Malawi government has terminated employment contracts of three public officers including former first lady Callista Mutharika, George Saonda and Chiza Mbekeani who are aligned to the United Transformation Movement (UTM), predominantly breakaway political grouping from the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
Callista – the widow of former president Bingu wa Mutharika and in-law of incumbent President Peter Mutharika – who worked as presidential adviser on safe motherhood, Saonda who served as director of administration in the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology and Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs deputy director of administration Mbekeani have been fired for their involvement in politics.
The head of the civil service, Lloyd Muhara in a letter to Mbekeani dated September 19 2018 Reference number CS/S/001 wrote that his services were no longer required because of his “active involvement in politics,”
However, the Chief Secretary wrote Mbekeani again on September 28 2018 alongside Saonda, stating that their employment contracts were terminated because their services were “no longer required.”
In June this year, Muhara issued a memo to all heads of government institutions advising civil servants wishing to contest for political office to resign before doing so.
However, the Office of President and Cabinet has not cracked the whip on chief director responsible for safe motherhood and maternal health, Chimwemwe Chipungu, who doubles as DPP organising secretary.
Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC), who wrote the Chief Secretary in June demanding action on all civil servants vying for political office, said they are taking the matter to court.
Chipungu has come out in the open to contest for a parliamentary seat for Thyolo South West Constituency on DPP ticket while his deputy at Safe Motherhood and Maternal Health, Clement Mwale, lost to Grezelder Jeffrey on the position of secretary general at the convention, and is still serving as deputy director responsible for training in the Ministry of Health under the Safe Motherhood and Maternal Health Initiative.
Efforts to talk to Muhara on why he is not enforcing his directive to the DPP members proved futile.