Malawi Public Service Reforms on deathbed, says newspaper

 Malawi’s leading newspaper has investigated that public service reforms are on the deathbed, six months after they were weaned from the direct supervision of Vice President Dr. Saulos Chilima.

White presenting reforms documents to President Mutharika

Interviews which the Nation Publications Limited says had with multiple sources, including local government councils and Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC), ministries, departments and agencies (MDAS) have shown that there has not been follow ups or strategic leadership ever since the reforms moved to OPC under Chief Director Seodi White.

Ironically, White was one of the commissioners under the Vice President Chilima commission which steered the reforms up to the time they handed them over to OPC, a move which many said was meant to weaken Chilima’s political popularity because the reforms were gaining momentum then.

The paper quotes one DC tearing into the current leadership arrangement.

“We were looking for direction, we have not received yet. It is only now that we are being told to start sending reports. One wonders what we are going to write as there has not been support from the office.”

The paper said the lack of support which the officials talked about was contrary to the consistent backstopping and overall strategic direction they were getting when the reforms were under the Vice-President led commission.

An OPC source told the paper that currently, “it is hazy. There is not much engagement with MDAs. Consultation meetings with the councils have almost stopped. The intensity and aggression of implementation is almost gone.”

The paper further quotes the OPC source saying that the “current leadership went to the donors for funding but were sent back to develop a concept note and up to now they have not developed or submitted.”

However, the paper quotes White, the Chief Director for Reforms, saying the reforms are on track and that much is being done.

But critics are not impressed with Ralph Mhone a member of the parliamentary committee on Governance Assurance and Public Reforms saying nothing is moving on the ground.

In its exit report, the Chilima commission recommended that “the President should be the sole sponsor of reforms at national level and that a permanent Public Service Reforms Commission be established to ensure that the reforms are being monitored and evaluated.”

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