The Director General
* Copied to Parliamentary Committee on Defence & Security, Secretary for Department of Human Resource Management & Development
* It highlights that the Director General unilaterally redeployed some officers without following proper channels
* Petition is thus asking the Ministry to suspend the redeployments pending an independent enquiry
By Duncan Mlanjira
Commissioner in the Department of Immigration & Citizenship Services, Stanlake Kalimanjira has sent a petition to Secretary to Ministry of Homeland Security in which he detailed gross mismanagement and leadership style of Director General, Brigadier General Charles Kalumo (retired).
The petition, dated July 3 is copied to Parliamentary Committee on Defence & Security, Secretary for Department of Human Resource Management & Development and to Kalumo himself — which highlights that the Director General unilaterally redeployed some officers without following proper channels.
Writing on behalf of disgruntled staff, Kalimanjira is thus asking the Secretary to Ministry of Homeland Security to suspend the redeployments pending an independent enquiry.
Kalumo is being accused that since his appointment, “he made it clear that he will deploy any officers who he chooses without question”, adding that “he made it very specific that no one would challenge him as it was his discretion”.
The Immigration Commissioner further says they learnt of the redeployments on Friday, June 30, 2023 when Kalumo called for an extra-ordinary meeting at Mount Soche Hotel where he announced that he had deployed some officers with immediate effect.
Yet the said officers had just completed their participation of a seminar of Joint Permanent Commission on Defence & Security with Mozambique held at Amaryliss Hotel and Kalimanjira reports that it is not clear the criteria and basis that was used to select the officers to be redeployed elsewhere.
“It can only be concluded that he used parallel structures for Headquarters,” the petition further says, adding that Kalumo “has never seen not interacted with some of the officers he has recommended for the deployment.
“It can only be said that he is being fed gossip with no evidence against the redeployed officers. Occasionally, he has repeatedly said he does not even know some of the officers on the list of deployment and why they were on the list. It simply means that the said redeployment is in serious question.”
According to Kalimanjira — on behalf of his fellow Immigration officers — are “at great pains to understand why the Director General would redeploy some officers without due regard of natural justice [because] in the eyes of right-thinking citizens, the redeployment has implications of misconduct”.
“It could be argued, therefore, that the reputation and standing of the concerned officers in society has been damaged. And these are the officers who applied for the post of immigration.”
Kalumo is also alleged to have suspended several officers without following due process, just by word of mouth without being given chance to explain and defend themselves — as “the word of the Director General is law”.
He is also accused of facilitating the interdiction of Assistant Commissioner Saddock Malinda without following procedure and the dismissal of Sergeant Geoffrey Malukula, who was “ordered to surrender the uniform without being given a chance to defend himself”.
“This is deplorable, zinjathropic and counterproductive. By all standards, the Office of the Director General is a highly-esteemed one that cannot be associated with such deficiencies in moral campus.
“Such behavior can only be condemned in strongest terms possible. As I write there is an environment of fear as officers are seriously afraid even following correct procedures.”
Kalumo is also being accused of not following strategic direction in the core services of the Department, whose mandate — as guided by various Acts of Parliament— include delivering services such as Permit, Passport, Citizenship, Visa and Management of Border Affairs.
The petition alleges that Kalumo “has lost strategic direction” in that the Department “is critically struggling to find a sustainable solution regarding passport services”.
“There is no future in sight. Instead of calling for a management meeting to discuss on possible alternatives, he has remained quiet. Further, he has revolutionized the passport system where there are no checks and balances at various stages.”
Kalumo is also accused that “on a number of occasions” he has “granted citizenship to foreigners without Conferment Certificates as outlined by conferment procedure”.
On Permit services, the petition says “there is an official reviewed Immigration Act report together with the draft reviewed Act requiring the attention of the Director General to facilitate that it should become a law”.
“There is apparently no action from him. Secondly, there is funding from World Bank for introduction of Border Management Information System Project [that] requires the Department to follow all procurement procedures.
“Instead of following the necessary procurement procedures, he singlehandedly chose International Organization for Migration (IOM) as the sole consultant of the project against resolutions of the previous meetings that were held on the same.”
Kalimanjira further says the Department offers visa services electronically, “however, applicants struggle with payments and procuring services for online were conducted [which] simply requires Kalumo to expedite the matter through engaging strategic partners to finalize”.
“The process has stalled for some time now and yet the matter is in his hands to finalize the process for key approvals from various Government agencies were already obtained.”
On Border Affairs, the petition says there is a presence of an additional agency in airport, which he says “is a welcome development for it enhances screening” but Kalumo is alleged to have “facilitated recruitment of retired Malawi Defence Force (MDF) soldiers instead of active and serving officers”.
This, according to Kalimanjira — on behalf of fellow Immigration officers — “invites several questions [as] it could have been more appropriate if security in these airports was enhanced by active serving officers of MDF”.
Kalumo is further accused that “on several occasions, he exuded gross incompetence and sheer disregard for the law in his general administration of the affairs of the Department”.
The Secretary to Homeland Security is further enlightened that the Department’s Headquarters has “historically been constituted of various systems of its core services with various heads of sections based in Blantyre”.
“The systems and its senior heads have, since the existence of the Department, always been the Management, with top management made of the Director General himself, two Commissioners — one for Administration and the other for Operations and Regional Commanders; middle management with various heads of sections and all officers.
“Since his appointment, he has never used this traditional structure. He therefore, set up a parallel structure whose composition is not clear to anyone.
“As a security institution, discipline is paramount and is manifested by respecting the chain of command which is deeply connected, and purposely so, to the rank and file of the Department. Put clearly, seniority is imperative in the decision-making hierarchy.
“For no apparent reasons, the Director General started forsaking senior officers and proceeded to deal with junior officers. By and large, the rank and file of the Department has been absolutely abandoned.”
Kalumo is further accused that “in his wisdom” made the Head of Passport Services (Deputy Commissioner Annie Kaonga — who has since fallen out of grace and redeployed) be the the overall in charge of Headquarters.
“Resultantly, all sections at Headquarters were reporting to her, contrary to established protocols. The Director General bypassed the Commissioner of Immigration who, at the material time, was handling both Operations and Administration. One person cannot head the Passport Section, Procurement and accounts — this is simply unheard of.
“Further, since his appointment he has never conducted any management meeting where key matters were discussed. It can only be speculated where he consults for his directions.”