Malawi state worker deployed to administer civil society work

National AIDS Commission (NAC) a government agency has for the past six months deployed one of its staff member; Mrs. Leonisa Nsiku Mukaka to work in the civil society as acting executive director of Malawi Network of AIDS Services Organizations (MANASO).

NAC acting ED, Davie Kalomba and Kumbweza Banda.- Photo by Owen Nyaka.

NAC acting ED, Davie Kalomba and Kumbweza Banda.- Photo by Owen Nyaka.

Leonisa Nsiku Mukaka was from July 2014 up to 26th January, 2015 working as MANASO Acting Executive Director; following a suspension of its Executive Director, Lawrence Khonyongwa by its Board. Apparently, NAC Board Chairperson, Ms. Mara Kumbweza Banda also doubles as Chairperson of MANASO.

NAC Acting Executive Director, Davie Kalomba confirmed the news in a questionnaire response saying it was possible for the commission to deploy its staff because NAC is the institution mandated by Government to lead and coordinate the national response to HIV and AIDS in Malawi and that MANASO is one of the coordinating agencies that work with NAC to deliver this mandate.

“Executive Management liaised with the Board Chairperson to arrive at the decision. This was based on the request that came from MANASO for this support. This was also in line with the Commission’s mandate on provision of capacity building to its implementing partners,” says Kalomba.

He says NAC was still responsible for the officer’s salary as she was still a NAC employee, merely seconded to MANASO to manage the crisis that had arisen.

“You might wish to note that as much as she was the acting Executive Director at MANASO, there was no additional monetary benefit since this was just part of NAC’s capacity support to MANASO during this crisis period”, says Kalomba.

However, a news source who opted for anonymity within MANASO says while the Non-governmental-organization (NGO) law in Malawi does not allow government to intervene in NGO’s work; it was conflict of interest for NAC; the then Principal Recipient of the Global Fund to deploy its Grant Officer cadre in order to administer the Global Fund grants within MANASO.

The source says the act of appointing a person from government to work in the civil society organization is contrary to the constitution of MANASO and rules and regulations governing the organization.

“MANASO rules and regulations do not allow for hand picking of staff into positions. There are clear procedures for recruitment of staff regardless of the situation,” say the source adding, as such Global Fund instructed Malawi’s Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) to discuss this matter but it was suppressed during the recent meeting.

The decision to deploy Mukaka was done at a critical period when MANASO was leading the civil society participation in the New Funding Model. This reached a very critical stage when a NAC official on secondment to MANASO was put in the concept note writing team to represent civil society.

A source says the leadership of a NAC employee at MANASO had severely affected the organizational role to engage civil society effective application; for instance since NAC was an interested party, it was difficult for the deployed person to organise civil society for any concerted effort to the process or even to challenge NAC on its commitment to the Global Fund.

According to a letter dated 19th September, 2014; addressed to Global Fund, Senior Fund Portfolio Manager, Mr. Plaikessi Kouadjani which was written by Global Fund Advocates Network (GFAN) Country Coordinator, Lawrence Khonyongwa says what NAC did was a gross violation of its own grant agreement with MANASO and we believe this is an audit query.

“How can NAC answer audit issues on the grant to MANASO if it has placed its own officer from the grants section to head operations of its Grant Recipient Organisation? This is certainly conflict of interest of the highest order and need to be condemned in the strongest terms,” reads Khonyongwa’s letter in part.

Ironically, Khonyongwa is the suspended Executive Director of MANASO. He resigned because of the differences which he had with his Board of Trustees. Later the board suspended him from employment because they suspected him to leaked documents that exposed employee rights violations and nepotism, which he denies. After the incident, Mukaka was later deployed to MANASO.

MANASO is an independent organization and leads the civil society response to HIV and currently it is Vice Chair of Malawi Partnership Forum. It was registered under the laws of Malawi as NGO while NAC is a pure government agency.


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Nsanje lekani

Leonisa Mukaka Nsiku is a prudent lady and sharp in the head; check her background from her secondary school days at Providence Girls. Congrats Leonisa for a job well done at MANASO for only a period of 6 months.

Khonyongwa, nsanje lekani, dzingolimbikirani ntchito ya manja anu idzikuchitirani umboni. otherwiz mukachita nsanje – mudzafa osauka!!


Kodi a Lawrence Khonyongwa zowona mungalembe kalata ku Global Fund kuti Malawi isalandire ndalama? Inudi ndinu munthu wa civil society? Just because MANASO Board fired you for recruiting your three girl friends ndiye mumafuna kuti mpaka Malawi isalandire ndalama? Chitani manyazi. Your Board Chair is the one who collected an officer from NAC to help the poor organization. Leonisa Msuku ndi mtsikana okongola kwambiri komanso wa ulemu ndi musamuyaluse choncho


enough of NAC it has to be desolved


The NAC Chair is telling the NAC Acting Director that it is time for Chewas again. Alhomwe ndi ayao kaya kuti angulu ndi achawa nthawi yao yatha. Koma ife sitilola as people from the South. We have State House under the belt and the Chief Secretary is also from the South.

It reminds me of one MacDonald Sembereka heading an NGO and at the same time being a staunch PP member up to the extent of contesting for a parliamentary seat but failed, then organising a demo against government. I agree with one Chikaonda that remarks by #6 slowly seem not to have space in Malawi. We have rebuked, castigated, sworn at each other on tribal lines for quite long now. I think it’s high time we realised that irregardless of all that venom we have spat on each other, we still remain one nation. When I move from home (South)… Read more »
Matthew D. Chikaonda

No. 6 I think you are sick in the head. Why are you so obsessed with tribalistic remarks? You will end dying a poor person. If you don’t know, Mai M. Kumbweza Banda is from Lilongwe. D. Kalomba does not come from the North either – do his background check and you will be surprised. I personally don’t care where one comes from because it means nothing. My father came from Mzimba while Mum from Ntcheu and so what! Stick to the context in the article.

The question is: would it be wrong to conclude that by having a MANASO Board chair also chair the Board of NAC Mme Kumbweza Banda created a perfect environment to syphon GF money? Each time audit querries came up then she would engage NAC staff to explain them away and protect the gold mine called MANASO! So the reason they sent a NAC employee to head MANASO was to ensure that cover-ups continue, that way GF should not suspect MANASO. It also meant that at a crucial time when Malawi needed a strong CSO voice in the GF Concept Note… Read more »
Arthur G.M. Mtambo



It never rains but pours at NAC. Scandals every day. Something wrong there!

ambuya chik kay

kuzinjoya ndalama za odwala aids. Mulungu akuonatu

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