Lazarus Chakwera dared on Immigration chief
President Lazarus Chakwera has been dragged to court over his decision to appoint Brigadier General Charles Kalumo as the Director General of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services.
According to a court document The Daily Times has seen, a 29-year-old immigration officer bearing the name Chikhulupiliro Zidana, who has worked at the department since 2012, took the matter to the High Court of Malawi on August 16, 2022, asking for judicial review on the Chakwera’s decision
Zidana, who has also just completed his Bachelor of Laws (Honours) degree at the University of Malawi, is representing himself in the matter.
Through the document, he argues that the decision by Chakwera was illegal as the appointment of the director general of the department in question is vested in the Minister of Homeland Security under Section 3 of the Immigration Act and that it was irrational and procedurally unfair as the choice was a person who is not a member of the Department of Immigration or the public service in general “contrary to the dictates of Section 3 of the Immigration Act.
He also argued that the decision was illegal and irrational as the appointee is beyond the mandatory retirement age of 60 which was promulgated under Section 29 of the Public Service Act.
“[It is] illegal, irrational and procedurally unfair for the appointment was of a person who is not a member of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services or the public service in general when there are qualified and suitable officers to fill the said vacancy within the Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services and the public service as a whole,” the document reads.
Zidana, further, argues that the court should grant permission to proceed with Judicial Review proceedings, and an interim order staying the implementation, in any way or form, of the appointment of Kalumo as the director of the department.
According to the document, one of the factors that prompted the application made by Zidana is that he feels overlooked by the president’s decision, as an experienced immigration officer with great institutional memory having joined the department in 2012.
“I believe that I am of the right age, experience and qualifications to be eligible for appointment as the Director General [Chief Immigration Officer] of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services.
“The decision by the defendant [President Chakwera] to appoint Kalumo who was not eligible for the appointment when there are eligible officers such as I in the Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services and the public service as a whole was illegal, procedurally improper and in breach of my right to be accorded an opportunity for career advancement and self-development,” the document reads.
The matter was heard in chambers yesterday.
Attorney General Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda told us that the matter was adjourned until further notice. He, however, did not disclose details of the case.
Similarly, when contacted by The Daily Times following the judicial review application, Zidana refused to comment on the matter.
President Chakwera took Kalumo from retirement to appoint him as the Director General of the Department in early August.
The appointment was met with criticism by some quarters such as the Human Rights Consultative Committee, who through its Chairperson, Robert Mkwezalamba, told the media that the appointment was retrogressive as far as promoting the youth and serving members of the department is concerned.
Kalumo, reportedly 70, served as the national chairman of the Veterans and Ex-service Members League of Malawi.