Reports that the Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) board questionably handled a recent executive recruitment exercise are disturbing.
For a start, Mera is one of the public organisations that are of strategic importance to the nationâ€”where issues of transparency, accountability and corporate governance must reign supreme. In this regard, we expect Meraâ€™s major initiatives, for example, the recruitment of senior management, to be aligned to these ideals.
If a vacancy exists, as was the case when Mera advertised for positions of directors earlier this year, transparency should have been given a chance by casting the net wide to get the best. In other words, vacancies in public institutions are open to all qualifying Malawians. But if there was need to alter the entry qualifications, which sometimes happens when the response is not good or when a major mistake has been made in the advertisement, the same should have been communicated to all parties in the spirit of transparency. That is all there is to it.
Would it, therefore, not be an exaggeration to suggest that the Mera board put itself in a questionable situation, for example, by convening a meeting where minutes were not taken in deliberating the major recruitment exercise?
It is no wonder that some staff and parties blew the whistle, because what happened was abnormal. We are also not surprised that the President commissioned the line minister to get to the bottom of the allegations.
What happened at Mera certainly soils the name of good governance in public institutions and, by extension, the current administrationâ€™s image, which is also suffering from the same questions with its major donors and citizens.
Our view is that Malawi cannot make progress if it operates using shortcuts and unorthodox methods as reported at Mera.
Let the minister get to the bottom of the issue and recommend punishing any wrong doing. If it means dispensing with the whole board, let that be; because, as at now, the energy regulatory authority is not looking good.