LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-Malawi Vice President Saulos Chilima’s report recommends that cabinet ministers should not be Members of Parliament against the current trend.
This is in minute details of the much touted Veep Chilima report on quick overhaul of public service systems, which was submitted to president mid last week and was kept close to the chest.
President Lazarus Chakwera tasked Chillma to prepare a report on how best to fix the broken civil service system, which among other things is a breeding ground for corruption, abuse of office and theft of public resources.
The much-awaited overrated report this publication is in possession recommends, among other things, a MK300,000 minimum salary for civil servants and a reduction of the retirement age to allow young people to have opportunities to get jobs in government.
The Chilima closely-guarded report is propagating for an establishment of an independent commission, which will be tasked to interview all candidates and restructuring of the Civil Service Commission.
Chilima and his high-powered taskforce comprising of; Ronald Mangani, Professor Nyovasi Madise, Dr Aubrey Mvula, Dr Henry Chingaipe, Dr Steven Matenje, Waki Mushani, John Suzi-Banda, Reverend Elsie Tembo, Tione Chilambe, Zunzo Mitole, Nwazi Nthambala and Jane Kambalame recommends a performance-based monitoring of civil servants and that each one of them must undergo an appraisal every three months and be fired if they fail.
The taskforce in the report also advocates for the commercialization of some state lodges such as the magnificent Chikoko Bay in the lakeshore district of Mangochi and Zomba State Lodge and turn them into hotels to create jobs and boost local businesses and tourism.
The report, which was submitted to President Lazarus Chakwera at Kamuzu Palace in a closed-door ceremony is pushing for the privatisation of the Road Traffic Directorate (RTD) and the deployment of undercover spies to track and prosecute corruption.
However, the strangest recommendation in the Chilima report is the suggestion to repurpose former president Hastings Kamuzu Banda’s Kasungu private property, Ngulu ya Nawambe residence into a specialist hospital treating cancer, kidney issues and others, and building staff houses for medics within the compound.
Furthermore, the Chilima taskforce recommends a house purchase scheme for civil servants but also push for the advertisement of key positions like principal secretary etc and cessation of political appointments.
Chilima and his team wants Chakwera to consider merging some ministries and having principal secretaries to deputise a minister when the minister is not available instead of having deputy ministers while at the same time introduce a national pension scheme authority and a Civil Service Medical Scheme authority.
The taskforce commends to the president for the country to have Monthly audit of government departments and that civil servants must declare assets every six months as a way of curbing corruption.
The Chilima report is further pushing for an increase of funding to the anti-corruption bureau (ACB) by 400 percent to ensure corruption cases are speedily prosecuted.
Also, the taskforce, suggests that the graft busting body work is with stakeholders to remove the need for the ACB to seek consent from the Director of Public Prosecutions when prosecuting cases.
Reads in part the report: “Govement must move to full migration to e-Payments to ensure the government does not lose funds to individuals.”
The Chilima taskforce highly recommends to president Chakwera to consider a total overhaul of Central Medical Stores Trust.
Chilima and his team are also rooting for the commercialisation of the Malawi prison service so that they can use the various skills the prisoners possess, such as engineering and many others to raise funds through construction and other projects.
Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC), soon after the taskforce to the president called for government to release the report.
“The public sector reform is long overdue and Malawians have always believed it to be one of the areas that needed an overhaul in a bid to transform the civil service in terms of performance, maladministration and curbing corruption,” said the group in a statement.
In the statement signed by chairperson Gift Trapence and national coordinator Luke Tembo, HRDC added that the report should be made public to allow every citizen to follow and understand the reform process.
“Our call for accountability and transparency is based on the fact that only when these outcomes and recommendations are made public will Malawians be able to fully adopt and embrace them,” added the statement.
State House press secretary Brian Banda Monday during a State House Press Briefing said the President will review the contents of the report and announce his decisions to the public going forward with the recommendations.
Banda said: “As you recall, the President called for the report to address the issues in government. The report has been handed to him, he will now take time to study and decide the way forward, including a decision on whether to make the contents public or not.”
“The president cannot be announcing all recommendations in public. He only communicates to the public what he considers will be implemented,” he added.
The report have made several recommendations to the President built on recommendations of the public reform sector review programme, which has been ongoing for a number of years.
President Chakwera ordered the formation of the task force in his February speech following revelations of abuse of Covid-19 funds, saying there was a need for the country to tackle the overarching problems of wastage and corruption in the public service.
Dedza based business man Sikisi Chisale observes “The report is not what we expected. It is rhetoric and nothing of those recommendations will not work in practice. Telling MPs not to double as MPs is a war no politician will win no matter the good intention they might have but the truth is the MPs will resist it to the core.”
A Lilongwe public worker, Bernard Zaulombo, who lives Area 51 but works in Kanengo, said: “So, now the government wants to do a property grabbing on Kamuzu Banda’s Kasungu private residence?
Lydia Mwangupiri, a social media commentator based at Karonga Boma, said: “What grade in civil service will be getting MK300, 000 minimum, they need to know that time of promising people the moon and the sun is over. Malawians are difficult people and if taken for a ride, they can ungovernable.”
President Chakwera is yet to take action on Chilima’s recommendation if indeed is to serve Malawians or personal interests.