Mulhako wa a Lhomwe (MWA), a grouping of Lhomwe speaking people found in southern Malawi has established itself a base at the Blantyre City Council (BCC) where almost the entire management team constitutes of Lhomwe people, Nyasa Times can reveal.
Management team of BCC is made up of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and all heads of departments- Administration, Town Planning, Parks and Environment, Health, Treasury and Engineering.
The council’s Chief Executive Officer, Emmanuel Ted Nandolo, is not only a Lhomwe by tribe but he is also a leading member of the MWA grouping.
Nandolo joined the council on political shield after President Bingu wa Mutharika appointed him without even undergoing interviews as has been the norm.
Malawi’s President Mutharika is also a Lhomwe from Thyolo district and founding member of the tribal grouping which he launched some five years ago. He is also its Patron.
Nyasa Times investigations have revealed that all directors at the Council except one come from the Lhomwe belt which comprises Thyolo, Mulanje, Phalombe and Chiradzulu districts.
Director of Administration, Alfred Chanza comes from Thyolo district. A former lecture at Staff Development Institute and human resource and management consultant, a Chanza also sits in for the CEO whenever he is away.
Chanza’s deputy is Mpopo Robert Grevulo, currently on suspension. He comes from Chileka in Blantyre and reports indicate that the two have never been in good terms such that when the director is away, he picks a different person to act on his behalf.
The Department of Town Planning is headed by Costly Chanza, (no relationship with Alfred), who also comes from Mulanje. He is the longest serving director at BCC and a very humble director, according to our source. His deputy is Nanariwa Nanguwo also a Lhomwe.
Dr. Michael Kanjunjunju heads the Health and Cleansing Department and is a Lhomwe from Chiradzulu district. However, he is on probation having joined BCC about five months ago.
He is deputized by a Mr. S. Seunda, who was until last month head of Laboratory Section. He is also a Lhomwe from the area of T/A Chimaliro, Thyolo where President Mutharika comes from.
Nyasa Times investigations have further revealed that the Director of Engineering is a Mr. Namonjeza from Phalombe who was hired some three months ago.
For some years, the department was headed by a Mr. Kamtwera who died in a mysterious circumstance a few months ago.
He was driving to office in the morning when he suddenly became unconscious and his vehicle hit the pavement along the Masauko Chipembere Highway. He died later in the day at Mwaiwathu Private Hospital.
While employees thought Steve Kuyeri, the longest serving deputy director, would be offered the position, Director of Administration (Chanza) gave the post to Namonjeza who was Kuyeri’s junior. Kuyeri has served as deputy director for over 10 years and was not even shortlisted for interviews.
The development frustrated the young and ambitious Kuyeri, who holds a masters degree in engineering. He has since resigned and joined the Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS).
Parks and Environment Department is headed by Mitini Nkhoma, another Lhomwe from Phalombe. Nkhoma rose to the position a few months ago after Robert Kawiya, who comes from the central region, resigned out of frustrations.
Kawiya was the longest serving of all the directors at BCC and acted as CEO before Nandolo came in.
The only department that is headed by a non-Lhomwe is the treasury whose boss is a Mr. M. Kasamba from Ntcheu.
However, Kasamba is on secondment from the Accountant General’s office. He joined the council this year and he is deputized by Dora Gondwe, who is less than a month old as deputy director after being promoted a few weeks ago.
Gondwe is the only senior female employee at the council who comes from Northern Malawi and also the only female deputy director. She comes from Rumphi.
Meanwhile, our investigations have revealed that the council has created a new department of Commerce which will also be headed by an unnamed Lhomwe who has been roped in from the Lilongwe City Council.
Nyasa Times sources also said BCC has hired a Mr. Chikoko to head the Security Section. He is reportedly a village mate of the Director of Administration, Alfred Chanza.
Mr. Chikoko will replace a Mr. Chipanga from Mangochi district who has acted as head for close to two years since the death of Alison Namakhwa who hailed from Makwasa in Thyolo.
Malawians have christened the President Mutharika administration as MTL company (Mulanje Thyolo Limited) because over 80 percent of senior positions in government, parastatals and other public institutions are headed by people from the two districts.
According to sources, the BCC director of administration has made it possible to put Lhomwes in all strategic positions except the transport section which he indirectly heads despite there being a transport officer.
Nyasa Times sources at the Civic Centre offices, also say Chanza, who is regarded as the most authoritative and autocratic man at the council, has initiated the hiring of almost all the Lhomwe people and his relations who have just joined BCC.
“He has employed several of his relations and Lhomwe speaking people like drivers without attending interviews. Other outsiders have also been offered employment in the administration section [which he heads] for vacancies meant for internal people only,” our source in the Treasury Department revealed.
Among the people he has just employed include his maternal brother, Jerome Galagada, whom he has offered the post of Members and Committee Services Officer at Grade M4 which is a management grade.
Chanza brought his brother (Galagada) to BCC some six months ago as a temporary administrator but within months he moved him to head the human resources department before being given the new post.
Some employees are reportedly working under duress because Chanza has planted spies in every section and department.
The director has also reportedly moved workers who are not Lhomwes from one section to another without apparent reasons.
Said our source: “He recently transferred two qualified human resources officers from the administration section to the traffic management section, which is currently idle.”
The traffic management section has no work to do at the moment after BCC outsourced its work to Madison Holdings Limited four months ago.
One of the casualties is Grant Jumani who at some point acted as Human Resources Manager when the section head was away in Zimbabwe pursuing his Masters Degree.
Also affected is a secretary with over 20 years experience and has been a personal assistant to six different finance directors at the council. She has been moved from the finance department to stores section as a stores keeper.
Ironically, the secretary was reportedly moved at the same time an assistant director of finance, after acting as director of finance for two years, was unceremoniously shifted to the budgets section.
“This was done purposely so that he [Chanza] could easily fool the new director. Imagine how can you have a crucial department like that of finance with a new director, new secretary, new assistant director,” wondered our source.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :