Sanyahumbi tells Mutharika ‘honeymoon is over’: DfID boss ends Malawi tour of duty

The outgoing Head of the UK Department for International Development (DFID) in Malawi, Sarah Sanyahumbi, who has finished her three years tour of duty in the country is demanding President Peter Mutharika to start matching his words with actions, saying the honeymoon is now over.

Since assuming power after chaotic May 20 elections. Mutharika has been talking of introducing reforms in almost all sectors of development.

The DFID head told a local privately owned Capital Radio that though she believes that Mutharika’s administration has so far done enough to win the hearts of people including donors it’s now time he should start working on implementation aspect.

Sanyahumbi: Time to walk the talk
Sanyahumbi: Time to walk the talk

“As donors we are very pleased to hear some of the key messages coming from the government like on public sector reform and that they are committed to improving public finance management and probe into Cashgate (corruption scandal) so that Cashgate can’t happen again so it can be clear the donor money and Malawians money is safe,” she said.

She says the donors are taking president’s messages as a good step in the right direction and there is need for Malawians to be patient “because none of these promises are quick fixes as they may take a lot of time and a lot of effort.”

But Sanyahumbi said what is needed is for the government to focus on action.

“It should make it happen so public service reform should decide on what their priorities are in order to deliver effective services to the people and then put the right people and policies to ensure that is happening and then actually follow through to assure that people are actually doing their job”.

Sanyahumbi said one of the reasons why Cashgate was allowed to happen was not necessarily because IFMIS  ( Integrated Financial Management System )was not being used properly but because people were not doing the checks and balances.

“If they were doing so, they would have prevented it from happening and would eventually pick up on Cashgate earlier,” she said.

Sanyahumbi has been in Malawi since August 2011 helping out with addressing the issues of poverty and inequality facing the majority of Malawians.

During her tenure DIFD has also been supporting programs aimed at economic growth and wealth creation to turn the economy around and end poverty.

According to the Malawi’s British High Commission, Sanyahumbi will be replaced by Jean Marshall.

Sanyahumbi has worked for DIFD for close to 20 years heading various country programmes but has passion about helping developing countries improve lives of poor people.

In Malawi she will be remembered as a humble but down to earth and media friendly diplomat who personally wanted Malawi and Malawians to improve in all spheres of life.

She was on the spotlight as the head of a group of donors under Common Approach to Budgetary Support when information emerged that millions of tax payers’ money had gone missing in the public service in what is known as Cashgate scandal.

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