Former Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Christopher Makileni is suing the Malawi Government for “constructive dismissal” and is claiming MK 1.1 billion in compensation and other benefits for the remaining period of his service.
In a letter of demand from his lawyers, Ralph and Arnold to the Attorney General, Makileni argues that he was posted away from the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to the Office of the President and Cabinet on 3rd June, 2014 by the then Chief Secretary to the Public Service, Hawa Ndilowe.
According to the lawyers, the former Chief Secretary told Makileni that she was under strict instructions from President Peter Muthalika that he should be posted to OPC Special Duties.
He was further told to wait at home while the OPC was making some logistical and administrative arrangements for him. In the process, the OPC snatched his official vehicle a Toyota Prado TX such that he has been surviving on his personal transport resources
Seven months down the line, he is just hibernating at home. On this basis, Makileni is convinced beyond reasonable doubt that Government does not want to work with him and has as such constructively dismissed him.
Constructive dismissal is a term used in Employment Law. It occurs when an employee terminates employment because their employer’s behaviour has become so intolerable or heinous or made life so difficult that the employee has no choice but to quit. Since the termination was not truly voluntary, it is in effect a dismissal.
In the year 2004, while working with the office of the Vice President, the previous DPP Government arrested. Makileni on trumped up charges, he was acquitted by the Lilongwe Chief Resident Magistrate Court in 2007 and was paid compensation of MK 36 million. He is likely to be compensated again this time around.
Makileni was brought to the Ministry of Local Government on promotion by the Peoples Party administration. His two year stay turned tables upside down as he championed the promotion of staff working in local councils.
Morale has gone down in the councils as the current management is fighting to bring down all the good things he planned for council employees. It is on record that some 15 District Commissioners fate remains in limbo since the nullification of their promotions.
Most senior council employees are now looking at alternative avenues as the future in the Ministry of Local Government looks gloomy.