Colleen Zamba’s directive on committee meetings starts to bite

Boniface Chibwana

By Cathy Maulidi:

Secretary to President and Cabinet Colleen Zamba’s directive to Parliamentary committees for them to seek approval from her office before embarking on trips and visits outside Lilongwe using State Corporation’s resources has started to bite.

Last week, government announced that State Corporations would now be seeking approval from Secretary to President and Cabinet if they want to take Parliamentary committees visits and meetings outside Parliament using corporations’ resources.


In a letter signed by Comptroller of Statutory Corporations Peter Simbani, all corporations were ordered to direct requests for such meetings through his office.

In keeping with that directive, Zamba is reported to have stopped a meeting which the Agriculture Committee of Parliament planned to have with Admarc on Thursday.

According to the information that we have sourced, the committee planned to meet Admarc officials in Blantyre after its tour in Thyolo District.


However, according to a member of the committee, Zamba has stopped the meeting.

“The committee summoned Admarc officials to discuss a number of issues including delays to start buying maize and other problems which Admarc is facing.

“However, Zamba has stopped the meeting because it was planned to take place in Blantyre,” said the informant.

Ironically, Zamba has given a go ahead to her meeting with Public Accounts Committee of Parliament which is slated for today in Salima.

Information we have gathered indicates that the Office of President and Cabinet will foot the bills of the meeting at Sunbird Livingstonia Hotel in Salima.

In addition, members of the committee will not use Parliament bus to the venue of the meeting. They will use personal vehicles and get fuel refunds.

Going outside Lilongwe also means that the members will get allowances.

Zamba is taking the committee members to Salima after the committee summoned her to appear before it to discuss a number of issues concerning government institutions.

Pac chairperson Mark Botomani confirmed that they are meeting Zamba in Salima today. He did not give further details.

“We are meeting her on Saturday, 10am at Livingstonia in Salima,” Botomani said.

Pac wants an explanation from Zamba about operations of the civil service, including audit queries, ghost workers and alleged continued tendency by some civil servants to disregard laid-down public expenditure procedures.

Zamba has been snubbing the committee a number of times.

Commenting on the double-faced nature of Zamba’s directive, Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) through its national coordinator Boniface Chibwana said approvals for meetings outside Lilongwe should be uniform.

“If it’s for austerity measures, let them be uniform and if the stakeholders are in Lilongwe and Parliament is in Lilongwe, meeting at Parliament could be ideal.

“If the directive was made in good faith, there should not be double standards in the matter,” Chibwana said.

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