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APM faulted on new appointments

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Analysts have trashed President Peter Mutharika’s appointment of former radio announcer, Gerald Viola, as Director of Public Affairs in the Office of the President and Cabinet.
Minister of Information, Nicholas Dausi, confirmed Viola’s appointment in an interview yesterday adding that former MBC Television personality, Timpunza Mwansambo, has been moved to Ministry of Trade as spokesperson.
Dausi, however, would not explain the role of Viola as the Director of Public Affairs.
Viola’s appointment comes at a time the country has several other similar positions in government.
On the payroll are Director of Information in the Ministry of Information, Director of Communications at State House, State House Press Officer with eight assistants, Minister of Information and Government Spokesperson as well as Minister of Civic Education, all of them dealing with the country’s public affairs.
Political analyst at Chancellor College, Mustafa Hussein, said until the country is clear on what the post entails one would be justified to think that the appointment is just to thank a loyal member or an acquaintance saying everything which the government deals with is a public affair.
“There are all sorts of directorates in the public sector and the roles of this new directorate would have easily been incorporated in the other already existing directorates. After all, everything which the government handles including public health, education, security, transport and others are public affairs. This is just an additional hole on the public resources which we ought to be sealing,” he said.
Another political scientist, Happy Kayuni, said although the government may have a justification for appointing a director of public affairs, the trend elsewhere, and here in Malawi, is that we need to be reducing expenses in running the government.
Kayuni said it is surprising that instead of reducing offices and directorates, the government is increasing them.
“All over the world, governments are reducing their expenses. Here in Malawi, we are talking about public sector reforms which among other things, involve reducing expenses by combining some offices where possible. This appointment is defeating public finance management claims the government has been making because this is simply a creation of additional and unnecessary expenses by the government,” he said.
Viola worked at the government controlled Malawi Broadcasting Corporation as a radio announcer before moving to Galaxy Radio owned by the Mutharika family. He was then appointed Director of Information before serving as Presidential Press Officer.

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