Government spokesperson Patricia Kaliati has down played reports that over 50 members of staff at state residences have been redeployed from state mansion in Lilongwe.
The redeployment include staff who were working as mechanics, chefs, waiters and landscaping assistants at 300-room Kamuzu Palace in the capital, Lilongwe.
A fortnight ago, 12 presidential bodyguards from State House were redeployed to the Malawi Police Service .
In press reports, State Residences deputy director Lawford Palani only verbally informed the staff on April 19 2016 that their services were no longer needed at the palace.
But private practice lawyer Justin Dzonzi faulted State Residences for verbally informing employees about their posting, saying is is “ outright illegal” as the action is against Section 43 of the Constitution on administrative justice .
But in a statement made available to Nyasa Times, Kaliati who is Minister of Information, Communication Technology and Civic Education, explained that based on the Public Service Act, 1994, the posting or deployment of Public Officers or Civil Servants within the Public Service shall be based solely on “the exigencies of the service.”
She explained that in the quest for such exigencies of the service, a balancing the following factors is taken into account:
(a) The need to promote and achieve higher individual output of the public officer and to ensure his or her job satisfaction;
(b) The need to achieve higher organizational performance of the public service; and
(c) The attainment of national objectives.
She further stated that the retention of a Public Officer or a Civil Servant at any time after his or her appointment shall be justified only on:
(a) The basis of the need for his or her duties; and
(b) On the basis of his or her satisfactory performance of those duties.
Kaliati, therefore, said posting or deployment of public servants from one duty station or institution to another is “normal.”
She said: “ It is aimed at achieving one of the fundamental principles for the administration of the Public Service articulated in the Public Service Act, that ‘The public service shall aim to deliver services to the public in an efficient and effective manner.’
“Posting or deployment of a public officer in the Public Service from one duty station or Institution to another is not in any way a form of punishment in as far as the officer maintains his or her grade and salary.”
According to Kaliati, government ensures that officers working on permanent and pensionable terms will continue to work under· such terms and conditions of employment in those new duty stations or Institutions where they have been posted or deployed.
Officers employed on contract terms and still have running contracts with government will also continue to work in those new duty stations or institutions where they have been posted or deployed until at the end of their contracts, she stated
However, she said for those whose contracts have come to an end, their retention in the Public Service depends on whether they satisfy the provisions of Section 11 of the Public Service Act, 1994 (i.e. the further need of their services by Government; and their satisfactory performance in their previous contracts).
“Where Government considers that their services are no longer needed, their contracts will not be renewed. As such Government will proceed to pay them their dues in accordance with the terms of their respective employment contracts with regard to gratuity upon termination of their contracts.”
On claims by lawyer Dzonzi that verbal notice to staff is illegal, Kaliati said when effecting a posting or deployment of a public officer from one duty station or institution to another, the Responsible Officer is not under obligation to give notice to the officer concerned.
“ As such, a posting or deployment is made in the interest of the service having considered a number of factors provided under Section 10 of the Public Service Act, 1994.
“In some cases, such a posting or deployment of a public officer shall be with immediate effect. This necessary action may depend on such practical and circumstantial factors as:
(a) the urgency that the officer’s services are required by Government at his or her new duty station;
(b) security reasons; or,
(c) sensitivity of the office or duty station where the public officer on posting was previously working. Government’s redeployment of its staff from State House considered and balanced all necessary and practical factors.
Kamuzu Palace is the presidential residence named by former president Joyce Banda to honour late Kamuzu Banda, Malawi’s founding president, who spent only 90 days in the palace which took 20 years to build and cost $100 milliom.
With its 300 air-conditioned rooms, it is set in 555 hectares (1,332 acres) of land outside the capital.
When Bakili Muluzi, came to power in 1994 after defeating Kamuzu in the polls, he refused to live there, condemning its “obscene opulence”.
Instead, he used the Sanjika Palace in Malawi’s commercial capital, Blantyre.
Muluzi’s handpicked successor Bingu wa Mutharika and Joyce Banda all stayed at the sprawling palace.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :