Chakwera concedes whole Malawi govt system is corrupt

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Chakwera concedes whole Malawi govt system is corrupt: Delegates Chilima to deal with mafia-like criminal enterprise, restructure civil service

President Lazarus Chakwera  on Sunday conceded the public perception that Malawi government is like a crime scene of the mafia-like criminal enterprise, saying public sector reform is what the country needs and delegated the country’s second-in-command Saulos Chilima up a turbo-charged reforms to clean the system.

Chakwera said this on Sunday during his weekly briefing monitored on Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) television as  Malawians are now keeping leaders on their toes to account for the K6.2 billion for the Covid-19 national response plan which is reported to have been misappropriated.

In his address, Chakwera said the rot in the government system goes deeper than Covid-19 funds.

“If we are going to root  out the problem of waste, abuse, and theft of public  resources, we must admit that these are behaviours that  have poisoned our values as a nation and have corroded  our entire government system,” said Chakwera.

The President said In fact over the past 27  years, the government system has been “rigged” with bad  or old laws, procedures, policies, and contracts that are  cleverly designed to not only facilitate waste, abuse, and  theft, but to also protect those who engage in these acts from being fired or prosecuted.

“The three government  systems through which this behaviour is perpetuated are  the system of allowances, the system of procurement,  and the system of civil servant’s employment contracts.

“These three systems are used by system insiders to loot  with impunity,” said Chakwera.

Chakwera reminded the nation that he spoke about  the looting scheme in the government  system in his  radio address of July 25th, 2020, less than  a month after he took office.

“My exact words on that  occasion were that based on last year’s report from the  Auditor General, ‘there is no Government Ministry,  Department, or Agency where the culture of impunity  for wastage, misappropriation, and theft is not  entrenched. And so we cannot afford to deal with  corruption selectively by focusing on the tip of the  iceberg. It is the whole system that is corrupt and  therefore it is the whole system we must clean up.’

“To clean up the system as a whole, we must conduct a  comprehensive review and overhaul of the three  government systems of allowances, of procurement, and  of employment contracts,” said Chakwera.

He said that is the public sector  reform that Malawi needs “most urgently”.

The President  therefore  announced that he has delegated  Vice-President, Chilima, in his capacity as  Minister of Public Sector Reforms, together with a  special Taskforce he will form in consultation with the Head of State,  to begin and prioritize a review of these three  government systems and submit recommendations for  their overhaul to his  office within three months.

“The  recommendations must include any legislative changes  we must make in our laws at one of the sittings of  Parliament this year so that our laws protect the  interests and resources of the public, not the rubble of  public servants who use broken systems to loot and use  bad laws and contracts to keep their jobs in the system  and keep looting.

“The recommendations must also  include a restructuring of the civil service to be more  efficient and of civil servants’ conditions of service so  that the good people in the system are well supported  and not able to use poor pay as an excuse for wasting,  abusing, and stealing public resources,” said the President.

Chakwera predicted that the “systemic  review and overhaul” will be resisted by so many who are  benefiting from the looting, including greedy politicians  from all political parties, greedy businesses from the  private sector, and greedy civil servants they partner  with inside the machinery.

“But it is a battle they will not  win,” warned Chakwera, adding “ they will not win because you, the Malawian people,  put me here to bring this kind of radical change, and  whether anyone likes it or not, change has come.”

Commentators say Chakwera spoke tough on Sunday, but that Malawians want less of flowery language and empty promises, they expect their leader to have few words and more action. Source: Nyasha Times

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