By Rhoda Chifuka Mhango
From some reticent pocket of Machinga, comes a cool-headed son of Malawi, whose journey of life can be described as ‘full-filling’ and a blessing of many people he interacted with, served and those who obliged under his selfless service to the nation.
Born on October 4, 1959, this selfless son of the soil is Bright Msaka SC, honestly one of the few taintless Malawians, in and out of politics.
Currently he is the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Vice President for the Eastern Region, a position that peaked his political credentials, earned through dedication of service to Malawians and fervent loyalty to the party.
And, since 2019, he has been a Member of Parliament for Machinga Likwenu – also signifying the trust of the populace from his home area, who continue to bestow him the status of parliamentarian, going by his achievements at that level.
Being out of the cabinet has not distracted him to sincerely serve his constituents and his party, the DPP.
Apart from having served the nation as a chief secretary and Cabinet minister in different portfolios, in the administrations of DPP founder, Dr. Bingu wa Mutharika, a stint in Joyce Banda’s [successor of Bingu], and later, the Peter Mutharika government, Msaka previously served the nation in numerous senior positions, without a dimple.
For purposes of record, he served as a chief secretary for a combined nine years, in the administrations that roped him in, mostly basing in his ability and prowess, going by the diverse capabilities enshrined in his vast knowledge of governance.
Msaka is a rare breed of politician, who is level headed, mature, professional, and not emotional in his administering of roles given into him by his seniors (presidents), as well as the commoners, that democratically, are the employers at both government and party levels.
Yes, many may know Msaka as a politician and parliamentarian, but they don’t know this cool talking gentleman is not an ordinary lawyer. He has a cap of eminent masters of the law [lawyers], answering to the title of SC [Senior Counsel], which is not a mean achievement in the Malawi legal circles.
Yet, Msaka does not sink himself in the ocean of pride, he is always humble and selfless.
Many who have interacted with him will attest he is the least to be described as pompous – a feat that places him above many of those that aspire for the highest political position on the land.
His credentials have not changed him to become an arrogant and pompous politician – simply put, success has not spoiled him as is the case with many, who forget they are there to serve the people of Malawi.
And, while still on that, a talk about his educational and professional accomplishments.
His initial classroom enrolment was at the Nkasaulo F. P school in Machinga District for his Primary school education, later, he proceeded to Zomba Catholic Secondary School (also known as Box 2) where, he obtained his Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE).
Box two, then, was a hub of only sharp brains, not for every Jack and Jim, earned their ticket of selection into that school.
No wonder, Msaka scored highly in his MSCE and later got selected to University of Malawi, Chancellor College in 1978 to further his studies from where he graduated with a Law Degree in 1983.
His academic and professional credentials are plenty, and that includes that he holds LLB (Hons) from University of Malawi (UNIMA) – Chancellor College, Masters of Science (MSc) in Global Management from University of Salford in the United Kingdom (UK), a Public Private Partnerships (PPP)
Diploma from IP3, Washington DC.
Above all, he got conferred the Status of Senior Counsel (SC) in 2009.
Bright Msaka SC was admitted to practice as a lawyer in Malawi from 1983 and his areas of emphasis were Commercial litigation, Personal Injury liability claims, Restructuring, Insurance Claims, Libel, Civil and Criminal Litigation.
No wonder, his major clients were banks, road construction companies, tobacco companies, international shipping companies, insurance companies, trading corporations, and motor vehicle franchise holders.
This, obviously seals the fact that he is not an ordinary lawyer, but someone whose legal judgement and practice, is above the horizon of common legal brains.
Not only has Msaka excelled in law practice, but has also in the academic tuff, whereby, between 1987-1992 he was an examiner of the English Company Law for the ACCA Accountants board.
Again, between 1992-1993, he was also an examiner of the Malawi Company Law for the same ACCA Accountants board.
While between 1993-1994 he was a lecturer in Law (Civil Procedure), for the University of Malawi, Chancellor College, Zomba.
Later, he was appointed the High Commissioner for the Republic of Malawi to Canada, serving that call of duty from 12 Jan 1995 to Sept 1998. His diplomatic service came into being after being appointed by Malawi’s first democratically elected President, Dr. Bakili Muluzi, who served as Malawi President from 1994-2004.
Between September 1998 and December 2003, Msaka served as the High Commissioner of the Republic of Malawi to the United Kingdom Duration, under the same administration.
After that duty of tour, he was also appointed as Malawi’s country’s Ambassador to Portugal Duration, between 18th May 2000 to 2001. He also served as an Ambassador of the Republic to Sweden Duration, from 24 May 2000-2003.
His diplomatic service also included duty tours as Ambassador of Malawi to Norway, the Kingdom of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, and other countries.
But, also at the peak of his diplomatic service, Msaka was entrusted as a Special Envoy for the Malawi leadership to many global leaders, which attests his impeccable ambassadorial accomplishment.
This, obviously makes him qualify as one of the few bests there is, to ably drive Malawi’s international relations, more at this time that the country needs to effectively build trust that would earn it more trade, financial support, and indeed, painting a rosy picture of the Malawi that is currently deeply in the dark atmosphere of global reputation.
This, obviously augers well with another of his sea of experience – having amicably served as Deputy Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet and Deputy Head of the Malawi Public Service, and indeed the Chief Secretary to the Government, and Secretary to the President and Cabinet, being the Head of the Malawi.
The appointments include those made by the much-esteemed Malawi’s third President, after Independence, late Ngwazi, Professor Bingu Wa Mutharika, who was the State President of Malawi between 2004 to 2012.
Later, he also served as Minister of Lands, Housing, Physical Planning, Surveys and Urban Development- June 2014 to April 2015. He was appointed in that capacity by Malawi’s fifth President, His Excellency Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika, who was the State President of Malawi between June 2014 to June 2020.
Msaka’s achievements in his cabinet roles are enormous, but few of those includes, overseeing the successful introduction and implementation of the Malata and Cement Subsidy Program.
Between April 2015 – 2017, he served as the Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining. This meant he was responsible for Mineral Resources, Energy, Environment, Conservation, Climate Change, National Parks, Wild Life and Forestry. His contributions in that portfolio are also mammoth, hence testifying he has a good muscle of translating national challenges into a success story, worth the national and global praise.
Many may not also know that the level headed and ever-smiling Msaka has served in many other government and cabinet roles, such as successfully implementing the MAREP Phase 8, with over 350 new centres connected to the grid.
This is in addition to his cabinet contributions to the passing of the legislation of unbundling ESCOM to establish EGENCO, so as to attract independent power producers.
In the same area of power generation and distribution, Msaka was central to the ensuring of the successful implementation of the Millennium Challenge High Voltage Transmission backbone, from Kammwamba in the South, to Bwengu on the North.
During his reign as minister responsible, he ensured that ESCOM achieve a clean balance sheet. Among many other heights of his performance, was the signing of the Power Interconnector Agreement with Zambia.
Also, on record of his achievements in that portfolio was the overseeing the construction and completion of the Strategic Fuel Reserves.
In addition, his feat includes the passing of the legislation to enhance penalties for wildlife crime for the Directorate of Wildlife, which embraced the introduction of the carrying of firearms for Forestry Guards, to curb poaching.
Msaka is also reputed to have presided over the first ever successful prosecution of individuals involved in dealing with protected tree species, such as the Mukula in the Department of Forestry.
He was also at the top command of procuring and the installation of modern and more accurate weather forecasting equipment for the Department of Climate Change; no wonder Malawians know in advance the real expectations of weather, unlike before.
It is also a fact that Msaka was behind the successful introduction of a subsidiary legislation aimed at banning thin plastics in Malawi, to mitigate Climate Change.
Going to the mining terrain, he supervised and launched the Minerals Arial Geophysical Survey Report.
And, there are also achievements he can point and Malawians can appreciate, when he served as Minister of Justice and Constitutional, June 2019 to June 2020, appointed by Malawi’s fifth President, Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika.
Msaka also chaired and led The African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO); apart from that, launched the National Integrity Program for The University of Malawi.
He was at the ultimate restoration of the Malawi’s A status on the fight against Corruption, with The Financial Intelligence Authority.
Msaka, under Professor Peter Mutharika, also served as the Minister of Education, Science and Technology.
His achievements in that portfolio includes overseeing the phasing out of tuition fees for secondary school learners; negotiating and securing the printing of textbooks for every child and for every subject from Standard one to five.
His leadership in the ministry saw the banning of the opening of primary schools with grass walls and thatched roofs. Apart from that, he negotiated and secured the provision of 250 Secondary Schools in Malawi with the US government; which today has been hailed by many Malawians.
Last, but not least, his Ministry employed all trained Primary School Teachers, an exploit that oversaw the promotion of 20,000 teachers.
And, going by this documentation, it is an obvious fact that #THE FUTUREISBRIGHT, with Bright Msaka!