Governance expert Makhumbo Munthali has observed that the replacement of Malawi Police Service (MPS) Inspector General (IG) Lexten Kachama with Rodney Jose in an acting capacity leaves a lot to be desired.
Munthali remarks comes in the wake of confusion with what State House has said about the removal of Kachama and Chief Secretary to government’s position on the former police chief.
Presidential spokesman Mgeme Kalilani said in a statement that Jose’s appointment was necessitated by Kachama going out on a 90-day annual leave.
The statement said Kachama’s annual leave which began on April 1 2018 will take him to the date of his retirement on June 30 2018.
“What His Excellency the President Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika has done therefore, is simply to appoint the Deputy Inspector General of Police; Mr. Rodney Jose as Acting Inspector General of Police to fill the gap created by the aforementioned administrative arrangement.
“The decision to appoint an Acting Inspector General of Police is meant to avoid a leadership vacuum in the Police service while Dr. Kachama is on leave pending retirement,” said Kalilani in the statement.
Chief Secretary to the Government Lloyd Muhura said Jose would be acting IG with Duncan Mwapasa as deputy IG (Operations) and John Nyondo as deputy IG (Administration).
He said post of substantive IG would be subject to confirmation by the Public Appointments Committee although Section 154 (2) actually says the appointee would be confirmed by the National Assembly as a Committee of the whole House.
In a letter to Kachama dated February 28 2018. Muhara said Kachama has 36 leave days which he needs to exhaust before retiring.
The 36 days of leave would not take Kachama to 30 June – the date of his retirement – hence the appointment of Jose seems to have been fast-tracked.
Muhara in the letter advised Kachama to proceed on leave during which he will also wait for retirement, essentially sacking him.
Under the Malawi Public Service Regulations, a person reaching mandatory retirement age is supposed to be informed three months in advance.
The appointment of Jose follows a series of social media insinuations by the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) operatives suggesting Kachama is a member of the opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and he is contemplating standing as an MP on the party’s ticket in 2019.
He denied such assertions and the ‘sacking’ seemed to have been eminent.
The governance expert pointed out that there many civil servants who have reached retirement age and are still working in government.
Munthali also denounced the appointment of Jose, saying it may be perceived as “miscarriage of justice” and also some form of “rewarding injustice” considering that he was named as suspect in the murder of Robert Chasowa, a fourth year engineering student at the Polytechnic, a college of the University of Malawi.
Chasowa was found dead on campus on September 24 2011. Police said his death was suicide, but a post-mortem by a College of Medicine histopathologist, Charles Dzamalala, established that the death resulted from assault to the head with a blunt instrument or instruments.
Jose is named as the link between Chasowa and company and then police when he was serving as Southern Region Police commissioner.
Political and governance commentator Ernest Thindwa said the confusion on the issue was an indication of the need to professionalise the public service with a clear career progression outline.
He said: “When that [the outline] is not there, you have such appointments not based on merit, but political expediency.”
However, government spokesperson Nicholas Dausi, who is Minister of Information and Communications Technology, yesterday said Kachama had reached retirement age and was advised to proceed on leave to exhaust his leave days.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :