President Peter Mutharika has come under criticism from University of Malawi’s Chancellor College political lecturer Boniface Dulani and an authoritative daily newspaper on his decision to demote Chief Secretary to government George Mkondiwa to be a diplomat and the former National Intelligence Services chief, Nicholas Dausi, who will be doubling as government spokesperson after the firing of Malison Ndau.
Mutharika’s frequent cabinet reshuffles are faulted for creating instability and duplication of responsibilities for some ministries and departments which affects their efficiency.
Dulani said the appointments announced on Monday reflect badly on President Mutharika.
“When you have a President appointing three or four people to fill the same position within a span of two to three years, it reflects poorly on the appointing authority. If these people have not delivered according to expectations, it also means that he [Mutharika] has been selecting wrong people for these positions,” said Dulani in comments published in The Nation, daily newspaper on Tuesday.
Dulani also faulted the axe of Ndau without any apparent reason, saying “something must have happened.”
The political scientist said it’s high time Malawians start “challenging” Presidential prerogative to hire and fire in line with tenets of democracy of promoting transparency and accountability.
“I think the President needs to explain to Malawians, publicly, why he felt it necessary to dismiss [Ndau] just so suddenly,” Dulani said.
Dulani also queried Mutharika on the appointment of spy chief Dausi as Minister of Information and Communication.
“So someone, who is apparently knowledgeable in intelligence now he is at the core of communication? If we recall, at the beginning of his term when the President was appointing ministers [he] requested for CVs.
“He promised to be appointing people based on their expertise. Now, it seems that has fallen down the road because if you look at the recent reshuffles, it moved people into ministries that they certainly are not expertise in,” said Dulani.
He said Dausi appointment falls into the category of appointing people in position which he is not an expert but for political expediency.
“We seem to be moving into the direction where there are presidents that have started well but very quickly get caught up with political experience,” observed Dulani.
He also faulted Mutharika for “demotion” of Mkondiwa from chief secretary to government to be Malawi High Commissioner in India, saying he is finding himself in a position where as an ambassador he will be answerable to the chief secretary, Lloyd Muhara who was his deputy.
“But again, it is to do with the whole secrecy that no one wants to tell us really [why] he is being redeployed. He is a long time career civil servant, well versed in the affairs of the civil service,” Dulani is quoted saying.
Muhara was commissioner general of Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) until 2014 when then president Joyce Banda appointed him High Court judge but Mutharika hired him as deputy chief secretary to prepare him to head the civil service.
And in its editorial. The Nation commented on Mutharika’s ceaseless appetite of rolling and changing some cabinet portfolios, saying it is currently hitting prime levels of worry.
Titled, ‘Rolling ministers won’t gather moss’, the paper’s editorial comment backed Dulani’s assertions that it is difficult to make sense of three personnel changes, just in a period of two years , at the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology.
“As a ministry which has the mandate to lead, coordinate and manage public information and awareness, issues of administrative stability do not need to be overemphasised,” said the paper.
It also agreed with Dulani that the President’s prerogative to hire and fire need s to be exercised “within the realms of rationality.”
The daily reminded President Mutharika of his earlier promise of appointing people on merit.
It observed that the “ceaseless appointments are becoming a threat not just to meritocracy, but also the quest for institutional stability which is key to implementing and sustaining government policies.”
Mutharika’s first Cabinet reshuffle was done 11 months after becoming President in which he swapped three Cabinet ministers.
The second was in August last year when he fired Paul Chibingu and Trasizio Gowelo as ministers of Lands, Housing and Urban Development and Local Government and Rural Development respectively.
Mutharika’s third reshuffle since taking over power after his triumph in the May 20 2014 Tripartite Elections was done in April 2016 in which he sacked one senior minister, Thyolo South-West member of Parliament (MP) Allan Chiyembekeza, who served as Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, moving around several others and drafted in one new face as deputy minister, but maintained a lean team of 20.
Meanwhile, Dr. Isaac Munlo has been recalled from India and will be Chief Director in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Corporation, according to State House statement.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :