Chilima promises new politics in Malawi: Wants robust civil service

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential running mate Saulos Chilima says the party will bring new thinking to politics especially in the way the civil service will be run when DPP wins the May 20 tripartite elections.

Speaking at a presidential running mates debate in Lilongwe Saturday evening, Chilima said it is now time that the civil service should not be controlled by ministers and that hard working civil servants be rewarded and sack those failing to meet their targets.

“Ministers should not assume the role of controlling officers of ministries, they are there for policy direction. The job of controlling affairs of the ministries should be left to Principal Secretaries,” said a visibly composed Chilima who bemoaned the undue political interference in public financial management.

Chilima, who has over 20 years’ experience in managing private sector enterprises, said it is now time that the civil services should be run as ‘a business’ where civil servants work in a performance driven environment.

The DPP presidetial ticket: Mutharika (left) and Chilima
The DPP presidetial ticket: Mutharika (left) and Chilima

“There must be robust performance management systems in place which will reward hard working civil servants while managing poor performers accordingly,” said Chilima.

Commenting on the infamous  corruption ‘cash-gate’ scandal, Chilima said the pilferage of government funds is as a result of ineffective systems, undue political influence, as well as selective application of the law against those who are involved.

An analyst who followed the debate very closely said Chilima has given hope to those who had not made up their minds on who to vote for in the May 20 tripartite elections.

“He articulated the issues so well; it is unfortunate that others did not get what he meant on the role of ministers in controlling ministries. It is common fact that although ministers do not sign cheques, they are the ones who effectively decide who gets what contract and who get paid.

“We need solutions as suggested by Chilima for us to have an effective civil service,” said the analyst.

Political science lecturer at the Chancellor College, a constituent college of the University of Malawi Dr Mustafa Hussein also noted that Chilima gave plausible answers in his area of expertise.

Responding to an audience question on why voters should trust him enough to cast their vote in favour of the DPP, Chilima said he brings fresh thinking to politics.

“I bring new generation leadership, not just youth. The experience I have will help the DPP in government to improve the civil service. That is the vision of our party’s president Prof Arthur Peter Mutharika”, he said.

Chilima, who resigned as Airtel Malawi Managing Director to pursue political career,  expressed confidence that the DPP ticket of Peter Mutharika and Chilima will be victorious in the elections.

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