Fewer ‘handclapers’, more professionals but gender bias: Malawians welcome Chakwera’s board appointments 

Some Malawians, especially on social media, have come out to welcome President Lazarus Chakwera’s choice of people to run 67 parastatal boards of the country.

Former first lady Callista Mutharika appointed board member

On Wednesday, Chakwera—through Secretary to the President and Cabinet Zanga-Zanga Chikhosi—released names of board of directors after a continued cry from the general public with the delay.

Unlike in previous regime where chiefs, ex-politicians, party zealots and handclapers would take up the lead in all the boards, Chakwera’s choice has refreshed the country as his list is defined with an encouraging composition of professionals, technocrats, academics and a fair gender balance.

Among the renowned people on list include academicians such as Professor Blessings Chinsinga, Dr Boniface Dulani, and Dr Sunduzwayo Madise. Also in the selection includes researcher Dr Henry Chingaipe.

Another notable feature is that all Universities, save for Mzuzu University, are being chaired by former academics—mostly professors.

Writing on his social media page, former journalist working as a diplomat at Malawi High Commission in London,  Kondwani Munthali waxed lyrical of the selection, saying: “On the boards, its mixed bag, something expected of an alliance administration. I am happy with technocrats and ok rewarding loyalists. Seen all parties included!”

Another commentator wrote: “The list of people on Board of directors looks impressive. Much than the cabinet one!”

However, taking a different route, social media commentator Onjezani Kenani congratulated people who have made it various with a word of caution.

He wrote: “Congratulations to the new boards, and specifically to all friends who have been appointed to them.

“The generational takeover is evident. I hope, however, that the change of generation will also mean a change in the way we do things. When I worked for a parastatal, my conclusion was that board members are interested only in allowances.

“Once, when a grandfather of a board member died, the entire board asked us to give them sitting allowances to attend the funeral.

“I tried blocking the payment, then got a call from the responsible cabinet minister. “I hear you are blocking the sitting allowances to board members?” I said, “Yes.” “Pay them.”

“That was the order, and we had no choice but to pay. If you look back over the last 56 years, our statutory corporations have been decaying slowly because of this. Boards want to milk them.

“Members of Parliament serving in different committees want to milk them. Political parties in power want to milk them. Who is there to build them?” he said.

On his take, governance commentator Makhumbo Munthali told Nyasa Times that there is a  combination of  “competence or expertise and reward for patronage.”

He said the overall picture shows that the Board is an “improved version”  as compared to the previous boards, and perhaps that’s why it has brought some public excitement.

“It certainly cannot be said to be the best or perfect board but something that we can build on moving forward. : It’s good that in this board there is no domination of traditional leaders being chairpersons of boards typical of DPP era,” he said.

However, Munthali noted that  there is inconsistency in terms of gender inclusion in order to meet minimum standards as provided by Gender Equality Act.

“There we go again.  A fragrant breach of the law as laid down in the gender equality Act. In some of the boards there is zero representation of women, while in some there is women representation but not meeting the 40/60 threshold. Only in a few boards where the 40/60 threshold has been met. The law continues to be breached. What next?”

Nonetheless, Munthali said political will and non-executive political interference will be key towards ensuring that these boards turn around things in their respective parastatals.

“It is not enough to have boards with qualified and competent professionals. The Tonse alliance government should provide a conducive environment for these parastatals by avoiding political interference in the way the boards discharge their duties,” he said.

Minister of Information, Gospel Kazako, said the president has appointed the right people on the board that agree to Tonse administration agendas.

“As an alliance government, we want to have people that agree to Tonse administration agendas. This time around we are not going to give positions on appeasement but rather we are looking at qualifications and experience among others,” Kazako said.

Other notable faces in the boards, in various positions, include former first lady Callista Bingu w Mutharika , UTM Party director of youth Bon Kalindo as board members,  lawyer Justine Dzonzi,  Khwesi Msusa,  Dr Sosten Chiotha,  Dr Mwapatsa Mipando and Khama Matumbi.

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Ziggy
Ziggy
1 month ago

Even tell academics who are appointed there are either from sympathisers, fro that region or were critics of DPP. They are not there because they are professionals. Search me. Give us their achievements

PHRIWAPHIRI
1 month ago

WONGANI, YOU NOT TELLING THE TRUTH, THEY START NOW THEY CANT AFFORD TO LOSE BENEFITS SHAMEEEEEEEEEEEEE

cheketa Njowe
1 month ago

Let us be realistic here. Chakwera/Chilima is also assimilating cronies, friends and relatives into the government system. Gospel Kazako was not even ashamed to speak loudly saying the previous government was employing people anyhow picking everybody even though one is not qualifying for the job. If i may ask Gospel who failed his MSCE at HHI secondary school, Sidik Mia and Abida Mia who are all ministers. If indeed these people have the right qualifications required, can they tell Malawians what their qualifications are? And Gospel, are you not ashamed to refer your argument by mentioning the dismissal of Seod… Read more »

Mkanda Gudu
Mkanda Gudu
1 month ago
Reply to  cheketa Njowe

Looks like Gospel is a thorn in your fresh. Gospel did not the Soedis, Mzatis and Mmanas were sacked due to not having “erudite papers” as you have called them. But they were shown the exit as proper procedures were not followed when employing them. If Gospel’s Zodiak was supported by Italian, then he is super smart to have attracted a supporter to build something that is employing a lot of people and being a better media house although you are alleging he failed MSCE

George Malemu
George Malemu
1 month ago
Reply to  cheketa Njowe

Gospel is a Chanco graduate who graduated not many years ago, check the chanco alumni list, you are talking of the old Gospel

Destroyer of liars
1 month ago

That’s the difference between developed and poor countries. Developed countries emphasize on efficiency and good results not academic achievements. Poor countries like Malawi are not interested in results oriented personnel but academic qualifications. Any wonder that many Malawians have questionable qualifications? If Malawi had real professionals, we wouldn’t still be too poor. These professionals would have been creating jobs instead of themselves looking for jobs. We need creative professionals not job seeking crooks under cover of being professionals. Didn’t adadi, a highly rated lawyer ( a professional) fail us? Didn’t Bingu , a renowned economist, fail us? How many professional… Read more »

Concerned citizen
1 month ago

Please emphasis on delivery. We need services delivered in an innovative and transformative manner.

There is no room for idle hands.

Benjones
Benjones
1 month ago

We now wait to see the performance. We need development.

Test
Test
1 month ago

I must agree good selection but gender Biased

monosile
monosile
1 month ago
Reply to  Test

At least sigh of breath for mama Calista, you played a very significant roll for UTM.

Chacharito
Chacharito
1 month ago
Reply to  monosile

A Calista apezeko yaku Saloon koma akanawapitisako ku Embassy.

Nabetha
Nabetha
1 month ago
Reply to  monosile

GOOOOO KONKO FOR MAMA CALISTA CHISANGALALO KUTI WA WA WA WA!! ESTHER CHAP 4 VERSE 14.

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