Poison chalice? Tenthani’s muckraking on Malawi State House ‘redeployment’ galore

A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his governmentEdward Abbey

Within the short time he has been in office, President Peter Mutharika has exuded frightening levels of inability for due diligence.

President Peter Mutharika

President Peter Mutharika

Look, staff turn over at State House in the eight short months is, to say the least, scary. It seems every day someone is losing their job.

Well, the official term is ‘redeployment’ but that is just a ruse to avoid paying the victims millions in compensation.

Apart from one aide who was reportedly sacked for misconduct after it was discovered that he was drawing two salaries, no reason is given for the sacking of the rest.

But I think good and fair labour practices demand that the victims be told why they are being given the boot. Indeed these being public jobs the tax payer also has the right to know why they are paying several people for the same jobs in so short a time. (Remember when ‘redeployed’ – the right word should be ‘warehoused’ – these cadres go with most of their perks.)

Of course, I must be quick to add that most of these political appointments are rarely made on merit. Almost all are made without following proper recruitment procedures. You just have to belong to the right political camp; where you come from – sadly – also becomes an ‘added advantage’.

Knowledge of – or experience in – the job you are expected to do count for very little, if at all, in these appointments. After all, being an ‘aide’ or ‘advisor’ is just for ‘filing purposes’; your true designation is ‘beneficiary’ for the role you played on the campaign trail.

So it becomes difficult to shed a tear when someone so irregularly appointed is irregularly removed. After all most of these cadres do not merit the jobs they are given.

But, notwithstanding that, one would have thought the new Mutharika administration would be progressive in both its politics and running the affairs of State. Was its rallying mantra not ‘doing business unusual’?

So it beggars belief, therefore, for an administration with such a lofty agenda doing things the way they have been done before, even worse. If truth be told even before a year in office is over Peter has bested all his four predecessors when it comes to booting out cadres he himself roped in.

Of course such a record paints the President as a ‘no nonsense’ fella who brooks no mediocrity. Like his big brother who publicly celebrated having ‘three bright young brains’ in Ralph Kasambara, Gustave Kaliwo and Ishmael Wadi but ended up sacking all of them, Peter may cast himself a macho man who does not look at friendship or someone’s face when dealing with matters of performance.

But, sadly, this also does not reflect well on his planning prowess and due diligence in vetting his foot soldiers, as it were. Look, Peter has the free hand in recruiting aides or advisors. In fact, as we have seen in his village of aides and advisors, he does not even have a cap on how many he has to hire.

With such unfettered freedom, one would think the President would have the chance to hire only the best. But, in the absence of the reasons why his staff is being shaken almost daily, one would safely conclude that Peter is not satisfied with performance levels.

So if incompetence is indeed the case, what does that say about the President’s recruiting standards?

Look, it does not reflect well on his person for the President to lose two press secretaries even before one year is out, for example. The Press Office is strategic as it is responsible in projecting a good public image of the presidency. One would expect the President to take time to hire a team he could trust at least for five years.

And how does one lose an Aide de Camp within a year? An ADC is a crucial position for the holder is literally an extra hand of the President’s. These fellas carry the President’s briefcase, arrange the big man’s diary – who to meet and when, such kind of stuff. These fellas know whatever the President is up to.

So some of us who wish him well were kind of disturbed to learn that Peter has fired his ADC. Like I said above, the ADC knows everything about the President. Is he safe if he cannot get it right even with someone in whose hands his very life literally is?

My point is it is scary for the President to lose trust in people he himself hired in so short a time. If the reason for this amazing staff turn over is incompetence, how did he hire them in the first place for – unlike in ‘normal’ jobs where one can beat an interview panel with illustrious papers, Peter literally has a free hand in selecting those he personally feels can advance his agenda.

To get the crème la crème recommended candidates must be seriously vetted, their qualifications, experience, competence, even sanity and health, must be seriously scrutinised as well.

But, at the rate Peter is firing his staff left, right and centre, it seems no background checks are done.

The implications of these ‘mis-appointments’ go further and deeper than the ‘victims’. They reflect badly on the President’s abilities to make proper selection of the team that will help him manage our lives. It is about time he seriously examined those he has trusted with the responsibility of recommending people to him. Does he have qualified people? May be it is high time we questioned his handlers’ capabilities, knowledge and wisdom in matters of State. He owes that to the nation.

In representative democracy it has to be demonstrated that the ‘more knowing’ are leading the ‘less knowing’. What is the quality of people who help him decide for Malawi? If the aim of the public reform agenda he recently launched is to ensure merit, it should start with him demonstrating that merit exists in his yard.

Otherwise the unprecedented turn over of human resources at State House is worrying and reveals a lot about lack of professionalism in managing people. Good management is not just about wielding the power of hiring and firing. It is about presenting oneself that one chooses the right people and manages them professionally. Prudent selection of cadres and providing them with meritorious job security is what one expects from a good CEO, more so from the topmost CEO in the land.

Otherwise the downside of sacking people every day is that potential appointees will be scared of these positions for they have become poison chalices. Look, these sacked people had established careers before that important call from State House to serve the President. Now their careers have been disturbed – if not shattered, some permanently.

So otherwise well-qualified people will think twice to take up these jobs. And Peter will be faced with the scenario of working with not-so competent people whom he will be firing again after a short time.

There is one adjective for that – scary!

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32 thoughts on “Poison chalice? Tenthani’s muckraking on Malawi State House ‘redeployment’ galore”

  1. Balamanthu says:

    There is a common proverb which states that what an elderly man can see whilst sitting, a youngman cannot see whilst standing.Bingu, an elder brother to Peter clearly made it plain that his brother was never presidential material.By focing his candidadture on the DPP, he just wanted Malawians to see how stupd his younger is.As they say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.We have seen it all-in all facets ranging from high insecurity, wrong appointments, lack of medication, no lights, pot holed roads, going to inspect flood victims in suits and may more things evidencing a guy who does not understand the environment he is in.How can a guy who does not understand us lead us properly?What Peter should do is go for one month on an anger management course which should be followed by a better decision making one.

    With serious indecision in the education and judiciary sagas when he was minister,making deliberate stupid suggestions to changing the constitution;even as late as when he was elected, it took him centuries to have a cabinet.This is such a twart who cannot make a decision and is controlled by his feelings and vengenace rather than deep seated thoughts which inform his decision making.He is a typical educated fool who cannot use his knowledge to better perform as President.

    Others on this forum have referred to Kamuzu.He made changes underpinned by reasons.Not Peter.It is his whims,deep seated tribalism,emptiness of his brain and stupidity that drive what he does.

  2. Nkhalamba yopanda mano says:

    Is Ben Phiri the guy that plays the role of aunt Tiwo in the play ‘Malawi @ 50’?

  3. Same boat with u president wa akalirani I do feel pitty and shameful kumanena zoti am amalawian kulibwino nzafele koyenda than kukalamulilidwa ndi Pita check ma nae tiye tingodikira

  4. Mphwiyo says:

    Deploy them Mr President……kodi a Malawi tinakhalabwanji kukonda kusinjilira zithu. Somebody doesn’t observe khalidwe pantchito mukamusutha its an issue, I did not vote for Peter but sanity is what is needed in Malawi……Peter keep it up

  5. Malindima says:

    Not news at all! I can recall that Kamuzu would hire you and fire you in two weeks time after your appointment. Timangomva kuti auje atha!! See how he fired his Police IGs after Kamwana in short period of time! Ministers, PSs, State House employees were changed like underwears. Could we say Kamuzu did not select properly? Not at all. He was highly disciplined and demanded same from his staff so Mutharika I guess!

  6. BigMan says:

    Za Ziiii!

  7. fidelis says:

    Malawians-job seekers!! very pathetic! start a business and be independent you miserable maternal fornicators!!!

  8. Pulezidenti Wa A Kalirani Ndi A Dausi says:

    Ine pulezidenti ameneyo sandiwaza. Ndipo am very lucky kuti am away from that country. Ndipo sindidzapondako phazi kumeneko even a holiday holiday mpakana atadzafa.

    My malawian nationality ndaichita suspend untill l hear kuti mwakamusiya kwao ku thyolo. It makes you feel useless and daft to call yourself Malawian with him as leader of a nation.

  9. Funzo says:

    Creme de la creme = rich and thick. You don’t want them on your staff!

  10. Ahlomwe Ahlomwe says:

    State House Employees have become endangered species

  11. atate says:

    The one who listens to lies is also the liah. In this case this madala is the liah

  12. Patriot says:

    Clueless leadership

  13. Ngungudya says:

    Oloko atakhala just diary presidential holder is he supposed to subjected to such ideotic condition nayeso ndimunthu ka Benika kkkkkkkkk mwemo

  14. Ngungudya says:

    Oloko atakhala just diary presidential holder is he subjected such ideotic condition nayeso ndimunthu ka Benika kkkkkkkkk mwemo

  15. Bigman says:

    @ Imran Sadik

    Message delivered. This Government is a government of cartoons.

  16. Imraan Sidik says:

    @ Shoeshine

    So repeating what muluzi did is what you call business unusual. You are such a pathetic collection of fresh and bones. How can u justify the firing of well more than 90 people. As a citizen i hate sycophants who always support every silly mistake that peter does. People are watching

  17. tuvitwana says:

    KA BEN PHIRI RUNNING MALAWI, MORE POWERFUL THAN THE OLD MAN. HISTORY REPEATING ITSELF. AT ONE POINT WE HAD JZU TEMBO.
    SO MALAWI IS THAT CHEAP EEH? SURELY, BEM IS RUNNING STATE HOUSE. I THINK HE’S THE real first lady. I BEAUTIFY MALAWI WO KUNGOPHIMBA WANTHU M’MASO.

  18. moto mwikho says:

    Do not worry, you are not a potential appointee. You seem to be an idealist, there is a risk in everything but this can never stop a Chief Executive from exercising his executive right. Life must go on.

  19. Alufeyo says:

    You may wish to know that George Mkondiwa takes instructions from Ben Phiri. Ben Phiri also runs statehouse and government. Let us not worry too much because soon very soon God will intervene. The public service has become a joke not worth talking about. Well we owe this to Maxom Mbendera.

  20. Its unfortunate, its scary indeed.

  21. Shoeshine Phiri says:

    Ralph
    You seem to be an expert in every field and you have ended up jumping the gun. That’s not true to ay HE sangapange Fire ADC after 9 months?
    How long was muluzis with colonel Malonda as ADC? 3 months..
    You concentrate in areas you absolutely have no knowledge? ADC is just a presidential diary holder ?

  22. Qabaniso says:

    I concur with Ralph. If the appointees keep on being fired by the hand that appointed them then we can conclude that the hand did not do a good job in appointing them. So APM doesn’t come out clean in the hiring and firing melodrama at State House.

  23. Kambolo Pitala says:

    Good story Mr Tenthani. But l find nothing scary or surprising here.
    APM’s main problem is that he accommodates too much gossip. That is his main weakness and that will be his downfall.

    On the positive side: it is hilarious to see these former bootlickers, who were all over praising APM, being fired one by one. If he probably can also sack Masangwi and Ben Phiri, I will crown him Ngwazi III.

  24. marvelick says:

    Nice article…… President should take heed of your advice, straight t the point with astonishing examples…. ADC fired within a year, that z underrating the Army/MDF!!!

  25. KUKHALA says:

    THE FAILING AND MADAM PRESIDENT APM

  26. ujeni says:

    Ka Ben Phiri is running state house and government, a replica of once dictatorship states in North and West Africa which are now failed states

  27. onyamata othamo says:

    The president is experimenting on our lives. Something is terribly wrong.

  28. mosioatunga mosioatunga says:

    Zatonyanyatu

  29. Eluby says:

    I agree with Ralph when he said that the sacked persons had well established careers before going to State House.One of them is Dr Charles Thupi.The guy was a brilliant road safety expert working at National Road safety Council.He was fired from State House in June 2014 and he is just staying at home.He has not been redeployed despite being on contract.This is sad for someone who is 40 years old to have his career disturbed all because he once served Bingu and Joyce Banda.Government should consider this before firing.Whats the point to hire an ADC and redeploy him after 8 months in office.The people advising the President are not helping him.ADC is the closest person to the President.

    1. Patriot says:

      Kususuka mumasiya ntchito zabwino bwino kumapanga ndale ndizimenezo tu musova

  30. MBACHI says:

    HOW DO YOU EXPECT HIM TO RUN THIS GOVERMENT WELL IF HE IS FAILING TO RUN STATEHOUSE?

  31. EYE WITNESSES says:

    Scary indeed

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