Malawi govt nullifies promotion of 13 DCs

In a dramatic turn of events, the Malawi Government has nullified the promotion of 13 of its District Commissioners, and those of Directors of Chiefs Administration, and that of Planning, in the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development who were promoted during the Joyce Banda administration, Nyasa Times understands.

Banda promoted 21 District Commissioners (DCs) to  Civil Service Grade of E/S3 equivalent to that of a Senior Deputy Secretary  after seven years of waiting since the approval of a functional review in the year 2005, which pegged the position of a DC to that grade.

Among the five DCs who have been demoted from P2 to P3 include DC for Chiradzulu James Manyetera, DC for Nkhotakota James Kanyangalazi, DC for Salima Rev Moses Chimphepo and DC for Mulanje Jack Ngulube.

Three directors at the Ministry of Local Government affected by the demotion include director of chiefs Lawrence Makonokaya, director of rural development Emmanuel Bambe and a Miss Chimphamba who have been moved back to P3 from P2.

Local Government ministry invited the affected DCs and Directors to Capital Hill to share the news at a meeting which was held in the Ministry’s conference room on Monday, 11th August, 2014.

Some of the District Commissioners
Some of the District Commissioners

Nyasa Times sources at Capital Hill confirmed that some of the affected officers have already received their letters in which the Ministry is arguing that the promotions were irregular because there was no “Establishment Warrant.”

Capital Hill sources for Nyasa Times said  further that soon after the meeting, the DCs converged at City Centre where it is reported that they agreed to use all available legal channels to challenge the unlawful act, starting with obtaining of court injunctions.

The Secretary for Local Government and Rural Development, Kester Kaphaizi is under undue pressure from the Minister of Finance, Goodall Gondwe, who wants an explaination over what the he considers as bloated the budget submitted by the Ministry of Local Government.

The Minister is believed to be uncomfortable with the increase in the number of traditional leaders who were recently introduced on the government pay roll by the People’s Party led government.

Gondwe is also not amused with the sudden hike of perks for Ward Councillors for districts, municipalities, and City Councils, and the promotion of DCs to grades S3/P2 and S2/P2 on the Civil Service Scale.

The Minister thus has ordered the Secretary for local Government to start the “clean-up” exercise by nullifying the promotion of District Commissioners whom he believes their promotions were an inducement to rig the May 20 elections in favour of Joyce Banda, an offence the DC did not commit.

This action will affect almost all the 9 lady DC who were engaged by the Banda regime, as they have been ordered to revert to their original positions.

Four new female DCs have also been affected by the demotion, namely Memory Kaleso for Neno, Reinhard Chavula-Kavita for Machinga, Fanny Msimuko of Ntchisi and Rosemary Moyo for Karonga who were promoted to either P4 or P3.

Others who have been demoted from their various new posts are Grace Chirwa of Chitipa, Atanasio Chibwana of Blantyre District Council, Peter Jimusole of Likoma Island and Malango Botomani of Dowa

President Peter Mutharika appointed a Civil Service Reform Commission headed by Vice-President Saulos Chilima, but it is not clear if the nullification of the DCs promotion is  the work of the commission whose members include business mogul Thom Mpinganjira and former career civil servant Bright Mangulama.

Mutharika said civil service reforms government has instituted are not targeting any individuals, but that his government is geared to make the service more efficient and effective.

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