Engineer Alfonso Chikuni has been removed as Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) chief executive officer (CEO) and seconded to Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development as chief director responsible for irrigation and water development.
In a letter dated December 9 2019, Chief Secretary to the Government Lloyd Muhara says the move follows government’s approval of Chikuni’s secondment to the ministry with immediate effect.
“Under the terms of the secondment, Lilongwe Water Board, as your employer, will continue paying your salary and other benefits that you are entitled to and, on a quarterly basis, the Malawi Government will be reimbursing to Lilongwe Water Board the salary and benefits payable to you during the period of secondment,” reads the letter to Chikuni we have seen.
No comment could be sourced from Chikuni as he cut off the line immediately the subject was introduced. He did not pick up subsequent calls made.
But Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Kondwani Nankhumwa described the move as normal, saying government from time to time replaces or transfers some of its employees to other sectors or departments to improve service delivery.
During Chikuni’s tenure, LWB was transformed from a loss-making parastatal to a profit-making one, increased supply coverage from 69 percent in 2014 to 83.4 percent in 2018, increased number of customers and connections from 60 000 to 83 500 and increased revenue collection through enhanced strategies, innovation and building customer loyalty.
Chikuni was also at the helm as LWB worked on ambitious multi-billion kwacha projects such as Salima-Lilongwe Water Supply Project and Diamphwe Dam Project. The two projects are yet to roll out.
His transfer comes barely a week after Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) CEO Margaret Roka-Mauwa was moved to the same ministry also on secondment as controller of agricultural extension and technical services.
Roka-Mauwa’s removal from the financially struggling Admarc came amid threats from employees to go on strike if she and two other senior managers remained in-charge.