A Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) executive member George Saonda has been rewarded with a top and lucrative position in government for his outbursts and verbal attacks on key opposition figures during political rallies of DPP which were held last month by President Arthur Peter Mutharika in Thyolo and Ndirande, Nyasa Times can reveal.
Saonda was appointed as a Director of National Public Events, a very senior government position, for castigating leader of opposition Dr Lazarus Chakwera at the two rallies.
According to a source within the ruling DPP , Saonda has replaced Scholastica Chidyaonga who has since been redeployed to the Department of Disaster and Relief where she has been given a non-established position of Director of Recovery.
“The appointment of Saonda came hot on the heels of his unwarranted outburst against Chakwera at a rally which took place in Thyolo on 12 th July when he openly castigated Chakwera calling him all sorts of names in the presence of President Peter Mutharika who did not reprimand him when he took to the podium,” said the source.
The source said a few days later on 16th July, Saonda was rewarded with the position as a Director of National Events as a token of appreciation for castigating Chakwera who is also the president of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and a fierce critic of the incumbent president whom he accuses of rigging the 2014 elections.
The newly appointed minister of Information Jappie Mhango could not be drawn to comment on the matter saying he is yet to settle in his office as he has just been appointed following a cabinet reshuffle.
APM, as the president is called by his admirers, excited Malawians a few months ago when he revealed that he had approved a recommendation by the Public Service Reform Commission (PSRC) to have the powers of the president especially on appointment of senior public officials trimmed.
“As this was not enough on July 19 in Ndirande Malabada, Saonda in full DPP regalia was at it again, although he was already a civil servant, castigated Chakwera again. This is a clear violation of the rules and regulations of the Civil Service which stipulates that one is not supposed to be involved in party politics,” said the source.
The source said Saonda do not possess any sound academic credentials which can qualify him to hold such a senior position in the civil service but was simply rewarded because of his outbursts and that he comes from the same village with the President, Kamoto in Goliati, Thyolo.
“Contrary to APM’s pledge, when he assumed the reins of power, that he will not appoint people to public position based on political affiliations, district of origin, the trend has been the opposite. People from the Lomwe belt are being rewarded with lucrative positions in government despite having questionable academic background. This also defeats the whole essence of the much touted Public Service Reform,” said the visibly frustrated DPP official.
However, a human rights activist Billy Mayaya said the tendency by the president of appointing party zealots to public positions is retrogressive as it demotivates career civil servants.
“We challenge the president to lead by example. The starting point is that he should push in Parliament amendments to current legislation that gives the President absolute power in decisions including public appointments,” said Mayaya.
Mayaya further said the country can’t grow and develop if every decision is based on party politics instead of good policies, adding that Malawians have allowed politicians to get away with abuses for too long saying this must stop and for it to stop the president must lead the way.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :