The unproductive presidential powers of  appointment, firing and redeployment

The recent announcement in the media that President Peter Mutharika has agreed to trim down his powers which is likely to include power of appointing various senior officers. This is  a very welcome development to say the least. It is believed that this is the recommendation by the Public Service  Reform committee headed by the Vice President  Saulos Chilima. Meanwhile, one can only hope that government red tape will not delay the legalisation of the decision.

President Mutharika and his deputy Chilima:  Reforms

President Mutharika and his deputy Chilima: Reforms

For a long time Malawians have been commenting  on the negative side of some of the presidential appointments of senior public officers be it in government or parastatals. Unfortunately, time and again the response to this has been that those who query the appointments are just being jealousy. In addition the authorities would quash down the general belief that the appointments have been on appeasement basis despite being obviously so.

One of the most glaring examples of appeasement appointments has been in boards of parastatal organisations. With all due respect, some of the members have no clue about the duties of the organization they have been assigned to, let alone know what they are supposed to do. They cannot even read and understand the  simplest document presented to them during board meetings.

If they are asked to say something at the meeting they irrelevantly just thank the appointing authority who is the State President. With such board membership should Malawians be wondering why parastatals seem not to progress?

Sometimes Presidential appointments seem to be a tool for punishment for reasons best known to the appointing authority. Time and again diplomatic staff are suddenly recalled  even if they have been on their posts less than a year. This is usually the case when there is a change of government. What has been deliberatelyoverlooked is the fact that those in the diplomatic service do not represent the ruling party but the Malawi nation. Worse still  some of the returnees from foreign service are left in suspense as if they had wronged government.

Even the way the army Commander General Odillo and his deputy John Msonthi were laid off before their contracts were finished gave a picture that they had done something wrong that the government could not wait. Their redeployment too as officers at Airport Development Ltd is as if the government is trying to make right the wrong.

To say the truth the position of an Army Commander is a very high and respectable position. Taking such a person to be just some officer at a parastatal organization is diluting the position. In fact they can be open to redicule and making fun of them. If this has been done in the past let it not continue because it is just like  employing a former Head of State as a District Commissioner.

The other group which seem to have suffered silently from Presidential appointments to State house are journalists. Though the appointments look lucrative the hidden agenda seem to be silencing those who are very good at making critical comments on topical issues. One wonders whether or not the journalists themselves see this negative side of the appointment. It is sad to see them derailed  in such a way that once their tour of duty is over or they have been dismissed, they end up no where and are not as powerful as they were before entering State House

It does not need a genius to know that a poor country like Malawi can benefit a lot from journalists who come up with thought provoking questions and comments to the authorities. These  encourage debate on various issues in the country and can lead to finding solutions. Those in power should know that Malawi has already passed a stage of saying yes ‘bwana’ to whatever the leaders say. Therefore finding a way of silencing journalists is a disservice to the nation which is likely to backfire.

Lastly, one can only hope that the President should not be involved in appointing or firing chiefs.  Their royal families know who should be next in line. Involving the President has just destroyed the genuine powers of the chiefs and createa lot of wrangles.

Let the appointing powers be reduced so that all Malawians can have equal opportunity

  • Emily Mkamanga.    [email protected]
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11 thoughts on “The unproductive presidential powers of  appointment, firing and redeployment”

  1. Nozgani says:

    In some cases, he does even powers to appoint people. He just abuses. If you read many of the Acts of parliament, especially for parastatals, you will find that it is the board that has powers to appoint the CEO, but the president steals the powers from the board. E.g MBC, MACRA. The board is supposed to appoint the CEO. So the problem is abuse of office. Unfortunately, no one challenges the president for abuse of office.

  2. titus Scoti says:

    Zakhala bwino, tonse tizikachita interview osangoti “it has pleased the president” and yet amakhala andale atapereka maina a anthu omwe akuwafuna kuti akwezedwe. Anthu olimbikira ntchito n’kumangotuwa odyerera n’kukhala anthu aulesi, mediocrity at its best! Congrats to APM for considering to have some of his powers reduced. It takes a Democrat to accept such. The next 5 years things will be different in the public sector when the proposal is put into being.

  3. Ezekiel says:

    Public appointment should really be in the hands of this commission otherwise our nation will be heading to another disaster. I dislike how these position being appointed by president it seems there some bad advissors who advise president wrongly that’s you see these appointment being in this way which is very bad. And am still praying for my country because these so called politicians are destroying this beautiful country. Any way only God can judge them.

  4. nanthola says:

    Nice article emily

  5. Achimidzimidzi says:

    I do agree with you, Emily but these politicians will try as much as possible to cheat us. I have lost trust now. National debate turns into personal attacks and campaign issue.

    They will always find means of going round the ‘firing and redeploying people.’ Just to reward their supporters and relatives, and as a means of punishing the apparent opposition. Yet for someone to grow needs opposition or resistance.

    In their minds we are reduced to tourists and not citizens of this country.

  6. lilian says:

    Very true.I have seen budding professionals being dumped and just stay at home yet are highly qualified.reason of being at home being they served previous administration. Izi za giving presidents powers zithe

  7. Kafodya Imdzomdzo says:

    this is the way to go, we should have trodden this way long time ago. However, we are heading there now. Thumbs up malawi.

  8. Mmtumbuka opusa says:

    , I don’t agree at all with you when you say Army commander being deputy CEOS is same as president being made DC. That’s too extreme an example. First our military commanders should avoid being seen political and should be accountable. Up to now Cashgate is being piled on MDF and yet they are refusing access to ACB…

  9. johnM says:

    On chiefs, my position is clear. We are a republic thus chieftainship should be abolished. It runs contra to our republican constitution. In the modern world, power obtained through hereditary means should not exist.

  10. Thumbwefu says:

    GOOD ANALYSIS . EXAMPLE IS PIRILANI PHIRI OF ZBS WITH HIS TIUZENI ZOONA, NOW THE PROGRAM IS LESS ATRACTIVE AFTER HE WAS FISHED OUT FROM THE RADIO FOR CHILIMA.

  11. inayake says:

    Thought provoking. But I think its not only the appointing that needs to addressed but ensuring that termed is completed without political interference. But I agree, with de-limiting presidential powers and PAC critically and transparently endorsing candidates.

Comments are closed.