Of Malawi reforms and the Chimwemwe Banda’s of this nation

President Peter Mutharika and his Vice President, Saulos Chilima, finally launched the long awaited Public Sector Reforms amid pomp and glamour, laced with all-you-want-to-hear political speeches at a well-attended function in the Capital City, Lilongwe. They claim the reforms are designed to make the public sector more responsive to the needs of Malawians.

Dance with the President: PS Chimwemwe Banda

Dance with the President: PS Chimwemwe Banda

They also claim that the reforms are meant create a more bustling and robust public sector that delivers superior value propositions in service delivery. As Chairman of the Commission set up to champion the reforms, Chilima is at the centre of the drive, and has so far done a great job in peppering the public and setting the right mood for the exercise.

He has said all the right and nice things about the reform drive; courted and sought buy-outs from various stakeholders including the private sector.  Some people can be forgiven for actually thinking that the reforms are his brain-child.

However, the reforms are not a new phenomenon, and almost all governments since the dawn of independence in this country have had a go at reforming the public sector.

In fact, there have been 79 attempts at reforming the civil service in the past, but so far, and 50 years later, we are still talking about a lackluster, unresponsive and corrupt civil service that falls hard on its laurels every time it tries to move forward.

Too many theories have been furthered why such reforms have failed before, including the fact that previous reforms failed because they were championed by World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Chilima believes the latest attempt will be a success because “this time there is an overflowing political will, something which was lacking in the past.”  Off-course these are political statements and Chilima is a politician. He would sound out of tune and hollow if he doesn’t throw in a political statement to spice up the occasion.

He is fully aware that reforming the civil service (especially the Malawian civil service) is a momentous task that has not even began, and he would soon be fully aware why others before him failed.

Chilima and his boss are aware that they have stuck out their heads on this one. They know they will be reference dogs of failure by future generations if the reforms don’t result in any meaningful action and progress.

As others have succinctly put it, political will is not nearly enough if the reformers don’t cultivate significant buy-out from those that must be reformed, or those that will be directly affected – the civil servants. There ought to be streamlined process and cross-linkages developed between the civil service and other sectors of the economy.

The reforms will also have to deal with high levels of resistance from those who feel threatened and are afraid of losing their ‘comfort zones’. Those that are taking advantage of the weak systems to loot government funds and further personal interests are also the least people happy with the reforms.

The reformers must find a way of purging the civil service out of its troublesome weevils.  There are also some political crank heads within the civil service, some very senior, who are addicted to the old ways of doing things. They are the reason why significant resources must be invested in de-politicizing the civil service if any meaningful progress is to be made at reforms.

Just recently reports were flush in the media at how former Deputy Director General of Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), now Principal Secretary (PS) for Ministry of Information and Tourism, Chimwemwe Banda has been throwing her weight at the public broadcaster, demoting and shuffling people around, apparently with the aim of punishing her perceived political opponents.

Chimwemwe Banda is said to have influenced the transfer of Peter Makawa, from MBC TV Lilongwe to Mema Studios.  Another veteran MBC TV journalist, Charles Vintula has been moved from Lilongwe to Mzuzu. Vintula’s wife, Lisa, a photojournalist, has been sent on a forced leave alongside another veteran TV cameraman, Felix Washoni for reasons that have not been immediately established.

Another journalist, Dalitso Chimwala has been moved to Mangochi from Mzuzu. He would be joined in Mangochi by Ronald Amosi from Blantyre whilst another journalist, also from Blantyre, Blessings Kanache, will be trekking up north to Karonga.  The shuffling has also seen Vincent Khonyongwa being promoted to the position of Controller of New at MBC radio, replacing Mervis Senga.  Ngeme Kalilani is now Controller of News at MBC TV replacing Emmanuel Thuwala.

Chimwemwe Banda is also said to have been behind the appointment of former Nation Publication’s, journalist, Gideon Muthali to the position of Deputy Director at the Ministry.  Munthali’s wife is a relative and close friend of Chimwemwe Banda.  He is also said to be a close friend of Minister of Information, Kondwani Nankhumwa, and his appointment is believed to have been done for strategic reasons as he offers spin services to Nankhumwa and Banda.

Fresh reports also indicate that Mzati Mkolokosa has been promoted and is now Controller of Current Affairs and Online Services at MBC TV while one Harry Chuma, formally Controller of Programmes is now Controller of Technical Services.

Despite holding such a senior position, Chimwemwe Banda is said to be incompetent and inexperienced for the position.  This is one classical example why some commentators are arguing that there should be significant paradigm shift in attitude and work ethic if the much touted reforms are to take any meaningful root. Otherwise the reforms would just be another narrative of so near and yet so far.

  • Hastings Kanjoje is a political, social and economic commentator and writes  for Nyasa Times in his personal right
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54 thoughts on “Of Malawi reforms and the Chimwemwe Banda’s of this nation”

  1. mpipuimimi says:

    chimwemwme can be dull but atleast she knows some job she is rewarded for. Inusno ngati muntha pitani mukawapeze mabwana mukawapange imene chimwemwe amawapanga ndiponso akupatsani anu ma udindo mavacancy ndi ambili; press officer ndi na otelowo. Bwanji kukokelana pansi. ngati chimwemwe ali ophweka kuti amavulira aliyense pitani mukayense mwayi tione ngati simukaomba khoma

  2. uyuni says:

    if there has been a PS who is understanding, intelligent at information it is Chimwemwe. musachite nsanje munthu alibwino uyu

  3. chatonda says:

    Chimwemwe got a surprise promotion to the position of Ps by Mr Wille Samute who is her long time sweet heart and this started when cHIMWEMWE was at Local government where Samute was Ps too. Get rid of Chimwemwe Banda for the benefit of the nation.

    1. konzs says:

      Zazii that’s her personal life Pangani zanu

  4. Katakwe pa ndale says:

    If you have a problem wit dancing, don’t blame the tune

  5. Kaka says:

    Incompetent and unproductive Chimwemwe Banda……. With this background i don’t expect u to work professionaly rather than ur cheap politics. Hatred will not take u anywhere and please don’t spoil MBC! Munthu wamkulu ngati iwe sungamakhale busy mu ofc mwako ndi kumasokoneza tsogolo la ana with a sound educational background and skillful. Asiye ana agwire ntchito yawo bwinobwino osati kuwazunza lyk this. Only time will tell, zako zikutsata ndipo udzalira ndi kukukuta mano…… Free advice!!

  6. chakwanuleka says:

    Chimwemwe read the articles with a sober mind and wear a human face. Remember what we used to say that ukakhala pa nsana was njobvu usamati kulibe mame. Chifukwa tsiku lina mudzatsika pa nsana was DPP ndiye anthu mukuponderezawa mudzawafuna. What you sow you also reap

  7. Dzeya says:

    so how many controller of news does mbc have? 4 – radio 2 and tv 2? and with 10 or 11 directors ( acting and redeployed but still on mbc payroll) mmmmm how big is mbc?

  8. MBACHI says:


  9. MBACHI says:

    It is a fact that this reform you want your relatives and Tcholo people to dominate.

  10. powder says:

    adakuuzani kuti enao adzakhalapo kwa muyaya? mesa enanso akufuna maudindo? adikire enawo adzamwalire? mesa ophunzira onse amafuna kugwira ntchito yomwe adaphunzira kuonetsa luso lawo, tingokhalira za amodzimodzi? zanunso izo, zasinthabe

  11. Cashgate 1 says:

    U asked where Chimwemwe gets the power to sniff around, here is the answer. Getrude watch out. By the way is Chimwemwe married? if she is the his man should be worried.

  12. Nyapapi says:

    Bola zikhale zoona

  13. Peter says:

    Ngaliba, tinachotsa amai kuti Tione zina ndiye mukati anali izo ndizomveka. Poti sitingathe kuyankhula timafikira voti kuti zisinthe ndiye timayembekeza zinthu kusintha. Pano Ku mbc aliyense akuvala za blue kuti asaone Mavuto. Ifetu inu mukamatero sitimakudzudzulani koma tidzakuuzani mkhwangwa ili mmutu.

    1. Chablack says:

      Amai simunawachose koma kuti simunawavotere popeza kuti iwo anali ongogwilizira. Izo zovala za blue sinkhani zaka za mbuyomu Timaona ma tie, ma blouse a Orange kumeneko ndi mmene achitira. Anthu ogwira ntchito ku MBS anasandusa bungweli kukhala club ta chipani palibe chodandaula apa

  14. che wisikoti says:

    2019 bomaaaaa! odi adusekoooo!

  15. Ngaliba says:

    Mmene amai amasamusa anthu unali kuti unkaleka kudzudzula bwa mwanya mulira mfweeeee simunati. Zakuwawani pano ANTHU a jealous inu

  16. mphepo zinai says:

    On dear, the perennial fools have gotten Malawi by the neck again. Now another fool joins them…

  17. Seleman? says:





  18. Majid says:

    Chikopa, the issue of JB loss is out of question here, don’t act daft. You are deliberately trying to run away from the point of contention here, CHIMWEMWE BANDA and her uncontrollable lust for vengeance. Lets talk facts here,

  19. kangali says:

    munya muwona.anthu a Ku MBC mumawonjeza kulowelera za ndale.Inu sindikuona chachilendo coz its how u behave. Zanu Timpunza anazunzika pano akudyelera.Its time kuti nanu mumve kuwawa

  20. kambwe says:

    There have been 79 attempts, which means yours is the 80th..how guaratee that it will work? muzingoba apumbwa inu

  21. Mr.Bambo says:

    So Loveness Dazimata,Chimwemwe Banda’s confidante has been transferred from Mangochi so soon?What position has she been given?Chimwemwe sadzathekadi zoona.

  22. utamewakwe says:

    Chimwemwe chimwemwe ….bwinotu bwino mpando mulipo panali amzanu Ali kuti?????? Muyezo omwe mwayezera amzanuwo mawa ndinu watch out Mai

    1. kangali says:

      ndikufinyani muziwanso.

  23. Wamadzi says:

    Can I ask please! 1) Should we really call this a reform process in Malawi or a mere political exercise, because all historical civil service reforms i know in developed nations have been backed by more than one Act of parliament. 2) On which country (or model) is Malawi building its reforms, and 3) Do we really know which process to follow or someone just woke up, ate chips and started dreaming in colour as Madolo once noted ^kulota mkukhuta’.

  24. Achimidzimidzi says:

    As far as I know our civil service should be a political instrument to punish political opponents. Offices meant for work are their grounds to settle their grudges.

    Everything is deliberately translated into political language and personal achievement. Imagine 50years of independence but 79 attempts. Doing the same thing the same way but expecting change. If I was one of civil servants I would have said why are we failing. Not starting all over again.

    World Bank and IMF failed, yet they have resources and you without resources will make it.Simple you were the one foiling previous attempts.

    Zitsiru zokhazokha. Akhakha.

  25. Namalira says:

    No reform in Civil Service. Imagine the Deputy Director of Internal Secutity of National Intelligence Bureau (NIB) Mrs Frolida Mwakapigha Kaira and her younger sister also an Intelligence Officer based at Lilongwe Police Station, interfering the course of justice. The two officers stormed Lilongwe Police and demanded the immediate release of their relative who is answering theft related case. In the process they shouted at CID officers and threatened them of unspecified for not releasing the suspect. Am afraid we are slowly going back to Special Branch era .

  26. Neymar says:

    Ths chimwemwe banda meks me sick, she’z a rizon i evn stop’d watchn d stinkin tvm wateva it’s call’d these days!

    1. Mache says:

      Udwalatu sunati olo ingowalondola Amai ku America muzikati yavi Kumeneko mutaika zapaphewa

  27. tambwali mchanda says:

    Thats why in Malawi we will never move forward. People being given higher positions are not well educated to be more strategic and interpret strategies in this fast moving digital world. They will continue bootlickingppoliticians and doing same things. While our friends are moving forward we will remain the same. Shame shame shame.

  28. Sapitwa kakulanye says:

    Why do professionals work towards political lines? Is it because of poverty and fear to lose the job? Ethics and integrity must be adhered to by the professionals then room for political manipulation will be minimized. These developments also have a bearing on how one is recruited into the service. If one was recruited due political patronage of a party then obviously when another party is in power the person will be affected. This has been like that since 1994 especially at MBC. Some professions left because they could not bear political pressure caused by bootlickers.

  29. Njalayamalamuchiuno says:

    All Malawians and observers, in general, agree that meaningful reforms in the public service have been long over due. Some have even suggested that the civil service, in particular, needs a complete overhaul if reforms are to reach their logical conclusions. Sustained political will, that goes beyond the launching fan fare, is important in this whole process as such a change comes with alot of challenges. Those with vested interest in the status quo will be happy to drug the process. Changing the culture of doing business will call for additional resourcs in terms of training. Our beurocratic tradition has to change and teaching ‘old dogs’ new tricks is not an easy task.

  30. Mazulu says:

    Uyu mwana wa kukaya Dalitso mwamunangira mphanyi wangukhala kuku ku Mzuzu.

  31. The Truthful One from the West says:

    The year should be 2014 and not 2015.

  32. The Truthful One from the West says:

    The Public service reform commission whose members never worked in the public service including Chilima failed to find that it is political interference and meddling that has made the public service to underperform. A person who is not a medical doctor cannot diagonise and prescribe medicine. These members never experienced political interference in their careers. The commission was partisan and did not have several members with long experience in the public service. Peter Mutharika should have included some Malawians with long experience in the public service especially those who retired. The underperformance of the public service is a direct consequence of bad political and economic governance. You cannot expect the public service to perform well when there is bad political and economic governance.We all know that Peter Mutharika has already appointed some DPP sympathisers in the public service since June 2015. These cannot enhance the performance of the public service. MBC, for example, has badly retrogressed since June 2015. Public servants must be non partisan, professional and objective and this requires politicians from the president down not to politically interfere. Peter Mutharika will have to walk the talk. So far he has not done so. Chilima as vice president does not have real power.

  33. selfish says:

    Don’t mislead people here, Chilima is not a politician, he never been before, he is a technocrat.

    1. special advisor says:

      Chilima izzzz a politician. But a fresh one which gives us hope. But he needs to take heed of Kandoje’s analysis before he realizes that he is in it Aline – when it’s time to take the jump.bFour factors that can determine his success: 1. Act with speed. Two years to elections then this project is archive material 2. Act decisively against internal detractors from the party and within the public service. Take a “go behind me Satan” approach. 3. Keep your boss on the spotlight. Let him say the right things at the right time to the right people. It’s important for stakeholders to know that it is not a “Chilima project”. You are in the boat together and he is the captain, souch be the last person to jump ship. 4. Take an occasional look over your shoulders. And pray that stray winds dont blow good luck away from your course. We want this project to succeed.

  34. aDeaconsss says:

    Pull down syndrome bwanji azibambo wen u see a woman is doing great??, did u want chimwemwe to just kno every thing in a day pertaining to ps duties? She will get there. I know chimwemwe she is a hard worker and a go getter. If u r working with a relative or close friend and she is excelling work wise shud she or he be denied promotion? Some writers of these days!! Zilembani nkhani osati zinthu zo damager munthu.

  35. Manyeretsa says:

    Leave chimwemwe Banda alone!!

    Muthu wa mwamuna ngati iwe bwanji ukufuna kubwezera amai mbuyo?

    Hastings kanjoje useless man, an Idiot.

  36. Nkhombokombo says:

    These reforms won’t work because of “political inclinations” and muwona ndibwezela hateful minds. This lady might think she’s doing a good job but in actual she’s just messing up the whole setup. The people promoted and demoted have some trailers of thier own. We can’t be changing each time we have a different president.

  37. Chikopa says:

    Kandoje makani timakuza amayi sawina iwe umati awina chifukwa akugawa chimanga akumanga manyumba ine ndinakufunsa pompano pa nyasa kuti dela la anthu 35000 mukamange nyumba 4 masamu mukupanga achipwitikizi iwe kandoje palibe chanzeru ungatiuze mzako ndi lawyer wina wake ali ku capetown amasungila ndevuzake amaoneka ngati mbewa choncho

  38. joyce says:

    anzanga olira mwayiwala kuti ineso paja ndinasamusaanthu. Basi tiyeni tivomereze ndimmene zimakhaliratu mukamagwira ntchitoyi ngati a CHIPANI. ingodikirani ndizakuganizilani ndikazawina chisankho msogolomu nanga titani.

  39. ujeni says:

    These are people who never envisaged to be bosses, onse there, their true colours comes out, i mean this Chimwenwe Banda

  40. ujeni says:

    This Chimwemwe Banda seems to have an axe to grind with people. No professionalism in her actions. Why do Malawi allow such uselesss women who act with the old MCP atitude of the old?

  41. Titus German says:

    Transfers are normal in every organisation.No one is permanent at one postion or place

  42. Rodriguas Latata says:

    People in news for all the wrong reasonns. Nanga uja adamunena kuti onyansa samuchotsa kapena thasifa? Kang’oma kolira.

  43. Patriot says:

    why are you saying Chimwemwe is incompetent? There are so many incompetent men in most of these offices ombwambwana all they know is oppressing women and miseche akawona azimai anzeru pa office. If you think you can be where Chimwemwe is wait its not yet your time. Azibambo ombwambwana mma officemu amakwana bwanji

    1. Joyce says:

      Pepani anzanga nonse olira. Paja ineso nfinasunthasuntha Anthutu monga mwaiwala? Siziyeni Basi zisatero mukumagwira ntchito ngati Muli ku Chipani

  44. tuvitwana says:


  45. Onnie says:

    Yes, she is purging the public broadcaster. Carey on mama. Mzati was demoted by Joyce Banda. His time is now.

  46. Tamalekani says:

    Leave Chimwemwe alone get a life.Why are men inferior when they see a woman doing great eeish

    1. Dr Mtumbo wapsa says:

      You are a complete fool. Ungamasekelere zochita angalipa Chimwemwe Banda ? Fokofo

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