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Lazarus Chakwera sacks Zanga-Zanga Chikhosi

Announces expenditure control measures

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NEW BROOM—Zamba

By Deogratias Mmana

President Lazarus Chakwera has fired the Secretary to the Office of the President and Cabinet Zanga-Zanga Chikhosi and has since replaced him with Colleen Zamba, who was the Head of Presidential Delivery Unit and Chief Adviser to the President on SDGs and International Affairs.

Chakwera announced the removal of Chikhosi at a press briefing held at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe, where he, among other things, outlined austerity measures his government has introduced following the devaluation of the Kwacha by 25 percent last week.

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The President, who did not disclose the reasons for Chikhosi’s removal, however, said Zamba was appointed to the position of Secretary to the President and Cabinet to champion the implementation of the austerity measures.

Coincidentally, non-governmental and faith-based organisations such as the Public Affairs Committee have been calling for Chikhosi’s removal.

“To build a robust monitoring system that ensures strict adherence to these measures and other directives in all MDAs [ministries, departments and agencies], I have appointed Ms. Colleen Zamba as the new Secretary to the President and Cabinet with immediate effect, taking over from Mr Zanga-Zanga Chikhosi, whom I am deploying elsewhere. Ms. Zamba will communicate other spending control measures in due course,” Chakwera said.

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During the press conference, the President also gave Anti- Corruption Bureau (ACB) Director-General Martha Chizuma 21 days to submit a report on United Kingdom (UK)- based businessperson Zuneth Sattar’s investigation.

In one of the affidavits, the National Crime Agency (NCA) of the UK names people in Chakwera’s administration.

However, the President said he would not act on the mentioned people because they were not found guilty on the matter.

“So, since by law, the Director- General of ACB is supposed to submit to the President and the Minister of Justice a report on the general conduct of the affairs of the bureau, and considering that this matter is of high national interest, I would expect that a specific report on this issue be made available within 21 days to allow my office and the country to be appraised, as Malawians have every right to know the extent of the whole thing and the actions that will be taken on it,” he said.

Minister of Justice Titus Mvalo, on the issue of top government officials linked to Sattar, said every is innocent until proven guilty and that court processes were being followed.

Chakwera also outlined austerity measures his government has introduced to cushion Malawians from the impact of the devaluation of the Kwacha.

The austerity measures include that public officers who need to travel abroad for their work out of absolute necessity will only be allowed to take no more than three trips during the remainder of the year, unless in cases of unforeseen extreme emergency.

The President also said the number of people in a delegation travelling abroad will be subjected to stringent restrictions and that no top-up allowances will be paid to public officers on fully- funded trips for work, training, workshops or conferences.

He also said ministry officials travelling within the region for work must fly economy class and that all controlling officers will be held responsible for ensuring strict adherence to spending limits we have set for domestic travel.

“All boards of State-owned enterprises and statutory corporations must confine themselves to quarterly meetings, plus one extraordinary meeting per quarter for emergency situations pursuant to the approval of the line Minister, unless allowed otherwise by my office. Allocations of fuel allowance for all Cabinet members is to be cut by 20 percent. The issuance of fuel to public officers who are not entitled to the same is forbidden, and my office will soon provide detailed guidelines on how this will be regulated,” he said.

He also suspended the procurement of new vehicles by MDAs until further notice and, to end the practice of public officers driving government vehicles they are not authorised to, all public officers authorised to self-drive will be issued with an authorisation card to be enforced on the roads by the police.

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