Malawi: Chakwera Faces Tonse Censure Over Retiree Appointments

6 August 2020

President Lazarus Chakwera faces a new wave of protests from the youth section of the Tonse Alliance led government who feel the President is being unfair to them by recalling retired individuals into the public service at the expense of the loafing youth, saying it does not reflect well on 'Tonse Philosophy'.

But Minister if Information Gospel Kazako, who is also government spokesperson, said the recalled retired individuals poses critical skills needed to revamp the public service which the youth does not have.

The Tonse youth have sent warning shots to Chakwera, urging him to stop recalling people from retirement to take up top positions in government or face the 'unexpected'.

Writing on the Tonse Alliance Forum on social media, one of the members argued that by recalling retired people to assume key government positions such as Principal Secretaries (PS), the President is, in effect, frustrating the dream of the Tonse Alliance government to create one million jobs for the youth.

"Recalling people from retirement is fuelling unemployment situation in Malawi yet millions of youths are jobless," he argues.

Another member has sent a voice note on the forum in which he is warning Chakwera of tougher times if he chooses to sideline the youth 'who contributed to his ascension to the presidency'.

"It's not that we are being greedy, but it's only fair that the President should remember the people that walked with him during his most trying moments. I fail to understand why Chakwera could start his presidency by appointing his direct relatives leaving behind some of us who have suffered for the party since the John Tembo era.

"The MCP Headquarters was closed and we used to hold our meetings at John Tembo's house. So, it's very unfair for the President to start prioritizing his kinsmen while sidelining us," he says in the voice note.

The youth have cited Sandram Maweru who retired while as Principal Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development who has been recalled as PS at Irrigation and Blessings Chilabade PS for Human Resources Management and Development.

In June, Chakwera also recalled Zangazanga Chikhosi from retirement to be Secretary to president and Cabinet (SPC).

Governance commentator Makhumbo Munthali argued that reappointing those who retired can be demoralising to hardworking public servants.

"This would run counter to the gospel of Tonse Alliance government preached during campaign around spearheading merit-based appointments in the public service," he said.

While political commentator Humphrey Mvula said "experience is the best teacher and you can only get this experience from the best managers who may come into civil service on short term contracts."

On PS Maweru, some social media users claim that he retired early because the then Minister of Agriculture, Dr George Chaponda, bulldozed a Zambian Company to drill irrigation boreholes in Malawi at price double the cost of drilling a borehole by a Malawian company and he objected to this arrangement.

Apparently, Chaponda and other senior government officials in the Ministry of Agriculture made life miserable for Maweru for refusing to be used for corrupt practices.

In an attempt to save his reputation and for the sake of ethics, Maweru tendered his resignation through early retirement.

Maweru is said to be below the mandatory retirement age of 60.

Meanwhile, government spokesman Kazako said there "very few" that have been recalled from retirement.

More From: Nyasa Times

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