Two managers fired at ARET as administrative war intensifies

Infighting among top management officials has intensified at the once mighty Agricultural Research and Extension Trust (ARET) over ideological differences over managerial issues.

Khumbanyiwa: Aret CEO

Inside sources say those at war are Chief Executive Officer Andy Khumbanyiwa, Deputy Director, Research and Technical Services, Robert Gomonda, and Deputy Director of Extension and Specialist Services, John Nyangulu.

According to the sources, it all started as soon as the current Chief Executive, Khumbanyiwa started work at the organization in 2013 when he brought new ideas he said were aimed to uplift the status of the organization.

His two Deputies, John Nyangulu and Robert Gomonda resisted ideas saying they were contrary to the Trust’s Mission, Vision and core functions.

For example, sources say, Khumbanyiwa wanted to turn around ARET’s three research centres, Kandiya in Lilongwe, Mwimba in Kasungu and Kabwafu in Mzimba into commercial farms which the deputies did not embrace.

“He also brought in ideas of crop diversification saying ARET and tobacco farmers cannot continue relying on tobacco as it was believed to be a dying crop. Some people thought diversification was a good path for the organization and it was long overdue. Others thought the path taken was not good and rushed as there was no clear source of funding.”

The CEO interpreted the apparent resistance from his deputies as sabotage aimed at making his him fail.

“War started. He was overheard saying that he didn’t want his two deputies. He said he would rather work without them. He proposed and put down his suggestion to the ARET Board but it was shot down,” said our source.

Our source said at one extension quarterly meeting in Salima in 2014 he told members of staff that some people were blocking his way to implement his plans for ARET and warned that “ndiwaduda” meaning I will deal with them.

According to our sources in another finance meeting he told members of staff that anyone against his vision for the organization “will be hit by a 50-pound hammer.”

“He said he would not care if he was using a big weapon on a small animal like a lizard. He then started issuing instruction and working straight with field staff by passing their immediate boss (his deputy – extension). The relationship between them (CEO & deputies) grew from bad to worse.

Then he called for consultancy exercise to review the function of ARET. That exercise has resulted in restructuring of some positions at ARET. The two positions of Deputy Directors (Research and Extension) have been removed effectively succeeding in getting rid of Nyangulu and Gomonda.

“The restructuring has also affected some junior positions leading into a dozen job losses,” said our sources.

Meanwhile it is not known where will the board get will money to compensate Gomonda and Nyangulu since the two had contracts expected to end next year.

In an interview Nyasa Times, Khumbanyimba challenged that all is rosy at the ARET.

Khumbanyiwa said asked our report to “go back to the sources” saying there is no infighting there before he cut the line.

ARET is a non-profit making organization funded by tobacco farmers mandated by an act of Parliament through tobacco levy at the Auction floors.

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my experience shows that a highly corrupt manager starts with clearing out all the seniors who would stop him, those who wouldnt fear him. he then recruites or promotes young power hungry people who can always praise him in everything, the yes bwana junior people or the half/low educated people. he does not want to be surrounded by fellow lions but rather the less powerful zebra, so that he can just eat them if they dare quetion him. this is the style of autocratic rulers. BUT however descern carefully i am not 100% against the CEO . The two deputy… Read more »

It’s high time ARET became efficient by abolishing redundant posts (two deputies). How can you two deputies on contract positions? They are there for personal gain not the trust’s. It’s pathetic that scientists who are the lifeline of the organization are treated like labourers. They live miserable life yet they are the drivers of income generation through research and release of varieties. The two managers should go so that the lost glory can be regained.


Kumbanyiwa is self centered. John nyangulu and gomontha are highly educated in agriculture with vast experience. Travelled extensively comparing Malawi with other countries in agriculture. I trust them . they are good. Please ARET board check on this CEO ‘s motive. Corrupt and disdainful

Am just curious not Judgemental
Am just curious not Judgemental

Tidakaganizabe mwauchitaganya aMalawi, ndimamva chisoni kwambiri, dzikoli, m’makampanimu m’makomomu tatiyenikoni tiziganiza mopita patsogolo chonde! a Khumbanyiwa akubwera ndi nzeru zabwinotu apa. Pamodzimodzi padaolesa zunguuuu aMalawi anzangaaa.

Joloza Kapokola

There is always resistance to change. Most old gurus of ARET still think in the past despite being technically skilled. Khumbanyiwa has the right skills. Just accept change


You lie joloza, Aret is a sinking ship thanks to khumbanyiwa. He is a man without a vision. You dont turn research stations into chicken raring farms without the concent of the funders (growers). The tobacco levy that Aret gets from the farmer has rules. Gomonda and nyangulu were protecting the interests of the farmer while nkhumbanyiwa wants to turn Aret into his cash cow. Only time will tell


A Stella mwinatu munanyengedwa ulele ndiye mwadana naye munthuyu!


Hahahahahaha a matako khalani ndi ulemu khumbanyiwa sanandinyengepo. I only presented the truth on the ground. Do you know that the past ARET CEOs were scientists PhD holders. Its only the khumbanyiwa era that we see ti ma masters. Thats why there’s a lot of mediocre at ARET now. The three guys akukangana apawa are masters holders. They had less respect to khumbanyiwa coz they were on the same level. Ndisiile pompa kaye

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