Pres. Mutharika: “follow what the laws say, and be impartial.”

A very warm welcome to you all to Kamuzu Palace. I hope that you all had merry Christmas and New Year celebrations.

I wish each one of you a prosperous 2017. As you all know, I made a number of public appointments.

I appointed Honourable Nicholas Dausi as Minister of Information and Communications Technology.

I appointed Mr. Lloyd Muhara as Chief Secretary to the Government.

And before these two appointments, I had also appointed His Lordship Justice Nyakwawa Usiwa-Usiwa as Judge of the High Court of Malawi.

Just this week, I appointed Members of the Commission of Enquiry into the procurement of maize from Zambia.

The law requires that holders of each office should take an oath of office. We are here to swear the appointees into office.

Let me take this opportunity to congratulate each one of you.Congratulations

Honourable Nicholas Dausi has served as a member of the Cabinet before. He has been Publicity Secretary for Democratic Progressive Party. He has also served as Deputy Minister in the Office of the President and Cabinet. He has a good overview of Government and politics.This time, he will serve as Minister as well as the official Government Spokesperson.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me remind Hon. Dausi and all the Ministers on the important Constitutional role that members of the Cabinet play in our system of Government.

In our jurisdiction, Ministers, as part of the Executive, are the custodians of policy in the various ministries and hold responsibility for the actions of Government. Government in turn delivers on its commitments to the public through these policies. As a Government, we are obliged to formulate and champion robust policies as well as providing the institutional mechanism for prioritizing and implementing those policies.

We were ushered into office in May 2014 because Malawians were convinced with our People Centred Manifesto. Therefore, besides your advisory role as a Cabinet Minister, you will, Honourable Dausi, by virtue of your portfolio coordinate the dissemination of Government programs and policies. Malawians out there would like to know what Government is doing. We still have many gaps of information in our society.

Let me emphasise one thing. Your Ministry is the Ministry that must lead Malawi into the digital age. We are fast becoming a digital generation. This development needs to be encouraged but balanced with discipline and an ethical culture.

You are the Ministry that must champion cyber-security and protect Malawi from cyber-crimes. Malawi is becoming an ICT driven economy but that comes with its responsibilities. I renamed your Ministry to its present name to refocus on this ICT mandate. So, you have a big job. But I am confident that you will do it! That is why I appointed you!

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
The newly appointed Chief Secretary to the Government, Mr. Lloyd Muhara, is also not new to the Public Service. His vast professional experience includes working as an Assistant Chief Executive Officer for Lilongwe and Chief Executive Officer for Mzuzu City Councils.

He was also Commissioner General for the Malawi Revenue Authority and Judge of the High Court of Malawi. Justice Muhara has also served in various taskforces that the Government has established from time to time to address specific issues.

In addition, he has worked in the private sector for a long time as Company Secretary for Limbe Leaf Tobacco Company, which by virtue of its business allowed him to interact with the public service in various ways.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
I believe we are all also familiar with the work of the Chief Secretary to the Government. Besides being Secretary to Cabinet, he also heads the public service under Sections 14 and 16 of the Public Service Act (1994).

As head of the Public Service, he serves as the principal link between the Presidency and the Public Service and is responsible for its overall performance and effective management. This is no simple task. As I have earlier indicated, Mr Muhara has experience in both the public and private sectors and, I want him to bring change to the public service.

I want us to see more discipline. I want us to see restoration of integrity in the system. I want us to see a performance-driven public service.

We must see change of mind-set towards performance. And I want to see better speed of implementation of Public Sector Reforms now that the Commission’s work is coming to an end.

There are several reports of mismanagement of resources in the public service. I want you to root out corruption from the civil service. Your office is mandated to discipline, to suspend and to fire people. I want wrong-doers to be fired and prosecuted. In fact, we are better off parting with people who bring performance down than keeping them in the system. Time for playing games is over!

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
The courts are critical in the exercise of checks and balances, for they have the mandate and competency. Their prime responsibility is to independently and impartially interpret, protect and enforce the Constitution and all laws to create a just society.

I have appointed Justice Nyakwawa Usiwa-Usiwa to be one of the guardians of justice. His elevation comes as no surprise. He comes to the High Court with deserved reputation as a learned and highly respected judicial officer after fourteen years in the practice of law.

He has served as Senior, Principal and Chief Resident Magistrate and most recently Deputy Registrar of the High Court. His appointment is thoroughly well deserved. I am confident that he too will continue to serve to the best of his abilities.

I have always reminded newly appointed judges that Justice delayed is justice denied. Prolonged delays in the delivery of justice have been an issue of public concern. I am sure you will pass judgements in a swift manner whilst adhering to the due process of the law. Judges should also help us in the fight against corruption.

As a nation, we are sometimes concerned with the way we use our right to injunctions in this country. Some injunctions only take this country backwards. I have seen injunctions being granted to stop us from investigating officers who are alleged to have misused public funds.

We face the same problem in collecting taxes, where a person suspected of tax evasion or externalisation, simply goes to some judge and obtains an injunction.

This is destroying our institutions. These injunctions seem to be given automatically. My word is: justice must have the face of patriotism, just as it must have a human face.

Above all, it is important for us to use our courts with the highest responsibility because the way we use our courts can also promote corruption and theft of public funds. As a judge, your conscience, your integrity and your country will always be at stake in every decision you make.

There are times when the fate of the whole nation will depend on the decision that you make. But we have trusted you with this delicate duty. And I wish you the very best.

(Addressing all appointees)
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me remind all of you that the eyes of the nation will be on you by virtue of your positions.

As public figures, your professional conduct and the decisions that you will be taking will be scrutinised and sometimes harshly so. You must all remember to follow what the laws say, and be impartial. Malawians will expect you to be above question at all times.

Above all, let us work as a team.

No arm of Government can single-handedly do everything without support from each other. Let us work to end poverty, to protect the environment, to make Malawi a performing society and restore integrity in our systems.

Finally, it is because I want us to remain a nation of high integrity that I have appointed Commissioners to investigate the procurement of maize by ADMARC. We need to get to the bottom of this and bring to the people nothing but the truth.

In appointing the Commissioners, I have acted in accordance with Section 89(1)(g) of the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi as read with Section 2(1) of the Commissions of Inquiry (Chapter 18:01) of the Laws of Malawi.

This Commission starts work immediately and will report its findings by January 31, 2017. Like most Malawians, I have complete trust in this Commission.

It will be chaired by the Eminent Retired Chief Justice Anastazia Msosa, S.C. As a nation, we also have trust in our Solicitor General Dr. Janet Banda and Mr. Isaac Kayira who are part of the team that will bring the truth. Mr. Mike Chinoko from the Law Commission will work as Secretary to the Commission.

I decided to constitute an independent Commission of Enquiry because of the seriousness of the allegations and the matter at hand. Maize is our life.

If you find any wrong-doing, then I will act accordingly. As a Head of State, I do not act on allegations. I act on facts and truth.

Therefore, I hereby commission you to investigate the maize procurement and bring us facts and truth.

I thank you all for your attention.
May God Bless us All.
Thank you!

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