There has been a lot of news lately affecting Malawi Embassy postings and many questions raised as to why those moves are being made and to whose benefit. Amidst all these moves there has also been accusation of financial misdeeds at some Embassies.
The latest affected missions are Kenya led by Dr. Perks M. Ligoya, Ethiopia led by Ambassador Chimango Chirwa, the Mission in Japan led by Brigadier Reuben Ngwenya and the Zambian Mission led by David Bandawe.
It appears all these heavy moves were being contemplated while the Malawi President was in the process of replacing Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Corporation George Chaponda with little known Francis Kasaila.
Minister Chaponda in this period reduced the number of diplomats in embassies from the established positions of 234 to 152 and for local staff from 217 to 184 claiming to save MK3.1 billion in personal emoluments and MK2.2 billion in rentals and school fees for diplomats’ houses and children respectively.
One of the recalled diplomats is former Reserve Bank of Malawi governor Perks Ligoya who was serving in Kenya barely a year after being relocated from India. He is said to be replaced by Reverend Mwanamveka who is being redeployed from Japan embassy where he was working as first secretary.
The Move on Reverend Mwanamveka surprised many and a source within DPP revealed to the Maravi Post that he appears to not be qualified for the position. This coming a few days following the unexplainable moves in Washington DC, United Nations in the big Apple and Brazil should definitely catch the attention of Parliament’s Public Appointments Committee (PAC).
The Maravi Post investigation has also revealed that Parliament’s Public Appointments Committee (PAC) will not vet Ambassadors being redeployed to new Embassies as they were already vetted for their original deployments.
Understandably the Malawi President is said to be “absolutely furious” with fraud in embassies, However we would think he would be equally furious with redeployments that do not make sense.
Many PAC members approached for this article while appear to question the wisdom of these very expensive moves initiated by Chaponda who is no longer at Foreign Ministry appear to not be willing to confront the Mutharika administration.
According to reporting Government has also recalled and suspended Deputy Ambassador Doreen Kapanga and first secretary (administration) Fletcher Chowe from Ethiopia mission for allegedly attempting to siphon $30,000 (about K20 million) through a check written in the First Secretary’s name. Reporting that the new Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Francis Kasaila has not refuted.
The Malawi President Peter Mutharika is said to have ordered that all Malawian embassies across the world should be audited following the fraud that has been uncovered at Malawi Embassy in Ethiopia. Minister of foreign affairs Francis Kasaila made the revelation saying the ministry is in the process of assigning National Audit Office to carry out the audit. “We have been instructed by President Mutharika to conduct a proper audit in our missions following what happened in Ethiopia,” said Kasaila.
Late last month we reported that George Chaponda while still Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Ministry through his Spokesperson Rejoice Shumba defended the recent redeployment of diplomat Necton Mhura, Edward Sawerengera and Brian Bowler saying it was a normal relocation that no evil intention was behind the move.
However George Chaponda the Man behind the unexplainable moves is no longer at this Ministry, Is it not common sense to allow Francis Kasaila the new Minister to revisit these moves? If not Kasaila who is better suited other than PAC to at least query Government?
The Foreign Affairs Ministry clarification came amid outcry from Party insiders and detractors alike over the pending redeployments of Necton Mhura, Edward Sawerengera and Brian Bowler from New York at the UN and Brazil respectively arguing that such relocation to these ambassadors were ill-advised.
To date nothing has changed, these redeployments were ill-advised and require further questioning, and Parliament’s Public Appointments Committee (PAC) has the mandate if not the responsibility to look into this further.
People who spoke to the Maravi Post about this story revealed that some of the Ambassadors are being accommodated so that their spouses can be in countries where they can seek meaningful employment for themselves.
Whatever the reasoning behind some of these moves, there does appear to be enough here for Parliament’s Public Appointments Committee (PAC), to question people responsible in the administration.