President Peter Mutharika Monday made some changes to some key government positions which have seen Malison Ndau fired as Minister of Information and has been replaced by State spy chief Nicholas Dausi.
Dausi who was heading National Intelligence Bureau (NIB) is yet to be replaced.
Ndau has been in office for almost four months following his appointed in early September and no reasons have been given for the sacking in the statement signed by Presidential Press Secretary, Mgeme Kalilani, but his dismissal has come barely days after he tried, unsuccessfully, to lead the government bloc in Parliament to stand in the way of the just passed contentious Access to Information Bill.
The former minister was also recently in the spotlight when he was cornered by the media to explain on the whereabouts and health status of Mutharika, after reports made rounds on social media that Mutharika was hospitalised in United States of America(USA), where he had gone to attend United Nations General Assembly (Unga).
Mutharika who has been in office for at least two and half years now has changed government spokespersons for the fifth time starting with Kondwani Nankhumwa who was replaced by Patricia Kaliati and then Jappie Mhango who was replaced by Ndau.
Mutharika has also appointed Lloyd Muhara as Chief Secretary to Government who has replaced George Mkondiwa who is heading to India as the country’s High Commissioner. Muhara deputised Mkondiwa until the new appointment.
Interestingly, Mkondiwa’s redeployment has come a year after the top civil servant was due for retirement in November last year having attained government mandatory retirement age of 60.
The development puts into question the seriousness of the ongoing public sector reforms being championed by Vice President Saulos Chilima and sources at Capital Hill claim that Mkondiwa has renegotiated the new contract.
National Secretary for Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) Martin Chiphwanya has observed that even though Mkondiwa has vast expertise and knowledge, government needs to consider empowering the younger generation by appointing them to such positions.
Another appointment is that of Isaac Munlo who was High Commissioner to India and is returning home as Chief Director in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
Mkondiwa was head of the civil service and all high commissioners and ambassadors were ultimately answerable to him. The new appointment means that Mkondiwa will be reporting directly to Munlo who was his junior since ambassadors report directly to Principal Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
Some commentators feel Ndau has been fired because of the passing of the ATI Bill last week Thursday in Parliament. Most Members of Parliament from government side were missing from the House when the bill was being discussed, a development that gave advantage to the opposition to dominate the debate and eventually pass it.
Some have blamed chief whip on the government side for the continued absence of many ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators in the House.
Last week, Ndau described the passing of the ATI as a great step since the bill is important for all 17 million Malawians.
Asked yesterday if he feels he was fired because of the passing of the ATI Bill, Ndau said he did not believe so because ATI is in the manifesto of the DPP and during campaign Mutharika promised to ensure that the bill is passed into law.
Asked further if he thinks he was fired because of being too honest as government spokesperson, he said: “May be one can say so but I am a Christian and I will always tell the truth. I cannot hide anything.”
Ndau said he learnt about his dismissal through a scroller (a running message) on Malawi Broadcasting Corporation TV. But he said he has taken the news positively because he knew that a ministerial position is not permanent.
Recently, Mutharika also fired one minister only, Allan Chiyembekeza, who was responsible for Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development.
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