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Information Minister, civil servants at ‘war’

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MINISTER of Information and Communication Technology Nicholas Dausi has challenged the country’s civil servants that unless they nurtute a hard working spirit in their daily service to the nation, government would keep underperforming in its pursuit of development.

But Civil Servants Trade Union (CSTU) has lashed back at the minister saying if Dausi’s observation is anything to go by, then government is hoodwinking Malawians on the success story it preaches in most of its projects whose key personnel are civil servants.

Dausi in an interview claimed that there is rampant inefficiency and laxity in the public service including teachers suggesting that most of the time is spent on personal issues.

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“Imagine, nurses coming to work at 9 o’clock in the morning. All this borders on laxity on the part of people that are supposed to serve Malawians.  We must embrace the spirit of hard work, patriotism and integrity,” Dausi said during a stopover in Karonga on a tour that took him to Rumphi and Chitipa.

Dausi also attacked the country’s teachers for staging a sit-in over leave grants, a matter he said could have been settled if the civil servants did the needful.

“Everybody knows that every year civil servants are supposed to receive leave grants and to do that they have to fill GP forms. People must understand that it takes time to process these forms and this should not warrant industrial action,” Dausi said.

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However, Madalitso Njolomole, CSTU General Secretary hit back at Dausi for seemingly contradicting developmental strides in projects that are dependent on civil servants.

“It is unfortunate that he has made those remarks because government has been speaking of having made strides in various projects including the malata subsidy programme and all that is because of civil servants’ work. I am wondering which civil servants he is talking about because if he says we are not hard working to the extent that development is affected, the government projects have also failed,” Njolomole said.

During council briefings with district executive committees that were part of the tour, Dausi took some time off to civic educate members on new pieces of legislation including the Access to Information and cyber security and electronic transaction and the communication act.

In his remarks Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology Justin Saidi underscored the relevance of the laws noting Malawians have advanced technologically. District Commissioners for Karonga and Chitipa however took advantage of the minister’s visit to raise concern on internet connectivity challenges in their local councils.

“We don’t have the network connectivity in most parts of the district so I think with the coming in of these laws most of our areas will be covered,” said Grace Chirwa who is District Commissioner for Chitipa.

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