Vice-President Saulos Chilima, Minister of Public Sector Reforms
* To review systems of allowances, procurement and employment contracts
* The rot that is in government goes deeper than the abuse of COVID-19 funds—Chakwera
By Duncan Mlanjira
Vice-President Saulos Chilima has announced the names of the special taskforce to comprehensively review the three Governmen systems of allowances, procurement and employment contracts as directed by President Lazarus Chakwera last Sunday.
The special taskforce, to submit its recommendations to the President within 90 days, includes Prof. Ronald Mangani; Prof. Nyovani Madise; Prof. Ngeyi Kanyongolo; Prof. Wiseman Chijere Chirwa and Dr. Aubrey Mvula.
It also has Dr. Henry Chingaipe; Steve Matenje SC; Waki Mushani; John Suzi Banda; Rev. Elsie Tembo; Tione Chilambe; Zunzo Mitole; Nwazi Mnthambala and Jane Kambalame.
A statement from the Office of the Vice-President says the taskforce will hold its first meeting on Thursday, February 25 to agree on the modus operandi including an action plan with clear timelines.
Thereafter, the task team will ensure that the public is regularly engaged and that the taskforce is held accountable by both the President and the people of Malawi.
It will be supported by a team of technocrats within the civil service from the Office of the President and Cabinet, the Public Sector Reforms, the Ministry of Justice, and the Ministry of Finance, among others.
The special taskforce is to review the three systems, which President Chakwera described as being the rot that is contributing to public resource plunder following revelation that over 6.2 billion that was disbursed last year by the government meant for the fight against COVID-19 was abused.
After announcing stiff decisions in his national address on Sunday following the furore that surrounds the plunder of the K6.2 billion COVID-19 funds, Chakwera said it was time to address the bigger problem by cleaning up these three systems in government.
He directed that Chilima, in his capacity as Minister of Public Sector Reforms, should form the special taskforce to prioritize a review of these three government systems and submit recommendations within three months.
“The recommendations must include any legislative changes we must make in our laws at one of the sittings of Parliament this year so that our laws protect the interests and resources of the public, not the rubble of public servants who use broken systems to loot and use bad laws and contracts to keep their jobs in the system and keep looting.
“The recommendations must also include a restructuring of the civil service to be more efficient and of civil servants’ conditions of service so that the good people in the system are well supported and not able to use poor pay as an excuse for wasting, abusing, and stealing public resources.
“This systemic review and overhaul will be resisted by so many who are benefiting from the looting, including greedy politicians from all our political parties, greedy businesses from the private sector, and greedy civil servants they partner with inside the machinery,” the President said.
He also reminded the nation that he spoke about this looting scheme in the government system in a national address on July 25th, 2020, less than a month after he took office.
In that speech, Chakwera had said: “there is no Government Ministry, Department, or Agency where the culture of impunity for wastage, misappropriation, and theft is not entrenched. And so we cannot afford to deal with corruption selectively by focusing on the tip of the iceberg.
He had further said: “It is the whole system that is corrupt and therefore it is the whole system we must clean up.”