Abuse, impunity at Malawi embassy in Ethiopia

At the Malawi Embassy offices in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, some employees who were sent there for being DPP loyalists are yet to accept that Peoples Party (PP) of President Joyce Banda is now in power as they continue with their culture of impunity, harassment and marginalization that epitomized the eight-year-old DPP reign.

Investigations by Nyasa Times have revealed that some senior members of staff at the Embassy who are all loyalists of the DPP continue stressing out those deemed to be anti-DPP in spite of the dramatic political changes that have occurred in the country.

Malawi changed leadership last month in the most peaceful transfer of power from late President Bingu wa Mutharika, leader of DPP to President Joyce Banda who leads the PP.

Munlo: Malawi envoy in Ethiopia

Sources within the Embassy and the wider Malawi community in Addis Ababa told Nyasa Times in separate interviews that Malawians working there are still living in the Mutharika era where sovereignty of mind is yet to be exercised.

Every employee deemed to be anti-DPP is still treated as if the party is still in power, according to the agent.

“For instance, phone calls made at the Embassy through the switch board line by suspected anti-DPP diplomats continue to be listened to,” said our mole.

The person who has allegedly been snooping on other people’s conversations is the ever powerful DPP diehard, Justin Likharu who is the First Secretary at the Embassy responsible for Administration and Accounts.

Likharu, a very close confidante of the Ambassador, Isaac Munlo, has over the years been eavesdropping on telephone conversations of his workmates to monitor whether or not they were supporting the late President Mutharika’s administration.

The first secretary used the information to update the high commissioner and other ruling DPP bigots back home, according to an employee at the Embassy.

The Malawi Embassy in Addis Ababa has seven Malawian employees.

Just a few days ago, Likharu was caught red handed eavesdropping to a conversation between one of the Embassy’s diplomats who was discussing with an outsider an incident in which the Embassy’s official minibus was seen ferrying the ambassador’s children to a private party which took place at Hilton Hotel in the city.

“Immediately after the conversation, Likharu phoned the diplomat in question and reacted angrily to the contents of the conversation with the outsider and defended the ambassador saying he had the privileges to use any official transport in any way he wants it,” explained the source.

He added: “After being confronted the administrator admitted his mistake but other diplomats contended that their right to privacy had being violated for long enough and called for a final corrective

However, according to a circular reference no EA/1/3/06 of 14th September 2011, issued by the Malawi’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to all Malawi missions, government directed authorities at the missions to ensure that no vehicle transports diplomats’ children to and from school and that all vehicles allocated to that purpose be used as a pool vehicles for the offices.

But while all other diplomats complied with the instruction, a member of the Malawi community staying not far from Munlo’s residence, expressed surprise as to why the Embassy’s official 12-seater minibus
continues transporting the ambassadors’ two children to and from school.
Coming to abuse of funds, Nyasa Times can reveal that according to another Ministry of Foreign Affairs circular ref no EA/5/2/01 dated 30th Nov 2011, the ambassador’s entitlement for house rent is US$3,700 per month but Munlo continues occupying a house whose rental is US$5,000 per month.

This is against the guidelines and orders which the ministry issued regarding rental ceilings to the various categories of diplomats.

An employee at the Embassy told Nyasa Times during the last two years, some diplomats perceived to be against the then ruling DPP were given arbitrary rental ceilings and entitlements for their rentals and were told to top up using their own monies for them to have reasonable accommodation.

Recently, the workers threatened to petition the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, according to the source, over Munlo’s unprofessional conduct of his duties citing the way he had been delegating foreign trips only to his loyalists instead of deserving officers.

“For example, just a few weeks ago he delegated his secretary to represent the office in Djibouti during an investment and business opportunities forum when officers responsible for these matters were present,” bemoaned the source.

President Joyce Banda is in the process of replacing some envoys in the Malawi missions in an effort to make the offices more vibrant by appointing deserving Malawians and not basing on loyalty or tribe.

Efforts to reach the diplomats at the Ethiopia embassy for comment were unsuccessful.

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