Commentators have asked the Public Service Reforms Commission (PSRC) chaired by Vice-President Saulos Chilima to ensure speedy implementation of the public service reforms.
The commentators were responding to questions from The Nation on their assessment of the Public Service Reforms to date.
Boniface Dulani, a political and social commentator based at Chancellor College, a constituent college of the University of Malawi, observed in an interview that the reforms have slowed down.
He further said that much as the transfer of people from one place to another is normal in institutions, when done frequently, it affects service delivery and implementation of programmes.
Dulani was commenting specifically on the transfer of top officials in government such as principal secretaries and district commissioners (DCs) as well as chief executive officers of parastatals and other agencies.
Earlier this month, among others, government swapped top bosses of Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) and Malawi Posts Corporation (MPC). Macra director general Andrew Kumbatira was transferred back to MPC barely a year after moving to Macra. On the other hand, postmaster general Godfrey Itaye has moved back to Macra where he worked as deputy director (postal services) before his promotion to postmaster general at MPC last year.
Reacting to such transfers, Dulani said: “We have, on a number of occasions, seen that most officials are moved to places they don’t have any expertise [in]. All this is because of politics and, unless this stops, nothing will change in the way we do things.”
Happy Kayuni, associate professor in political and administrative studies at Chancellor College, shared Dulani’s sentiments, saying: “The more things change, the more they remain the same. This is because of politics as they [politicians] do not want to let their hands off the public service.”
However, government maintains the reforms are on track and that transfers of public officers, for example, will not negatively affect the reforms.
PSRC spokesperson Constance Kilimo said there are structures that ensure continuity in institutions; hence, the transfer of one or two officers cannot affect implementation of programmes.
She said several changes have been implemented courtesy of the reforms. President Peter Mutharika, upon assuming power after his triumph in the May 20 2014 Tripartite Elections, embarked on the public sector reforms to improve management, institutional capacity and service delivery in the sector.