Malawi Government operations are expected to change for the better following recommendations and subsequent acceptance by President Peter Mutharika to have some of his appointing powers trimmed when appointing senior public officers.
There have been outcries that one of the reasons government operations are compromised is the fact that most officers become bootlickers by wearing ruling party colours in order to protect their positions because they are handpicked to fill the positions.
With the new arrangement, senior public officers including principal secretaries (PS) will be recruited on merit through competitive interviews, a development public administration experts have touted as genuine public reform. S
According to a report in The Nation, President Mutharika has accepted to have his powers reduced on the appointments following recommendations from the Public Services Reform committee headed by Vice President Saulos Chilima.
However, once the president’s decision becomes legal it will be in line with section 4 of the public service Act (1994). Mutharika set up the seven-member committee immediately after taking over government in June 2014 with an aim to make public service operations effective.
Now the appointment of PSs in Grade C and above will be made through a competitive process of advertising and interviewing all applicants, according to sources.
The process would also require the Public Service Commission which is yet to be put in place to conduct interviews in liaison with the Chief Secretary to Government who will then submit final results to the President for the approval.
But the appointment of the officers in grades of deputy director (Grade E) up to director (Grade D) should be done by the Public Service Commission in liaison with PSs and the Chief Secretary to government through a competitive process of advertising openly and selecting suitable candidates.
Currently the president has powers to appoint any person to be PS or director without following any vetting process.