Mutharika accepts to trim presidential powers: Malawi reforms

Malawi Government operations are expected to change for the better following recommendations and subsequent acceptance by President Peter Mutharika to have some of his appointing powers trimmed when appointing senior public officers.

President Mutharika: Gives up some powers

President Mutharika: Gives up some powers

There have been outcries that one of the reasons government operations are compromised is the fact that most officers become bootlickers by wearing ruling party colours in order to protect their positions because they are handpicked to fill the positions.

With the new arrangement, senior public officers including principal secretaries (PS) will be recruited on merit through competitive interviews, a development public administration experts have touted as genuine public reform. S

According to a report in The Nation, President Mutharika has accepted to have his powers reduced on the appointments following recommendations from the Public Services Reform committee headed by Vice President Saulos Chilima.

However, once the president’s decision becomes legal it will be in line with section 4 of the public service Act (1994). Mutharika set up the seven-member committee immediately after taking over government in June 2014 with an aim to make public service operations effective.

Now the appointment of PSs in Grade C and above will be made through a competitive process of advertising and interviewing all applicants, according to sources.

The process would also require the Public Service Commission which is yet to be put in place to conduct interviews in liaison with the Chief Secretary to Government who will then submit final results to the President for the approval.

But the appointment of the officers in grades of deputy director (Grade E) up to director (Grade D) should be done by the Public Service Commission in liaison with PSs and the Chief Secretary to government through a competitive process of advertising openly and selecting suitable candidates.

Currently the president has powers to appoint any person to be PS or director without following any vetting process.

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74 thoughts on “Mutharika accepts to trim presidential powers: Malawi reforms”

  1. James Phiri says:

    Powers to hire still vested with President. Too many civil servants have jobs for life whether they perform or not. There’s no mechanism in civil service or parastatals to measure performance or that can lead to someone being fired. We have Cashgate but the Governor of the Reserve Bank is still sitting in his job. Maize rots or goes missing from the food reserve but no one is fired. By the way has the President declared his assets yet?

  2. victim Chamkhuni Lwazazi says:

    As long as those interviewing are appointed and qualifying people approved by the
    president then it is still the political president appointing. It is just ‘reaching Limbe via Henry Chipember Highway and not via Soche’. Nepotism will still be there because the like of ministers like Chaponda will wrongly advise the president. Tribalism and regionalism on promotions and other operations will still be there. May God bring justice , merit and love to mother Malawi.

  3. dobadoba says:

    Different route with same results

  4. Jayilosi Ntedza says:

    that is not a solution because the interview panel will be made up of president’s supporters who would potentially be manipulated by the president to still favor someone! Africans…..kkkkkk

  5. amina says:

    Nothing new here its the still old song. The interview committee should employ and the President be informed that this is what we have come up with period.

  6. muonosile says:

    mundivomereza, ochititsa interviewwo akhala AHINYA okhaokha zosatira zake zofuna zawo zizikwaniritsidwa. Afunatu the highest office of the president a Hinyawa.

  7. Sinthani says:

    I don’t see any change here to cherish with. Directors for Ministries /CEOs for Parastatals also go through interviews. The list is submitted to the OPC based on merit. But what comes from there is contrary to the opposite. You will find the top two candidates are left out on the basis of political inclination or region/tribe of their original. More need to be done to make the change more vibrant…. otherwise it is just the same old song!

  8. gerald says:

    Wy to go Malawi,my country!!!

  9. Kanyimbi says:

    This is welcome.

  10. Phaghlani Vwavwa says:

    The problem is not Presidential powers, it is a system that we have in this country. There are many zombies in senior positions failing to perform in many government departments and parastatals that were not appointed by the President but were appointed by those close to the president based on affiliations, nepotism, regionalism and tribalism. As a nation we will continue to pay a heavy price for our detest for meritocracy just because it produces results that we do not like. We will never move forward if we do not have quality standards. What is happening at Escom and BWB is a good indication of what is happening in every sector of our society, mediocrity.. High Performance people are avoided just because they do not come the right region or tribe. Shame. shame, shame on us. Just Imagine, a highly educated, respected and successful person like Morgan Tembo was removed as Chairman of the crucial Escom board for an uneducated, crooked man just because he is affiliated to the ruling party. And you expect Escom to take a right strategic direction? Forget it. Again the problem is not affiliation to the ruling party, it is the quality of the person being given these important responsibilities to the nation .

  11. Peter Munthalika ndi Dilu

  12. Bodza la n'nanu says:

    Ndale zokambirana kumowa ndizimenezo.

  13. Boyd Kilembey says:

    Total waste of time to be interviewing PSs. Who will be appointing those who will be conducting interviews? Here I think we are just going round a problem. The biggest problem has been appointing people to become PSs from outside the civil service. This problem will not dissapear with interviews because those interviewing will know who is the presidents “blue eyed” boy.
    If the system can not measure those fit to be PSs(while they are deputy PSs or directors) then there is nothjing these interviews will acghieve. . Some people, most Malawians are just good at waffling with little output performance., Akagwere

    1. Chitsulo cha Njanji says:

      Boyd has raised a very important point: Who will be appointing those conducting interviews? What we should be focusing on is ensuring that there is adequate political will on the part of whoever becomes President. We should always be putting pressure on the president to govern in the national interest – the 50+1 voting amendment would be a good starting point.

      The post of Inspector General of Police is supposed to be approved through a vote in the National Assembly. And removal of the IG should also be endorsed by the same body. But what did we see with Loti Dzonzi? The President forced him to ‘resign’ and replaced him with a former driver. This just shows that no matter what safeguards are put in place a determined president will still bulldoze his decisions and install his own puppets. Integrity has to start from State House…

  14. Onasiwelo says:

    Bwampini sopano walk the talk then, I am waiting to see the implementation.

  15. big man says:

    that’s better.

  16. Observer says:

    Merit and survival of the fittest has always been and will always be the only way to encourage and instill the spirit of professionalism, hard work, efficiency, productivity, ownership and pride in any system or institution.

    Mr. President and your Vice this should go all the way down to school and university selection and parastatals. Even political parties should apply merit otherwise my beloved Malawi is sinking economically, socially and politically.

    The country is rotting and stinking and flies and vultures are all over ready to devour anything on the ground, all because we have been blindfolded by nepotism, tribalism, regionalism and corruption. Everybody is pretending as if everything is OK.

    Shame on Malawians. Lets wake up from slumber otherwise we perish all together.

  17. Dave Nangwale says:

    Boma ilo….Peter Mutharika ana amuna, DPP woyeee

  18. RiseUpMalawi says:

    Oh please but we still having water shortage problems, we don’t care about you trimming and handing your problems to somebody else, just help us with our water woes. We to hear about how you are going to fix the water woes in Blantyre!!!

  19. kk says:

    Munthu wamkulu samalimbana ndi zinthu zazing’ono. Pali winanso ngati wavomera musadandule it will become law soon if not ndiye kuti vuto si iyeyo koma inu opanga malamulo ku parliament

  20. Mulibwanji? says:

    kudos APM. Slow but sure, we will get there.

  21. Mafikizolo says:

    “final” and not “funsa” .

  22. Mafikizolo says:

    Malawians are the most easily hoodwinked and gullible people in the world . The report is clearly saying that the President will still have the funsa say as to who is eventually appointed and here you are , praising the so-called “APM” and “SKC” to the high heavens! And you wonder why politicians are able to screw this country every other 5 or 10 years?

  23. getrude says:

    im not a fan of apm but this is good change “bravo”

  24. kambwali says:

    I still think smell danger on the public comission. Who is going to set the commission? If the president is goin to set the commission then no work done. I feel PAC should be entrusted to do this for transparency

  25. The Patriot says:

    Good news, keep it up Mr President!

  26. thandizo msikiti says:


  27. osamangolora zili zonse nanunso a president kenakotu akupangani impeach inu mudzalolanso

  28. The Truthful One from the West says:

    I am disappointed because this is merely tinkering with presidential powers. It has just been reported that Dr Mankhwala has just been removed as Chief Immigration Officer for no good reason. Every objective Malawian knows that the performance of the public service has been badly affected by political interference and Peter Mutharika is doing the same.

  29. OGO!! says:

    Best thing I have heard of any Malawian Presidency…I am not a fan of APM but this alone I totally agree with. Bravo..!! Maybe its a sign of things to come.

  30. jay Biz says:

    Gwd muv bt wi need implementation nt tales

  31. Amayi hand picked her sister Oponyo to become PS. Pathetic.

  32. Malawi wa Lero says:

    A lot of excitement but for what? Reform or whatever it is called is on teething stage. I thot we r still being asked to contribute our ideas to the Re4m comt b4 presenting the half baked product to Prezdnt? What happens if Pita decides 2 sit on it 4 five yrs?

  33. No comment as from now……

  34. Boy says:

    We need comments that will encourage our good leaders to do better all the time for the goodness of our mother Malawi. Rome was not built in day, its likely that all may not be done in one term but we need to appreciate that this DPP government has started the civil service reform process. Lets not expect everything be done overnight, thats not good change at all. Its only a foolish person who will want everything to be changed in a single day. Bravo APM and SC, its a very good development and please move on we are in support of you.

  35. Mwama Du says:

    Next on the table is federal system issue.

  36. fatty says:

    Perharps this is the kind of governing system malawians have been awaiting. Bravo Chilima for your constructive reforms.

  37. Charter says:

    1. Until it becomes law, I remain skeptical of its fruition.
    2. An interview is not a fraud-free process and can be effectively used to fill ranks with only incumbent’s cronies!

  38. nachama says:

    iwe kadam’manja ukanangozitchula kuti ndiwe kadamtima, i personally feel kuti APM and SKC do wish this country well, just my analysis.

  39. Kikikiki says:

    It’s the beginning of the end. Tiyeni nawoni bambowa.
    Now, to the rest of bootlickers and shortsighted plebs; when other quarters are calling for radical reforms in our country what do you shockingly say Atumbuka anthu osokoneza, eeh ndi anthu ozikonda now the very same people you’re clapping hands. Shame on you and it’s fact. The more you sprout loathing and ill will on them the less you you’ll progress. Take it or leave it its their birthright and nobody will take away from them. He blessed them so much so…to borrow a leaf or so from them it can only help our nation going up.

  40. imraan Sidik says:

    And mankhwala has been removed from immigration by the same person who has relinguished his appointing authority. I dont understand all this hallabaloo

    1. Bodza la n'nanu says:

      Tafunsani ndithu?

  41. Mukhito sapepesa says:

    APM & SKC BOMA ilo DPP ndi nyooo this is great ideas inu Nde am guy awavotera basi Boma ilo

  42. Thats presidency we have been waiting for!Angoni pitirizani,you are not only reforming the APM government but also APM party.

    you are now role-playing the position of a tall tree of which everybody can be able to point at either within or far abroad.

    Ofcourse,someone somewhere feels pain with this reform I guess!

  43. Chikopa says:

    It was his campain promise you could have said so

  44. Lets just wait and see because even results of interviews for other government organs are influenced remotely and what can prevent them in this case. Malawi is a very difficult country to leave in everything is but politicised

  45. Patriot says:

    Za zi.
    Nanga Civil service reform? Mukalembanso ma PS ena?
    ZA ZI
    Clueless leadership

  46. Malawian says:

    Bravo Peter and Chilima keep it up, this country will see real change in not so distant a future if we continue this course, I do not regret to be associated with this party through my vote.

  47. ezekiwe utwag says:

    Hounable VP is the mandatory retirement age included in the civil service reform report?. If not plz i for one recommend 55 years as mandatory retirement age to pave way for our under utilized graduates. I know many civil servants are against the idea.

  48. Nkhombokombo says:

    The Electorate and the masses had been crying for these changes for a long time now and it is better some changes are coming. I hope there will be no redeployments and political interferances. And this change must not be regarded as a political gain.

  49. Alufeyo says:

    The president has not accepted to trim his powers. He categorically said no. Chilima knows this he is just trying to unseat his boss. Why is this not on the summarised report? Its because the president did not agree. The president also refused to allow govt provide transport to its workers because the scheme had not been well thought out. Ask the Chief Secretary for details. The commissions work is to make recommendations then submit them to the President for study and approval or rejection. In addition the cabinet MUST discuss the report and move as a team. I believe the initiative although not new is a noble one except that the VP akupupuluma. One PS opened up to me and said he was happy that Malawi might finally implement the reform as it seems there is political will. Lastly i have had discussions with a certain PS and i found his knowledge of reforms and how the civil service can improve service delivery very good and thoughtful. It therefore means these civil servants know what is required.

  50. Nchobwi says:

    SECRET: Bravo APM! but laying a red carpet in front of destitute flood victims is being inhuman. It is like eating a three course meal infront of people in hunger. These poor displaced citizens take even a blanket as a luxury, yet the presidents had the guts to stand a red carpet when visiting them, not willing to make their shoes dirty, when the flood victims even consider the dry land as a luxury ideal for laying their bodies for a sleep at night, in the absence of beddings washed away by the floods.

  51. hfty says:

    Amalawi simuchedwa kuvindikilika kumaso, dikirani implementation before u start clapping

  52. Nyopex says:

    Great! A move in the right direction. Keep it up.

  53. Kadakwiza says:

    This is politics. What is the difference since after interviews the president still will approve. A Malawi kugona, tsopano wolemba ntchito pamene ndi ndani a public service commit kapena president? Palibe chasintha apa. Mukadati mwina president achite propose then public service commit after interviews abvomeleze. Then alembe ntchito a commit. Koma apa palibe chosintha apa. President azalembabe akwao.

  54. Mmihavani says:

    That’s why I trusted my vote to APM and SKC. These guys are brains. Chilima is picking up well and he will lead us after APM

  55. Federalism also on its way,we want to make sure the powers of a president are totally reduced so that development will be equally shared.

  56. Chingolopiya says:

    Thats what we call APM

  57. Yakobe Munthali says:

    The wise will clap hands when something good is done. And this is the time, Chilima and Peter continue the good work for the nation

  58. happening boy says:

    Mr Chikaonda, 20 is small considering the bonuses you get after …….., make it 50 or 100m. Well done guys, you tried.

  59. Ajijo Mapwiyamunlupali says:

    Congrats Mr President and ur vice becoz this will free the public service from politics. Long live Peter and ur Chilima! Dissolve the civil service commission as it promotes through network!

  60. Jelbin mk says:

    Its a good development but too little change this will bring to the nation. When I saw the heading I was eager to hear more but what I heard was so little to make tangible effect. I was expecting to hear that even directors of relevant institutions especially crime bursting ones such as ACB and the like will also be chosen on merit in order to avoid politicization of their duties

  61. Kampupu Baloyi Jnr. says:

    Wow, tiyamba kugwira ntchito using our capabilitiesa and professionalism. I hope and just hope this will come into effect.

  62. Aubrey Chembezi says:

    thumbs up mr president

  63. brutsha says:

    This sounds good. I hope it will extend to heads of parastatals.

  64. Zinveke says:

    This sounds really good and congrats Chilima and your members. I am really happy for the president to nod his head on the proposed changes. But lets not forget Malawians that Peters brother did pretty good during his first term of office and had a terrible performance in his second term. Peter knows better the situation he is in and will do his best to make sure that first term should impress Malawians, of which is really good for the citizen but my situation analysis as of now, can just give him 65%. He should pull up his socks and do away with nepotism and people will appreciate his effort. There is still room for this and wishing him all the best.

  65. Democrat says:

    that will be very healthy for the operations of the civil services

  66. Pichi says:

    Like them or hate them. This Chilima guy and the APM wish us well. If PS become productive and controlling officers do their job heee palibe bawo mu civil service. Awa otsekula ma private sec school and private clinics while in government your days are number. alangizi aza ulimi aza aumoyo pa grass root its time to work now.

  67. kadamanja says:

    Wawona kuti sizikuyenda, kuyenda Dziko si pano.

    1. mavuto says:

      Iwe this is fulfiling a campaign promise. Please do not just comment follow issues

  68. crap hands for the prof.

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