The country’s tobacco industry regulator Tobacco Commission (TC) hashired former Nsanje South West legislator Joseph Chidanti Malunga as its new chief executive officer.
He replaces Kayisi Sadala who was sent onleave late last year pending the expiry of his contract on November 62020.
TC board chairperson Harry Mkandawire on Sunday confirmed the hiring of Chidanti Malunga,who recently quit active politics to return to his teaching job at the Lilongwe University ofAgriculture and Natural Resources (Luanar).
“I can confirm that after a rigorous processs, Dr Chidanti Malunga is now the new chief executive officer for TobaccoCommission. We had about 40 applicants and we had shortlisted 18 candidates.I am glad to say that he came out number one,” he said.
Mkandawire ruled out political influence in Chidanti Malunga’s recruitment, saying: “There was no politics whatsoever. He is UTMand I am MCP [Malawi Congress Party] and even the panel had peoplebelonging to many other political parties.
“So, let me emphasize thatthe selection was done on merit and in the interest of the tobacco industry.”
Asked about when Chidanti Malunga is expected to report for duties,Mkandawire said the new TC boss is in the process ofnegotiating his package. He disclosed that Chidanti Malunga is scheduled to meet theTC board chairperson responsible for recruitment and finance today.
When contacted on Sunday, the former UTM spokesperson confirmed about his new job but declined to comment further, pleading that: “I need totalk to the chair [Mkandawire] tomorrow morning [today] before I openmy mouth.”
Chidanti Malunga, who holds a PhD in wetland farming obtained fromCranfield University, UK, in 2010, brings to the commission 26 years experience in the agriculture sector, particularly in policy formulation, implementation, research, outreach,and legislation.
He also holds a master of science in agricultural engineering from Colorado State University, USA, which he obtained in 1999.
Besides, Chidanti-Malunga also holds a bachelor of science in civilengineering from the University of Malawi (1994).
Among others, his experience includes chairing the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture and Food Security.
Chidanti Malunga left Luanar on sabatical leave to join active politics and mid-December 2020, he announced his return to the university upon exhausting his leave days.