Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika says he is frustrated with the civil service, arguing its bureaucracy is delaying the countryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s major projects and overall development.
Mutharika said this at Domasi College of Education in Zomba on Sunday when he presided over the institutionÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 16th graduation ceremony and presented 658 diploma and degree certificates.
The President openly deplored bureaucracy in various ministries and expressed hope that this will not derail his plans to have two new public universities operational by the end of the year.
Said Mutharika: “You, government officials, are delaying development in this country.”
The President particularly accused Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development officials of “sitting on the programme as usual” by delaying water connection to the Malawi University of Science and Technology (Must) at his Ndata Farm in Thyolo.
Said Mutharika: “I spearheaded the construction of the university and the Chinese are saying: Ã¢â‚¬ËœBwana, we are ready to give you this university in October this year, but where is the water and the sewage system?Ã¢â‚¬â„¢
“If only we can deal with the bureaucracy in the ministry because I cannot open the university without water. I am saying this publicly because I am frustrated. I am not belittling my own government department.”
Mutharika also condemned the bureaucracy in the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology for delaying the merging of Bunda College, Natural Resources College and Chitedze Research Station into the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
The President was justifying his introduction of the quota system in 2010 which, he said, was fought relentlessly by some people when he suggestedÃ¢â‚¬â€through the new systemÃ¢â‚¬â€that the few tertiary education resources available be shared equally among everybody.
He argued that while the quota system never intended to target particular groups of people, the system has assisted districts that never had a chance to go for higher education to have their people in universities.
Mutharika said that is the reason he embarked on a project to have six new public universities within the next 10 years; to transform Bunda College to Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources; to upgrade Domasi College of Education by linking it to the University of Malawi (Unima).
Livingstonia CCAP Synod general secretary the Reverend Levi Nyondo, reacting to the PresidentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s speech in an interview with The Nation later, argued MutharikaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s justification of the quota is not satisfactory because current universities are suffering economically and questioned how government can manage the new institutions.
Speaking earlier at the function, Domasi College acting principal Arnold Mwanza said out of the 658 students, 315 graduated with diplomas in education through distance learning; 191 diplomas in education through face to face tuition; 64 bachelor of education in primary school education and 88 in bachelor of education in secondary sub-Sector for the first time.
Acting country representative for the African Development Bank (AfDB) Eyerusalemu Fasika said her institution initiated the project in 2006 with a grant worth $23.3 million (about K3.8 billion) for capacity building targeted at community day secondary schools. She said the programme is scheduled to end this year.