Implementation of reforms: If wishes were horses, Malawi would ride

“The President and his government must be interested in the health of the economy. Any leader who is not interested in the health of the economy gets overthrown by the economy itself.” -Sam Mpasu, former Malawi Parliament’s Speaker

In a move that scoffs at President Peter Mutharika’s government’s own Public Service Reforms recommendation to trim principal secretaries (PSs); Chief Secretary to the Government, Mr George Mkondiwa has been given a new three-year contract.

Mkondiwa: New appetising contract
Mkondiwa: New appetising contract

The new contract will see him at the helm of civil service up to 2018, approximately 1,095 days past his “sell-by date”.

As if to rub in the insult on Vice President Dr. Saulos Chilima, the man who was chairing the Public Service Reforms; high level informants have confided that as per the Chief Secretary’s top-secret new contract, his perks are now at par with those of the Vice President.

Reform recommendations:

In its report, the Public Service Reforms Commission made several recommendations after noting that the civil service’s 96 PSs against 20 Cabinet portfolios made little or no sense.

Verbatim, the recommendation reads:

“The rightsizing in the number of principal secretaries [PSs] by fifty-six [56] from the current ninety-six [96] to forty [40] by deleting irrelevant portfolios, deploying some PSs and exiting those that may not be required within the system.”

The commission also recommended that a decent one-off exit package should be offered to PSs and an examination of the entire civil service to determine the total structure and delete all irrelevant positions in order to develop a lean and vibrant organisation.

An elephant in the room?

The renewal of Mkondiwa’s contract, who was expected to leave office by November 25, 2015 when he attains 60 years of age (government’s mandatory retirement age); raises questions and casts a huge shadow on the much touted Saulos Chilima Reforms.

With this development, it is clear that the so called reforms are yet another decoy to be selectively applied and possibly used to victimize those deemed not to be “blue” enough, while zealots that are blue to the tooth are being awarded, in the name of reform, golden parachutes and gorgeous life lines to escape the bite of the reforms.

In the light of Mr Mkondiwa’s immunity from the sting of the reforms, the recommendation made by the Chilima Committee that PSs that have reached or about to reach the mandatory retirement age of 60 should be encouraged to retire early, was not worth the paper it was written on.

Further, I can dare submit that the entire reform exercise was just an expensive exercise in futility.

Spinning in vain:

While we are talking about futility, according to the Nation, Minister of Information, Tourism and Civic Education Jappie Mhango argued that Mkondiwa was yet to reach mandatory retirement age of 60.

The Nation has since established that Mkondiwa was, in fact, born on November 25 1955, and will be 60 years on the same date this year.

Therefore, he should have been high if not the first on the list of those offered “a decent one-off exit package” – whatever Chilima and his crew meant by that.

In other words, Mkondiwa was supposed to have retired by now. And at any rate, apart from reaching the mandatory age, the Chief Secretary has a large number of accumulated leave days meaning that he could go even now so that new and younger blood run the sinking ship called Malawi Public Service.

Mkondiwa ‘thicker’ than Chilima?

According to well-placed sources, Mkondiwa’s perks in the new contract have been heftily revised upwards, and his take-home package, at the end of his new contract,will place him at par with the Vice President’s retirement package.

Mr George Mkondiwa, Malawi’s top civil servant will cart home a princely package only due to former vice presidents.

If this is the “business unusual approach” that Pres Peter Mutharika promised upon taking office, then Malawi is under a “business absurd” regime!

Let me add that before the government spin doctors refute this, theyshould make the contents of the Chief Secretary’s contract open; so that the public can compare it with the Vice President’s package.

It goes without saying that empty refutations will not suffice on this one and table-banging antics appropriate for five year olds will only attract the ridicule they deserve.

Riddles and parables?

While it is a fact that Malawi has gone to the dogs under the current regime, one would have expected even the most hopeless of regimes to play and abide by its own rules.

If the Public Service Reforms exempt the Chief Secretary, why should the other 96 or so Principal Secretaries suffer?

Are they less Malawian than Mr Mkondiwa?

Again, equating the perks of the Chief Secretary to those of the Vice President is bound to send wrong signals and is, in the least, demeaning to the Constitutional Office of the Vice President and sets a wrong precedent.

When will the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) learn? Has it not gone down this road before only to end up in hell?Can it be that Pres Peter Mutharika is “speaking” in riddles and parables to Vice President Dr Saulos Chilima?

This, is for Dr. Saulos Chilima to solve.

Wachiwona ndani”government

To wrap up, anyone taking these so called “reforms” seriously has another think coming. For their own good, I would advise them to have their sanity checked.

Look at this: in addition to the shady contract renewal of Mr George Mkondiwa, the so-called reduction of PS’s is not authentic at all.

What the Mutharika government is doing is merely altering the titles of the PS’s that were supposed to be terminated, from PS to Chief/Senior Director, without any change in substance, packages and influence.

Hence, the bottom line is that the head count in the upper echelons is the same as before. Malawi on course to reform? If wishes were horses, beggars would ride!

Malawi under “transformational leadership”? You might as well try to convince me that you saw pigs flying and expect me to believe this crap.

Pres Peter Mutharika’s miserable attempt to reform the public service is at best, just an inconsequential horse-trading manoeuvre, that cannot deliver value for money to the tax-payer, and at worst, it is that card trick known as “wachiwona ndani?” in the vernacular.

Mapeto ake, tikuwombedwapo apa. How?Having and retaining people on government payroll when all they do is sit around playing bawo and scratching their backs during work hours is also a form of cash-gate.

No wonder service delivery is zero, the government has become overly defensive and as Sam Mpasu aptly put it, the economic turmoil may soon “overthrow” Mutharika.

My recommendation is: the over-aged, redundant and unproductive PSs must go, whether they are blue or not.

This is the sort of public service reform Malawi needs.

I rest.

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6 years ago

Dalitso ndi wasukulu komanso sizinachitike zinali ndale za PP zimezo.

6 years ago

‘Bang…..bang matebulo! Hey this nonsense has to stop! Ine ndine olemela nkale i cant embezzle money from poor malawians’……quoting….funny but pathetic n heart touching! Let it sound a fallacy that most of these political figures if not all act before they have fully reasoned hence commiting the very mistakes their predeccesors enjoyed, full of immaturity, lacking at worst universal moral norms and positive spiritual energy….thats why we have greedy guys and exective robbers and frauders at its best! Zonsezo zili apo, am just a student, but sees the sky is about to fall. If we had promoted the common good,… Read more »

mtima wa nyani
mtima wa nyani
6 years ago


mtima wa nyani
mtima wa nyani
6 years ago

paja anakatsekulila mitengoku malingunde- k za forestry- anayamba ndi muluzi -ambasada kwa amereca, ii nanga pitala – adyyera ma plojeketi a grey -silva ya bingu, nanga yogulitsa somba za lake malawi akweliamu, ku bichi ku salima, nanga zijazi, kudyetsa azimai mu 18 mu,
wadyela mdala uyu ndi mbwee zocitika. jb ankamubisa mkhwapa, kodi kulibe anthu ena oti mwaphuzitse nchitoyi? mugwila mpana litilo. nyumba ndi mbwee, ma alawasi mbweee, ana zizukulu skulu za kunja. ma untouchable a ku MW.

6 years ago

I can’t agree more with you the Wise One. This so-called-Reform is nothing but a ploy to hoodwink donors into giving this nation funds. There is a lot of dead wood in government departments that needs to be off-loaded and yet nothing seems to be moving in the right direction. Does the president even consult on such issues? We have the Reforms Committee and Dr Chilima himself at the helm who are entrusted to oversee this reform – are all these heads in favour of such poor decisions such as retaining Mr Mkondiwa who is now 60 to run the… Read more »

Presidential Advisor
6 years ago

…..they are doing these everywhere – ina ndi iyi ili ku MERA. MERAs directors’ contracts came to an end October 2015, and since there had been a restructuring, it meant that their posts were supposed to be advertised at the end of their contract in October, but being as tribalistic as these people are they have offered one of their own a new 3 years contract – the other 3 angoti kukamwa yasaa! Actually its a payback for his approving MERA to buy air tickets worth millions and millions for part of the DPP mulhakho entourage that went to UNGA.… Read more »

6 years ago

pajatu mumkati yaikazi sikoka ngolo

6 years ago

I hear Govt needs to downsize its civil service as per IMF recommendation but up to now there is nothing happening. IMF is coming back in December. I expected Govt to move with speed. Engage departments on which positions to delete. We have so many positions that we don’t need and require deletion. Anthu amangoyenda bawo m’maofesimu basi.

6 years ago

thats DPP always in self disruction mode!!!

muhlako weniweni
muhlako weniweni
6 years ago

This guy has a lot of money and yet he wants to continue embezzling Government funds. He’s the worst Chief Secretary Malawi has ever seen. He bribed Ben Phiri to have his contract renewed and increased his package. He is the only CS to have such a package yet work wise he’s useless. He dances to political tunes. He calls for PSs meetings to talk about useless things za zii without any substance. He’s the one who approved the UN General Assembly list. Big head but useless We have able people to do his job 20 times better. Basi even… Read more »

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