Court stops Malawi govt from demoting 15 District Commissioners

The High Court in Blantyre on Friday granted an injunction to 15 District Commissioners (DCs) against Ministry  of Local Government who demote them.

According to lawyer Ambokire Salimu from Salimu and Associates representing 3 of the 12 DC’s, Judge Sylvester Kalembe has set aside August 25 as the date for inter-party hearing of the application.

Nyasa Times first reported on Thursday that gpvernment nullified the promotion of 13 of its District Commissioners, and those of Directors of Chiefs Administration, and that of Planning, in the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development who were promoted during the Joyce Banda administration

The Ministry of Local Government demoted 15 DCs and Administration Officers because their positions did not exist in the civil service.

But the DCs rushed to court to seek relief.

Some of the District Commissioers
Some of the District Commissioers

Banda promoted 21 District Commissioners (DCs) to  Civil Service Grade of E/S3 equivalent to that of a Senior Deputy Secretary  after seven years of waiting since the approval of a functional review in the year 2005, which pegged the position of a DC to that grade.

Among the five DCs who have been demoted from P2 to P3 include DC for Chiradzulu James Manyetera, DC for Nkhotakota James Kanyangalazi, DC for Salima Rev Moses Chimphepo and DC for Mulanje Jack Ngulube.

Three directors at the Ministry of Local Government affected by the demotion include director of chiefs Lawrence Makonokaya, director of rural development Emmanuel Bambe and a Miss Chimphamba who have been moved back to P3 from P2.

Four new female DCs have also been affected by the demotion, namely Memory Kaleso for Neno, Reinhard Chavula-Kavita for Machinga, Fanny Msimuko of Ntchisi and Rosemary Moyo for Karonga who were promoted to either P4 or P3.

Others who have been demoted from their various new posts are Grace Chirwa of Chitipa, Atanasio Chibwana of Blantyre District Council, Peter Jimusole of Likoma Island and Malango Botomani of Dowa

The demotion also drew wrath of Malawi’s flagship daily newspaper, The Nation, which said in its editorial comment on Friiday arguing that there is no justification for the demotions.

If there was a mistake to promote these officials, the officials are not to blame but government itself. A proper way of dealing with the situation should have been found and not the way it has been done.

It should also be pointed out that the DCs and directors were promoted during the government of former president Joyce Banda. There is fear that misinterpretations will arise, that is, whether government is there to reverse decisions made by the previous government.

The editorial comment urged the Peter Mutharika-led administration “to stick to its promise of motivating the civil service by not demoting them but find ways of correcting mistakes if they were any.”

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