President Lazarus Chakwera has appointed new Chief Secretary to the Government, Zangazanga Chikhosi, replacing Lloyd Muhara, who recently drew public wrath for writing Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda to “proceed on leave pending retirement” in December 2021.
Muhara was conspicuously absent when at Chakwera swearing-in ceremony on Sunday.
Chikhosi will be deputised by Dr Janet Chikata Banda SC.
Muhara is a judge of the High Court, though he has never delivered any judgement, but on secondment to the Executive.
He used to be director general of Malawi Revenue Authority.
However, sources say he may also face investigations over wrongful self-enrichment.
Currently, the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) is being managed by Principal Secretary (Administration) Cliff Chiunda.
Chiunda is a convict together with another principal secretary at Agriculture, Grey Nyandule-Phiri but they are still serving in their respective positions despite a court ruling recommending their removal.
President Chakwera’s administration has said it will follow rule of law and the two PSs are going to be sacked.
The High Court on March 6 this year slapped the two with a 24-months suspended sentence for contempt of court. They were found guilty of defying an order by the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal to make a public apology for a faulty procurement and disposal of 100 tractors and 144 maize shellers–a deal popularly known as Tractorgate.
The equipment was bought in 2011 with a $50 million (about K37 billion) loan from Exim Bank of India.
In his ruling, High Court judge Charles Mkandawire observed that by disobeying the court order, the two PSs challenged the authority of the Judiciary, which is another arm of government, and the court asked the appointing authority for consideration that the two should no longer hold such high positions.
According to the ruling, what the two public officers committed was a serious breach and violation of Section 12 of the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi.
Mkandawire argued that the law also applies to the President who can be removed from office if he violets the Constitution, adding: “If this can lead to removal of the President [from office], why not such officers?
“Why should senior public officers be spared from disciplinary proceedings? I, therefore, recommend to the appointing authority, through the Office of President and Cabinet (OPC), to look into this issue as a matter of urgency; otherwise, the two respondents have lost their moral authority to lead others in these ministries.
“I am aware that my mandate was to sentence the two respondents or contemnors. It is, however, imperative that these courts should cultivate jurisprudence on the consequences that can follow once a public officer seriously violates the Constitution. This is to test our democracy whether we are indeed serious with constitutionalism,” reads the ruling, in part.
The Parliamentary Committee on Government Assurances and Public Reforms has asked the new government to dismiss the officials in the civil service to avoid setting a bad precedent to what the law advocates.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :