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‘Ministries’ delays affect appointment of boards’

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LAMENTED DELAYS—Simbani

Some government Ministries, Departments and Agencies are seemingly not in a hurry to aid the process of reconstituting some parastatal boards despite the fact that the July 22 2022 deadline for submission of names is long gone.

Two months after government announced dissolution of about 30 boards of directors for some of its parastatals in the country, the nomination of the incoming ones for President Lazarus Chakwera’s consideration has not yet been completed.

Such is the case because some of the line ministries have not yet submitted names of the nominees to the office of the Comptroller of Statutory Corporations.

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The Comptroller of Statutory Corporations Peter Simbani acknowledged the delay in submission of names.

“We are still in the process of constituting the boards. I gave a deadline of around July 22, 2022 that I should be given the names that would be presented to the appointing authority but some ministries have not yet responded to the call.

“We are doing all the necessary memos and there is progress. Suffice to say that there have been some delays,” Simbani said.

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On observations that the boards have been underperforming, Simbani said his office has come up with key performance indicators for the incoming boards.

One of the worst case scenarios of a stalemate seems to be at the Ministry of Transport. On April 25, 2022, Minister of Transport and Public Works Jacob Hara dissolved the Roads Authority board which was being chaired by Joe Ching’ani, citing alleged incompetence and corporate governance failures.

Five months later, a new board has not yet been constituted due to disagreements that have erupted between the ministry and the Malawi Local Government Association (Malga) over suitability of some of the nominees.

On October 5, 2022, Principal Secretary for Transport wrote Malga asking for submission of three additional names for appointment consideration, rejecting the ones that were given prior.

“Reference is made to my letter of May 4, 2022 and subsequent response in which you nominated three of your members to be considered for in the board of the RA. I write to request that you provide additional three names for consideration,” the letter reads in part.

But Malga, in its response of October 10, 2022, insisted it would maintain the earlier nominations comprising its Executive Director Hadrod Mkandawire, president Councillor David Maunde and his vice Akima Chipwatali.

“I would like to bring to your attention that, representation of the association into such bodies is restricted to the leadership of the association that comprises the Executive Director, the president and the vice president. It is for this reason that we duly submitted the three names…” reads part of the letter from Malga to the Ministry of Transport.

The letter was signed Mkandawire.

Asked why the first nominees have been returned, Hara did not respond to our question but said Malawians will soon discover what has been going on within the Road Authority.

“Very soon you will discover what has been happening and why we have come this far. For now, be assured that we have an interim board in place and activities of the authority have never at any time been impeded,” Hara said.

Another board that has its operations crippled so far is that of AHL whose chairperson, Rhino Chiphiko, was suspended in his capacity as General Manager for Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc).

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