Ntata trashes Malawi public service reforms: ‘Chilima’s rhetoric without substance’

Lawyer and political activist Z. Allan Ntata who is a ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) operative and on now on the charm offensive as government’s critics has said the Public Service Reforms programme will not work, stressing the “noise” about it is “much like a clanging cymbal, a matter of form without substance.”

President Mutharika his deputy Saulos Chilima who chair the reforms committe.- ... - Pic by Stanley Makuti

President Mutharika his deputy Saulos Chilima who chair the reforms committe.- … – Pic by Stanley Makuti

President Peter Mutharika appointed the Public Sector Reforms Commission (PSRC) in June last year chaired by Vice-President Saulos Chilima.

According to Mutharika the public service is the centre of his government operations and plays a key role in the social-economic and social well-being of the country.

And Chilima has argued that there is “ an overflow of political will”  to implement the reforms.

But in his critique, Ntata noted that the most important areas that need reform are conspicuously missing from the agenda of the program.

“ For this reason alone, the program is, sad to say, empty and pointless, and not capable of achieving the desired results,” stated Ntata, a former legal advisor of late president Bingu wa Mutharika.

He explained: “In the Malawian setting, the political foundation that gives birth to the public service is the Constitution. This is the document that gives the country its political rights, as well as presenting the foundation upon which Malawian economic prosperity can be built.

“But the Constitution of Malawi is a flawed document that was forged in the heat of the anger and the vengefulness that was the multiparty movement, and fails to give the country the necessary platform upon which economic prosperity can be built.”

Ntata points out that any talk of reform must first address the constitution and include reviewing the country’s supreme laws so that it becomes an instrument that promotes democracy and good governance, and not hinder it by promoting a quasi one-party state kind of government administration that piles all responsibility and power in the presidency and allows the party in power to traverse laws with impunity and very little accountability.

“First and foremost, the Malawian Constitution puts politics above industry. This is a fundamental flaw that makes the Malawian political governance framework retrogressive and incapable of bringing commercial success to the country,” he argues.

Ntata continued: “If any public service reforms are to make any sense at all, such reforms must begin in the office of the presidency itself. Malawi’s political and administrative system needs to be reformed so that the presidency is able to tap fully into the advice of professionals that are capable of analysing policy and political issues dispassionately, rather than being advised mostly by political sharks that are simply thinking of advancing their own mostly financial agendas.”

He stated that it is “ridiculous”, for instance, that the constitution requires the appointment of the Director of the Anti-corruption Bureau to be approved by the Public Appointments Committee of parliament once it has been made by the president, and yet a serving director, having gone through such a rigorous appointment process can easily be dismissed at the President’s whim and fancy.

“The examples, however, are endless, and include offices such as those of Inspector General of Police, Director Of Public Prosecutions and the Auditor General just to mention a few

“Additionally, important appointments such as board members of various government organs and bodies, chief executive officers of statutory corporations and principle secretaries of government ministries are all at the whim and fancy of the Presidency, which we know for sure means being at the fancy of anyone from the ruling political party heavyweights, to the President’s personal assistants and even body guards.”

Furthermore, Ntata argues that it should “surely be useful” to have in a public service reform program, a drive to set out qualifications and terms of reference for all senior public service positions- what qualifications are required for these positions, and what the terms of reference and the expected deliverables are.

“ It surprises me to note that for positions of minister or principal secretary, we have individuals that have doctorates and individuals that have only MSCE certificates; individuals that have worked in the public service for over thirty years, and individuals for whom the appointment as principal secretary or minister was their first public service appointment,” he stated.

But political and administration analyst Mustaffa Hussein applauded the process of the reform fact-finding mission, saying it took a good approach in engaging people from various sectors.

And Henry Chingaipe in his research documents said the story of reforms in Malawi can be depressing, but it is not hopeless.

“It is becoming sufficiently clear that the missing link so far has been the recognition that PSR is not just a technocratic process: it is a profoundly political one too and needs both optimal technocratic and political leadership. The current wave of PSR in Malawi, being led by the Vice President, does not yet seem to be another ‘false start’. So, in the words of St Paul addressing the Galatians, ‘… let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart’.” Chingaipe stated.

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Roots
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Roots

If Chewas are useless so Why is that tribesmen bring bananas to Central Region? Shame .. Please be civlised and tackle the ideas that Ntata raised. If you don’t agree with his contribution, then constructively raise your facts. I think most of us on this forum are useless people with little knowledge.

phiri Gabriel
Guest

I think and agreeing with Ntata that the ongoing reforms need a philosophical and conceptual frameworks. These should be the guiding and building blocks of the reforms.

Genius 20
Guest
Genius 20

I’m not a mbwenumbwenu and not a follower of Ntata but what he has written makes alot of sense.The problem is that most people who contribute here have blind loyalty to their parties that they are not analytical and critical when looking at things.

Reneck
Guest
Reneck

Mmmmmm ntata is just bitter. He expected much from this govt

Wanzeru
Guest

Ntata yamvuta apa ndikulephera kukwaniritsa kugwirizana nd a Peter monga adaliri ndi a Bingu. Tsono zamvuta apa . Ntata akuona ngati atha kusokoneza ubale wa Peter ndi Saulosi. Ine ndikuti sizitheka izi chifukwa mfundo ya DPP nikulogosola, kukweza ndikutukula Malawi fulstop.

Mwawaonatu
Guest
Mwawaonatu

I now agree kuti mmimba ndi mchipala. Surely, APM is not Bingu. This clown in the name of last letter of the alphabet Ntata danced one time when Bingu won. But he sees APM being silent on him and now has started making some rantings. Then the whole platoon of the mbwenumbwenus are behind him. As they are usually used and abused, one can’t be surprised if they elect him their leader like what that Jezebel on the run did.

kayakaya
Guest
kayakaya

inu a ntata ndye ayi.. mbava

Roots
Guest
Roots

I agree with him cause focus is been put on Organisational Performance Agreements (OPA) which were already there. The OPAs are only focusing on the organisational mandate and nothing beyond that. For example, if a Ministry is responsible for Human resources, all it will do is to assign the same deliverables in this document and agree on the expected dates year in and year out as the mandate will not change…Once Human resources always Human resources. Its clear that reforms involves radical or fundamental change…What is it that has been done that we can call radical. Is moving an office… Read more »

mbani
Guest

I totally agree with Mtata but please Chingayipe be straight forward you talk like Jesus living pple to be debating in their minds that’s not good Dr wa ku Mchinji kwathu

golden eye
Guest
golden eye

SOME OF YOU HAVE RELATIVES AND YOU FEAR THEIR JOBS. CEO OF COMPANIES DOING GOOD ON THE MARKET DO STRATEGIC PLANNING AND BUSINESS RE -ENGINEERING AND STAFF APPRAISAL SO THAT ONLY THE BEST IS RETAINED. THERE IS ALWAYS RESISTANT TO CHANGE, AND CHANGE IS NECESSARY FOR US TO MOVE FORWARD. OTHERWISE PAMODZIMODZI PANAWOLETSA ZUNGU. MORE LAZY CIVIL SERVANTS LESS PRODUCTIVE MORE TAX BURDEN ON THE MASSES.

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