Chakwera Dissolves 60 Government Boards, Cancels Contracts

  • A total of 60 public entities are the target of the presidential measure.
  • Chakwera’s spokesman Sean Kampondeni said that the President is keen on ensuring that everyone respects the law and good governance practices.
  • The new Chakwera administration also announced on Wednesday the suspension of public contracts.

Malawi’s new president, Lazarus Chakwera, has hit the ground running by ordering the dissolution of the boards of directors of more than half of the country’s 100 public institutions and companies, suspected of mismanagement and corruption. These dissolutions were made with immediate effect.

Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera is a Malawian politician who is the current President of the Malawi Congress Party, in office since 2013. He is the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly following highly controversial elections held in Malawi on 21 May 2019, which he and other opposition figures are disputing in court and they want the elections to be rerun.

Through a statement released on Tuesday night, Chakwera said that he had received reports on the state of the state institutions “which will inform the steps I will soon be taking to ensure that all institutions have the wherewithal to address the anomalies and malpractices within them.”

A total of 60 public entities are the target of the presidential measure, including Agriculture Development and Marketing Corporation (ADMARC), Electricity Supply Commission of Malawi LTD (ESCOM), Malawi Housing Corporation (MHC), Airport Development Limited (ADL), Malawi College of Accountancy (MCA) and Lilongwe Water Board (LWB).

Chakwera’s spokesman Sean Kampondeni said that the President is keen on ensuring that everyone respects the law and good governance practices. Leading the main opposition party, Chakwera recently won the disputed presidential election repeat on June 23 with 58.5% of the vote, beating the former head of state Peter Mutharika hands down.

The election was organized after the country’s courts canceled Mutharika’s reelection last year, citing fraud and electoral malpractices. Muthaika’s efforts to appeal the decision didn’t bear fruits, as the appeal was thrown away. This paved the way for the new elections that saw him defeated by the opposition candidate.

The new head of state strongly campaigned against the corruption of the old regime and its economic bankruptcy. According to a local analyst Henry Chingaipe, the Director and Lead Consultant at the Lilongwe’s Institute for Policy Research and Social Empowerment, the country’s former President, Mutharika, attributed the management of public companies to many people close to his party as a reward for their political support.

Peter Mutharika is a Malawian politician, educator and lawyer who was President of Malawi from May 2014 to June 2020. Mutharika was defeated by Lazarus Chakwera in the 2020 election, having only obtained about 40% of the vote. Chakwera was sworn in as president of Malawi on 28 June.

Chingaipe, in clear support for the move taken by Chakwera, added that most of the Mutharika appointments did not take merit into account. Instead, it was a sponsorship system designed to guarantee the sustainability of his regime.

In the same vein, the new Chakwera administration also announced on Wednesday the suspension of public contracts, so as to verify that they have not fueled corruption, and that they were awarded according to the laid down rules and regulations.

Mutharika was accused in 2018 of receiving $195,000 in bribes from a company that won a public tender, but he was never formally prosecuted. The information became public following a leaked report, courtesy of Malawi’s anti-corruption agency, which labeled accusations against him of having received a kickback from a $3.9m, or £2.8m contract to supply food to the police.

As per the report, a businessman deposited 145m kwacha into the then ruling Party (DPP), of which Mutharika is the sole signatory. Mutharika came to power in 2014, succeeding Joyce Banda, who was also accused of involvement in a major corruption scandal. In the recently concluded elections, however, Banda was one of the strongest supporters of Chakwera.

On Tuesday, the Malawi Parliament adopted a provisional budget which in particular provides for an increase in the minimum monthly wage from 35,000 to 50,000 kwacha (from $46 to 70).

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Vincent Ferdinand

News reporting is my thing. My view of what is happening in our world is colored by my love of history and how the past influences events taking place in the present time.  I like reading politics and writing articles. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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