There is controversy around the appointment of new executive director for Technical Vocational Training and Entrepreneurial Authority (Teveta), Dr. Ndione Chauluka, and Weekend Nation can report that he did not attend any interview for the position.
According to Tevet Act, to establish the body’s executive director position, “the Executive Director shall be appointed by the Board on such terms and conditions of service as the Board shall determine but the appointment and terms and conditions of service of the Executive Director shall be subject to approval by the Minister.”
In line with this provision, our government sources said the Teveta Board set up the interviews twice to hire a new executive director this year and on both occasions Chauluka was not among the interviewees.
Speaking in an interview, Chauluka confirmed that he did not attend any interviews with other candidates.
But he justified his appointment, insisting the Teveta Board appointed him after being satisfied by his vision for the statutory body.
“I was called by the board to give them my vision and whether that is not enough as an interview it’s up to you to say. I think the board can best explain whether indeed I was properly hired or not. All I can say is that I was appointed by the board,” said Chauluka.
Chairperson of the out-going board, Reverend Osborne Joda-Mbewe, refused to comment on the matter, citing the change this week of membership of all boards by President Peter Mutharika.
“I cannot be in the newspapers commenting on matters of an office that has another office-bearer. I left Teveta Board and I have high professional ethics. Address all your queries to the new board or Teveta because we were not the only people involved in the interviews,” said Joda-Mbewe.
Teveta spokesperson Lewis Msasa referred the matter to Office of President and Cabinet (OPC) and Comptroller for Statutory Corporation, Zanga Chikhosi.
He denied being involved in the appointment of Chauluka.
“Let Teveta explain how Chauluka was appointed but I know it’s the board which approved him,” said Chikhosi.
Both OPC and State House did not respond to questionnaires on the issue as we went to press yesterday.
But Msasa also later referred the matter back to the old board and Chikhosi, saying Teveta secretariat was not involved in the recruitment process.
But a top government official, opting for anonymity for fear of reprisals, has since slammed the decision to hire Chauluka, who hails from Mulanje as nepotistic and political, saying the development defeats calls for merit-based appointments in the public service.
“The sole purpose of allowing interviews is for people to compete so that the best people serve government,” said the source.
Added the source: “There is resentment among government bureaucrats because we see sentiments towards reforming civil service yet people are continuing the same practices of nepotism and cheap politics…Chauluka is highly educated, but why not allow him to compete with others?
“It’s sheer rubber-stamping the board was asked to undertake. Both the Comptroller and the board had no choice really because they were just carrying out instructions from OPC,” said the source.
Chauluka, a former academic, was appointed recently to replace former executive director Yusuf Alide who left the statutory corporation after the expiry of his contract.
Since President Peter Mutharika assumed power in June, controversy has surrounded the hiring and redeployment of public officials, which critics say is nepotistic and unprocedural.
There were complaints, for example, about how new Macra executive director Andrew Kumbatira was hired. His immediate past predecessor Charles Msaliwa is now fighting his redeployment to Ministry of Information.
According to its website www.tevetamw.com, Teveta was established to promote and regulate sustainable provision of quality technical, entrepreneurial and vocational education and training for the Malawian workforce in a socially responsible manner.
It is a regulatory body established in July 1999 by an Act of Parliament with the mandate to create an integrated Technical Entrepreneurial and Vocational Education Training (Tevet) system in Malawi that is demand-driven, competency based, modular, comprehensive, accessible and flexible and consolidated enough to service both rural and urban Malawi.