Malawi’s First Lady, Gertrude Maseko Mutharika, the current wife of President Peter Mutharika handpicked niece, who was a teacher in her home district, Balaka and appointed her the lucrative post of deputy head of mission in Harare, Zimbabwe.
Nyasa Times has established that the First Lady imposed her sister’s daughter, Bertha Ndebele, to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation to send her to Zimbabwe as the second in command at the Malawi Embassy in Harare despite her having no background knowledge on international relations or diplomacy.
A highly placed source at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said: “The level of nepotistic behaviour by the Mutharika family is beyond reproach. They behave as if Malawi is a personal estate. By a word of mouth, the First Lady’s niece was made the Malawian deputy envoy to Zimbabwe. The First Lady’s wish is an unchallenged command in Malawi and they will is always done.”
“Zimbabwe and South Africa are very strategic when it comes to our embassies. It cannot be overemphasized how important are these countries when it comes to foreign trade and industry. They are sending their relations to strategic embassies like South Africa, Zimbabwe, and the UK leaving out competent people who would serve the country better and in a professional manner,” said the source.
The First Lady’s niece, Bertha Ndembele, who has a striking resemblance to her Mrs Mutharika, was until his nepotistic appointment to Harare as an envoy was a teacher at Balaka Secondary school.
Said the source: “We wonder why our country does not attract reputable foreign investors or indeed why we are poorly marketed in Africa when all that we do is but send incompetent people to represent our country abroad just because they are related to the president. It is sad that such a thing is happening in 2018.”
“President Peter Mutharika, of all people, after spending over 40 years in America, and as a law scholar and professor should have been the first one to appoint people into offices on merit and not based on blood relationship.
“The First Lady is very powerful and from the look of things, she is the one running the show. Check around and you will see that the First Lady is all over the place and has appointed all her relatives to powerful positions,” said the source.
The source explained that President Mutharika is not even in control at the moment suggesting that the ‘Lady of the State’ is the one calling the shots.
Said the source: “At and at the rate we are going she is fast becoming a race Mugabe and she is orchestrating Peter Mutharika’s fall.”
Dembele was appointed to deputise the the Malawi High Commissioner to Zimbabwe some months ago. This revelation comes barely days after it was revealed that President Peter Mutharika has handpicked appointed her niece, her late brother’s daughter as the first Secretary at the Malawian High Commission in Pretoria, South Africa.
Duwa Mutharika, the late President Bingu wa Mutharika’s daughter was working for a local church in South Africa as a pastoral secretary and a Sunday school teacher before his uncle, President Peter Mutharika gave her a high paying position at the Malawian Embassy in South Africa.
The DPP us synonymous with nepotism and favouritism andwell-known for employing t relations and people from their tribe, the Llomwes.
Nepotism and favouritism are two of the incurable cancers dwindling Malawi’s development as key strategic positions are given to relatives of those in power leaving out the competent and qualified people who could do the job well.
Mutharika is facing an unprecedented resistance for an incumbent—eligible for a second term as per the Malawi Constitution—from some DPP members canvassing for Chilima’s candidacy.
Former first lady Callista Mutharika—widow of Bingu who was the incumbent President’s elder brother—sparked the succession debate weeks ago when she said her in-law, 79, should pave the way for the comparatively youthful and energetic Chilima, 45, widely seen as a hands-on and results-oriented leader after he vibrantly led the Public Sector Reforms Programme that has since lost steam after being moved from his domain.
In the run-up to the May 20 2014 Tripartite Elections, Chilima took many people by surprise when he resigned from his lucrative job as Airtel Malawi managing director in the private sector to join active politics as Mutharika’s running mate. His gamble paid dividends when the pair triumphed in the elections.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :