Malawi civil service needs overhaul – DD Phiri

Malawi’s renowned historian and columnist, Desmond Dudwa Phiri, has added his voice to the growing distresses of Malawians over the manner in which the Joyce Banda administration is handling the cashgate scandal.

Cashgate is a financial scandal involving the looting, theft and corruption that happened at Capital Hill, the seat of Government of Malawi, by civil servants as well as businesspersons, most of them with links to the ruling People’s Party (PP).

The scandal started in September 2013 when an accounts assistant in the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, Patrick Sithole, was found K120 million which was inconsistence with his meager monthly income.

DD Phiri
DD Phiri

The issue was later compounded with the shooting of the then budget director in the Ministry of Finance, Paul Mphwiyo, the same month.

Writing in his weekly column, ‘Economic & Business Forum’ in The Nation newspaper of Friday, Phiri suggests the first thing the country should do in view of cashgate is to overhaul the civil service.

“The cashgate scandal has brought to light the fact that some civil servants with high positions are selfish to the point of being disloyal to the country. How do we discern the good from the bad?” questions Phiri.

Popularly known as DD Phiri, he says the Malawi of today is not quite the one those who struggled and suffered for independence wanted.

“Certainly not a country with a civil service that contains domestic,” writes Phiri, an author, economist, columnist, as well as playwright who has published 17 books in the fields of history, sociology and economics.

He says as Malawi clocks 50 years of independence, the country remains worth living in but could be made better in several respects.

Phiri, however, advises it is of no use just pointing fingers at each of the evils and shortcomings found in the country instead of thinking about ways of making Malawi a better country.

“It is up to us to think how best to position our country,” advises Phiri.

He concludes his writing by saying that “a better Malawi will be attained only if technocrats, scientists, engineers, economics and managers are given higher responsibilities free from political interferences.”

Over the last few months, scores of civil servants and a people in high ranking positions of the ruling party have been implicated with others getting arrested for being suspected of being involved in the scam.

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