President Lazarus Chakwera has announced plans to establish a special office known as Presidential Delivery Unit (PDU) to track progress of implementation of his campaign promises by government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).
Speaking during the fortnightly State House media briefings yesterday, State House director of communication Sean Kampondeni said the President feared that some people in government could be sabotaging the President’s efforts to deliver on his promises.
He said the President will meet controlling officers — Principal Secretaries and directors—in the public service at Capitol Hill to inform them about the new office and what will be expected of them.
Kampondeni, who is also executive assistant to the President, said the meeting will also mark the launch of the unit to be under the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC).
He repeatedly stressed that the President will not allow anyone in the civil service to “sabotage” his efforts to deliver what he has promised Malawians.
He said: “Kuno ku State House President amatha kunena zinthu koma wina m’boma n’kuzikhalira. Ndiye zimenezo sangalore i yayi . [ Sometimes the President g ives out instructions to controlling officers, but some decide not to act on such instructions. He cannot allow that to continue].”
Asked to clarify on PDU, acting presidential press secretary Anthony Kasunda said the creation of the PDU started last year when it was first announced.
He said: “Its intended purpose is to provide an interface between the President and leaders of various MDAs that are critical to the delivery of the key priorities of the administration as laid out by the President on May 12.
“One key feature of that interface is a dashboard for tracking progress on key programmes and projects at the top of the President’s agenda, as well as speedily removing bureaucratic bottlenecks that may hinder their accomplishments.”
But political and governance commentator Humphrey Mvula has questioned the creation of the new office under OPC and the Secretary to the President and Cabinet (SPC), saying in a way this suggests that the SPC is failing in his duties.
He said the SPC is already empower ed to ensure that MDAs are performing and delivering on presidential directives.
Mvula said: “You cannot replace the inefficiency of the SPC with the creation of an office that will be subordinate to the same officer [SPC]. This is a job the SPC is supposed to do—to track and follow through implementation of presidential orders and directives. So, if that has not happened, how do you expect the new office to change things when it will be reporting to the SPC?”
He said the best thing to do would be recruiting a new SPC if the President feels the current one is not doing a proper job.
Mvula said : “ If this [appointing a new SPC] does not work, then probably they should just appoint a Cabinet minister who can whip the SPC if he does not perform.
“The SPC, by the nature of his office, he is supposed to whip non-performing MDAs so the new office is unnecessary and a duplication of efforts