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Chakwera Challenges Principal Secretaries to Fix ‘Broken’ Systems in Civil Service

By Yamikani Sabola

Lilongwe, June 14, Mana: President Lazarus Chakwera has instructed principal secretaries for ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to revamp the civil service and make it an effective tool in the implementation of national development agendas.

Speaking during an interface meeting with the principal secretaries (PSs) at Kamuzu Palace on Tuesday, Chakwera said the civil service is in a broken state and needs urgent fixing.

He said he invited the principal secretaries as, being controlling officers for various MDA, they are key in fixing systems of government that are critical for the delivery of the nation’s long, medium and short term development priorities.

“You are the ones who control the civil service, and the fact that the civil service is broken and in need of urgent fixing means that the task of fixing it rests on you.

“My task is to give you direction on what you must focus on and to engage in continuous evaluation of whether you have what it takes to fix a government system as broken as ours is,” he said.

He said he has put in place various measures aimed at improving effectiveness and efficiency of the civil service.

Chakwera said one of the measures was to set a requirement that principal secretaries meet Secretary to President and Cabinet (SPC) every month as well as undergo performance appraisals on quarterly basis.  

“The first goal of these measures is to create synergy among you and increase the level of collaboration between you and my office, because ultimately, we must work for Malawians as one team.

“The second goal is to ensure that we are on the same page regarding what exactly is broken in the civil service and what we must do as a matter of urgency to fix it.

“The third and final goal is to ensure that there is no single MDA that is motivated by anything else other than excellent service to Malawi and its people,” he said.

Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Colleen Zamba noted that the civil service has been performing dismally in fulfilling its mandate as enshrined in the Public Service Act.

She said the country’s civil service used to be professional, impartial and ethical such that it was one of the best in Africa.

Zamba, however, bemoaned that the civil service has now lost grip of those values, hence the need to revitalise it. 

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