Another day, another drama…This time, I hear a certain board had the nerve to blow a whopping K77 million on 17 meetings in a calendar year… Just how does one begin to justify that? It is morally-eroded acts such as these that, time and again, force me to ask myself the following question: Do we really deserve to be called a nation?
Okay, we will grant them that K22.8 million for their sanctioned five meetings in a year, which would leave us with about K54.2 million on our hands which was wasted. That left-over amount would be enough to cater for tuition fees at a night school for about 637 secondary school students.
It is incomprehensible for a board comprising people of high repute, not to mention the fact that they were trusted by the President who put them in that board, to spend such a staggering amount on meetings alone when operations in some departments under the institution they are presiding over are being starved of finances, not to mention their very micro level management which has not amused staff.
Just what exactly is wrong with these boards, that they should be obsessed with running down finances? The other time, it was another board blowing money unnecessarily by flying all the way to Dubai for some ‘orientation’ and today, right under the watchful eye of Capital Hill, amounts of big proportions are being wasted.
If we continue on this path, then we will not get anywhere. I am glad President Lazarus Chakwera is equally getting fed up and can no longer hide his frustrations as he warned the other day that he would not hesitate to fire anyone that tries to deliberately stand in his government’s path of progress. He pointed out that there is a lot of ‘slowness’ in the public service, a trait which many seem to have in their DNA. Clearly, holding more meetings than necessary in one calendar year is one way of trying to render ineffective government’s efforts towards progress, for we are told some operations at the said institution have ground to a halt.
I am now beyond convinced that we really should be subjecting all appointees to such offices to public scrutiny and, by that, I do not mean just a committee of Parliament. It is high time we had a public board with diverse individuals, including civil society representation, to take care of such things. You can see that some of the individuals come with impressive titles and CVs, which is why they are trusted by the presidency but, perhaps, there should be just a little more checks to ensure that all the ‘I’s are dotted and the ‘t’s crossed.
By the way, are our parastatals and other government agencies, apart from ministries, really subjected to serious financial audits or it is just a dress rehearsal? These are the kind of things that are supposed to be exposed through audits and I wonder why we have never heard of Capital Hill going all out to hold these entities accountable. All we get to hear are demands and more demands of financial bail-outs and allocations during Parliament’s budget meetings but nobody bothers to keep an eye on how such funds are being utilised. Little wonder, some overzealous managers and boards easily get away with abuses and embezzlement without even batting an eyelid. In such circumstances, it is only brave employees who can raise the red flag, as those at the institution in question have done, and the country awaits a response from the authorities.
What President Chakwera must know is that Malawians are now expecting more than just warnings because time is ticking and the rubble is piling again; which renders all effort committed so far towards sanitising the system fruitless.
Feedback on ‘When cometh modern day Joseph?’
Cliff Chibwezo writes:
Hard to interpret what our VP meant indeed. Ine I say ya okazinga soya sadikira mbuliwuli could mean amene (UTM people) atopa ndi the alliance let them do as they wish. Let them act asadikirenso zina. It was like telling them: Pangani zanu.
As you say, who are we to interpret? We are not Josephs.
Stephen Dakalira is a seasoned Journalist who works as Times Group’s Online and Digital Executive Editor. He is also the Assistant Editor of The Sunday Times Newspaper, and author of Full Circle column which appears in Malawi News; all of these under the Times Group stable.
He has previously worked in key positions for some of Malawi’s key media institutions such as Malawi News Agency, Capital FM Radio and Star Radio (Now Timveni Radio).