Mutharika says ‘power hungry politicians’ perpetuating anarchy: Speaks on labour disputes

President Peter Mutharika has finally commented on the spate of withdraw of labour in public service  over  demand for higher perks, saying his government is dealing with the matters through wage harmonization under civil service reforms.

The President has since declared that the huge and haphazard salary demands by the strikers will not be granted.

Mutharika: No money to increase salaries

Mutharika: No money to increase salaries

He said in his year-end State-of-the-Nation feed from Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe that was beamed on radio and television stations on Saturday night that the Democratic Progressive Party, in its manifesto, adopted public service and public finance management reforms as priority programs of the needed transformation programme of action and wage harmonization in the public service, which is made the cornerstone of the public service reforms.

“Wage harmonization is not only necessary to revitalize the service but it is considered an important means of curbing the propensity for fraud in the service. Equally important is the fact that it restores the principle of  ‘equal pay for equal work’ in the public service as was the case up to 1998 before a multiplicity of salary scales emerged,” said the President.

Economic analysts have warned that Malawi is likely to see more strikes by disgruntled workers grappling with an economic gloom with donor freeze.

Meanwhile, the country’s judicial system is paralysed after courtroom staff went on a strike while primary school teachers also at one time boycotted classes to obtain salaries not paid for almost six months.

Labour militancy appears to be on the rise.

Last week, supporting staff of the University of Malawi launched a sit in to demand a 45 percent salary hike while the country’s Anti-Corruption Bureau has its operations at a halt following similar strikes. The medical personnel are also serving notice to withdraw their labour if their salary hike demands are not met.

The President explained that the principle of “equal pay for equal work” in the form harmonization must be a core element of the transformation process and must be implemented.

“ For it simply does not make sense that a newly recruited doctor in the mainstream Civil Service should receive a starting salary that is equal to the salary of a driver in the Anti-Corruption Bureau or in Human Rights organisation.

“Nor does it make sense that a Budget Director or the Accountant General for example should receive just about half the salary of his counterparts in the Judiciary or in the National Assembly. We are unlikely to get the best from such people and we have created an environment that is conducive to fraud which progressively led to a disregard for public money as we saw during the cashgate days,” said Mutharika.

The Malawi leader said government has decided that as part of the needed transformation, salary scales in the public service be harmonized as they were between 1964-1998.

“In order to achieve harmonization, the government decided that, within the budgetary limit of an average wage bill increase of 24.4 percent, the mainstream Civil Service should have a higher increment that would permit their salary scale to be notionally higher than other salary scales in the public service except for the Anti-Corruption Bureau that remains the highest.

“We then allowed other scales to increase up to the new mainstream Civil Service salary scale. But because their scales were originally higher than that of the Civil Service, it followed that their increment were smaller,” explained Mutharika.

He stated that the gist of the strikes and other controversies is that those who had privileged salary scales want to continue to earn more than their mainstream Civil Service colleagues.

“In short they demand equal salary increments that would maintain their superiority over the mainstream Civil Service. To do this, of course means, that we would have to find extra money from somewhere. There is just no money for us to increase their salary scales,” he said.

He said Malawi government has recently signed an IMF programme premised on expenditure and therefore wage containment.

“If we break this agreement with the IMF, the chances of reducing inflation and interest rates and returning to normality will have vanished,” he said.

Mutharika said between wage containment demanded by the IMF and finding means to perpetuate privileges for a few people, the country must choose wage containment.

“However, I am aware that there is need to resolve the controversies so that the country can resume normality. For this reason, I am prepared to continue to negotiate with those who feel aggrieved,” the Head of State said.

But he said the negotiations must be within the legal framework.

“We are prepared to prevent the prevalence of anarchy that is being fuelled by a few disgruntled power hungry politicians within and outside the country,” said Mutharika but did not mention the  names.

He however challenged that his government has “the means, within the law, to deal with such elements of people.”

Mutharika insisted that “unscrupulous politicians within and outside have taken advantage of the situation to perpetuate the controversy and extend it to other sectors inside and outside the public sector.”

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Madalitso James
Guest
Guyz!….u have 2 knw dat dziko lose asogoleri akubvutika,do take ur time lead or vist bbc.al jazeer.and new york news u ll see kut asogoleri akulephera much but even if he fails 2 anchiev he nevr called names like what we do..kuno kuli Zuma waononga chuma chambili stl ppl respct hm as a ldr while othrs slipng wth hungr is happnng here in S.A ….my point is stop adressing our prsdnt names that u know if some1 call u so u can be dsapt…..may almighty ALLAH PROTECT AND GUIDE Peter Mutharika amiii…..n umphawiwu is coming cause we dont respct our… Read more »
Black Market
Guest

I totally agree with the President. That’s how we can go to correct some of the mistakes formers leaders made. There is no difference between a driver at ACB and a driver at ministry of education or justice. Harmonisation must indeed be implemented without fail.

mwama
Guest

Harmonization is the best idea so far. I support I support and I support.

M'Malawi weniweni
Guest

Uli power hungry ndi iweyo mathanyula as you don’t know which direction to take. Your brother was decomposing while you were busy lying to Malawians that he was alive. Inakukanika Ministry of Education ndi Academic Freedom ndiye kuyendetsa dziko umayesa njerengo? Usova!

Imraan Sadick
Guest

Apa Professor ndiye wayankhula bo,
Akuti fwe fwe fwe ndindani?

Danny
Guest

Phunzirani kunena zoonaa pitala

Mutabaruka
Guest

Peter Mathanyula, you have no moral right to talk about “power hungry” politicians . You, yourself , are so power hungry that you allowed your own brother’s dead body to start decomposing while you were engaging in machinations to take over government . That is what we call being truly power hungry .

Mfwethu
Guest
This is how a president should talk, harmonisation of salaries/wages in the public sector must be done and there shouldn’t be going back. Those who want to earn high salaries must leave and find work in the private sector, the public sector needs selfless people. The judiciary is full of self important people, if they think they deserve better let them go and practice as private lawyers, their friends have done that and they drive posh cars, why should they want to be like RK when they can’t even make a ruling for years and years!!! APM please put your… Read more »
God Hear Me
Guest
The problem ndi a Malawi is that timafuna kumaoneka superior through kupondereza fellow malawians moyo umenewo sitingatukuke. By the way zimene akunena APM ndizowona anthu amene mukukhumudwa ndi chilungamo inuyo ndiye woyipa. Aliyense wakufuna kwa bwino akuyenera kufufuza kaye kuti kodi malipilowo amasiyana bwanji? Awo amene akubisala keseri kwa malamulo justification kumakhala kuti malamulo ali clear funso langa mafunso anga nawa 1 kodi malamulowo analemba ndani? 2 kodi malamulowo akukomera ndani? 3 kodi amene ali ndi malamulo special a masalary wo anapita sukulu yake yiti? University yake yiti kuti enawo apitenso university yomweyo for them to get equal pay 4… Read more »
josef gambatula
Guest

Power hungry from Pitala really?This was the man who was failing to mourn for his fallen brother properly otherwise Malawians discovered that his brother Daniel was lying cold at the state house.Musatitopetse ndi upulezidenti wobera mavotiwo.He should be the last man to speak of power hungry.

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