Vice President Saulos Chilima has said his UTM Party, President Lazarus Chakwera’s Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and seven other parties who make the Tonse Alliance that won the June 23 Fresh Presidential Election actually sent a “gang of thugs” out of the government.
The governing Tonse Alliance ousted the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) which Chilima served as State Vice-President but kept accusing it of rampant corruption while as its second-in-command until he formed his UTM to advance a transformational change agenda.
Speaking at Kamuzu Palace as the presidency marked 100 days in office, Chilima reminded that the struggle for transformational change was not without drama and paid tribute to some frontline troops who died.
In his speech, Chilima, who is also Minister of Economic Planning and Development and Public Sector Reforms, said the Tonse Administration led by Chakwera, has put public sector reforms as one of the items on top of its agenda and that the President tasked him to lead and drive the Reforms agenda.
He said the Public Sector Reforms, in general, seek to improve the public administration of the State, its roles and functions as well as the effectiveness and efficiency of public service institutions in a systemic and sustainable manner.
“We are talking of sustainability because our reforms must bring about enduring changes in the manner in which public sector actors act with the aim of bringing about meaningful and lasting development. We are, therefore, aiming at ensuring institutionalized structural changes and permanent behavioural changes,” said Chilima.
He said the reforms which he is championing, are an answer to the “cries for change” that the people of Malawi have for so long hoped for but never realized.
“The Reforms are a first step towards permanently institutionalizing the people’s choice of a responsive citizen-centric government that they voted into power on 23rd June, 2020. Indeed, these Reforms are a culmination of tireless efforts of many Malawians of various walks of life, from women hawking peanuts to lawyers in wigs and gowns, from plumbers to big-hitting executives, from local community organizers to senior battle-hardened politicians who fought tirelessly and in great unity to bring about a dramatic but inevitable electoral victory for all well-meaning Malawians,” said Chilima in a powerful oratory.
Chilima pointed out that Malawians did not seek electoral victory for its own sake.
“Neither did they view electoral victory as an end in itself. No. Rather, they sought to change this country’s fortunes by first changing its leadership. Their ultimate aim, I dare say, is to have a fairer society and live healthier and happier lives. For that reason, they voted into power a leadership that promised to, among other things, reform the public sector in order to bring about true change that Malawians actually voted for on 23rd June.,” said Chilima, a pro-democracy campaigner while as a student at Chancellor College when Malawi ushered multi-party democracy in 1994.
Chilima said sustainable reforms must necessarily go through three phases, saying there could be more but for the purposes of the Monday event, he collapsed them into three.
“These are i. Deliberate plan to change government bureaucracy; ii. Injection of fresh ideas into policy, structures and processes; and iii. Monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of the injected ideas,” he said.
The vice-president said , throughout these phases, Tonse administration overarching aim is to ensure efficient, effective and responsive public service by implementing innovative, systemic and wide ranging changes aimed at delivering to the people; an improved service delivery; Decentralised and devolved functions; Effective government machinery; Enhanced transparency and accountability with attendant value for money; Enhanced professionalism by civil servants and all public officers; Improved revenue collection and improved citizen satisfaction and trust in public bodies
He said these are the practical and tangible deliverables of President Chakwera’s transformative leadership premised on five key principles, being – Servant leadership; Prospering together; Ending corruption; Rule of law; and National unity.
Chilima said the public sector reform program is an on-going exercise, saying at the moment they have concluded the design phase and that some ministries, departments and agencies have already embarked on implementation of the agreed parameters of reform.
He said there are two cross cutting Reforms – Legal and Financial Sustainability, saying in order to achieve all these, government will deploy a Results Based Model which will derive from activities to the benefits for the citizens.
Chilima said Tonse leaders are not naïve and must remain alive to the complexity of the challenges which include: Highly politicised civil service; Poor staff management riddled with nepotism, tribalism and sheer pettiness; iii. Weak accountability; Anaemic revenue collection; Institutionalised corruption and, with it, entrenched interests; Low staff morale; and Very weak citizens’ trust in public bodies
“Even as we admit that these challenges exist,” said Chilima, “we must never tire to reform the public sector and deliver to the best of our effort. We must continue on this otherwise torturous but highly fulfilling path of repositioning and repurposing the public sector so that this Government can truly become ‘a government of the people, by the people, for the people’. Only then can we truly call ourselves in full compliance of the Tonse Philosophy. “
Chilima said reforms are like breathing, “if you stop you die. Let’s continue with this effort “
The vice president said what he outlined was a “synopsis” on the Reforms but said President Chakwera has the “full picture of our 100 days journey.”
In inviting President Chakwera to address, Chilima described him as “a man who God has given the people of Malawi to serve through this phase “Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :