 years experience on a K 150000/ month? This DSA imathandiza kwambiri. But the current conditions are a joke. For once we shud trade places, they should get our K600/day ife azatopatse their US$70 let’s see who is going to use for propoor activities. Iwowo yao imathela kudyera mma restaurant while ine imeneyo I can pay my child’s school fees, move to a better house or even start building my own while ignoring my nonsense salary! I blame our so called leaders for agreeing to such terms while they are busy running the streets in sirens attending opening ceremonies for which they pocket even bigger DSA’s

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