Malawi: Heads Start Rolling in Malawi Foreign Posts - Diplomat Chimango Chirwa Recalled

4 December 2019

As a number of recalled Malawi diplomats are holding on to their positions at various embassies, government has started cracking the whip and calling with Chimango Chirwa, who was serving as Ambassador to Ethiopia and African Union, being the first casualty as he is recalled.

Chimango Chirwa: Recalled

Chief Secretary to the government Lloyd Muhara announced the recall of Chimanbgo Chirwa disclosing that he will "take up a position in the public service."

Chirwa will be replaced by former minister of gender Cecilia Chazama who lost her parliamentary seat in Blantyre North East during the May elections.

President Peter Mutharika has also appointed ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) politician Khwauli Msiska as Malawi High Commissioner to South Africa in Pretoria where Gloria Bamusi was acting in the position.

The development comes after an extensive audit report has exposed rot in the country's 10 foreign missions where K2 billion public money cannot be accounted.

The audit report covers from 2013 to 2017 and shows daring fraudulent payments into personal accounts, advances and external allowances.

Others are cash withdrawals not being accounted and use of migration funds without authority.

The affected missions include those of Ethiopia, United Kingdom, Germany, Japan and China.

The list of the recalled diplomats shows that some of them are attachés whose contracts expired as far back as 2009, but 10 years down the line, they are still at the embassies on government payroll.

The names include Edith Kwilirani, third secretary in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and was appointed in 2006 and recalled in 2009 and Colonel Vincent Moyo, defence attache in Addis Ababa and was appointed in 2013 and recalled in 2016.

Others include; Lieutenant colonel D.G Phiri, defence attache, Beijing who was appointed in 2013 and his contract expired in 2016; Isaac Chiona, second secretary, Brasilia, appointed in 2013 and recalled in 2016.

This year government issued a notice expiry of contracts to dozens of its diplomatic envoys, including Edward Yakobe Sawerengera at the Embassy in United States, Washington DC.

Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation ministry dispatched letters to Ambassador Sawerengera alongside top diplomats George Mkondiwa the Malawi High Commissioner in India, Ted Kalebe (Belgium) and Kena Mphonda (United Kingdom).

Other low-ranking diplomats have also been told their contracts expired and others have recall letters.

They included Mike Mwanyula (Brussels), Patrick Mphepo (Dheli), some staff at Washington DC and some staff at London mission.

There has been widespread criticism over Malawi's diplomatic service which has mainly been appointed based on political affiliation to parties in government. Many have advocated for career diplomats to represent Malawi if the country is to benefit from its representation abroad through trade, among other things.

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