As someone who, in the line of duty, has interacted constantly and consistently with Dr. Leonard Kalindekafe, I am happy that he has been promoted from director of the Department of Geological Survey to secretary for the Ministry of Mines effective last week. He was once director of mines at the ministry.
The blessing is that I can’t think of a more deserving and more authoritative technocrat to push for and manage mining policy in Malawi. Dr. Kalindekafe’s PhD from the University of Dundee’s Centre for Energy, Petroleum Mineral Law and Policy (CEPMLP) in Scotland, United Kingdom turned him into one of the leading mining policy experts in the region.
As a geologist, Kalindekafe has an in-depth understanding of mineral exploration, geochemistry, economic, engineering, mining, mineral processing, environmental and exploration geology—all critical to the newly appointed position.
This expertise, coupled with his geology majors in his Master of Science and Bachelor of Science degree programmes gives him enough credence to run what I consider to be the country’s fastest growing and complicated sectors. Kalindekafe is also, at least in geology circles, highly regarded by peers and mining investors around the world. His personal achievements make interesting reading. I cite just a few:
—He is one of the key people who initiated the formulation of the first Mining Policy for Malawi. The policy is yet to be approved by Cabinet.
—He was elected president of the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development-IGF (November 2009 to November 2011). This is an officially recognised Forum for the UN on mining issues and has 43 member States, including South Africa, Russia, United Kingdom and Brazil. He was re-elected in November 2011 for another two-year term ending in November 2013.
—He originated and organised Malawi’s first International Mining Conference under the theme: Mineral Resources of Malawi Exhibition from August 3-5 2000 in Blantyre.
—He initiated the establishment of the Geological Society of Malawi (GSM) launched in September 2000.
—He successfully lobbied Jica to purchase a $1.2 million drilling machine and a $112 000 atomic absorption spectrometer (AAS) for Geological Survey Department of Malawi.
—He developed the concept and campaigned for a countrywide project to re-map the geology of Malawi. That project has now materialised under the name: Mining Governance and Growth Support Project (MGGSP) jointly funded by World Bank and European Union at an estimated cost of $30 million. An agreement has just been reached with the French government to fund an €11 million geological mapping project as a follow-up project to the airborne geophysical exploration of the MGGSP.
But these blessings were only possible because Kalindekafe was allowed to stay long enough at the Department of Geological Survey to use his expertise and leadership in this field to bring to life and make a difference to a sector that was left for dead.
Given how administrations move around principal secretaries, Dr. Kalindekafe’s elevation is, therefore, a curse as well. I doubt that as PS, he can be allowed to stay in one ministry for 10 years to put a stamp there.
It is possible that six months from now, this expert could be moved to say, Ministry of Economic Planning and Development or even to head the Ministry of Gender. It has happened before.
It is not long time ago that a respected and talented economist and public finance guru, Ben Botolo, was sent to Energy and Mining as PS. Such misallocation of skills is unfair to the individual, the staff at the ministry and the sector in general. It is also a dangerous misapplication of skills.
END NOTE: Today, I take the unusual step of publishing feedback in form of this e-mail, which followed last week’s entry. It has great insights.
Your entry for Cut the Chaff for 22/12/12 makes important and worthwhile reading. You point out that other than just “singing” about increasing the tax base, it is important to consider other means of generating revenue for this country. One of which, as you say, is to control expenditure (which is abnormally high in government mainly due to corruption). You cite the famous 30:70 ratio as being one thing government needs to curtail so as to save the “already generated revenue” other than crying for more.
Very true. A lot of public resources are wasted in this country through corruption (up to 30 percent using the famous ratio). Just to put into context what that 30 percent means. This year’s Farm Input Subsidy Programme is worth around K40 billion [about $117 m]. This means that by June 30 next year, civil servants and other thieves shall have “chewed” a whooping K12 billion! Take a breath and again say “K12 billion [about $35 million]”. If this country really claims to be God-fearing, then we need to re-define what “God-fearing” means. And this is just a portion of the total national budget. What if the whole budget is taken into consideration?
I will inform you of one simple way how this money is chewed. Unemployment in this country is a gold-mine for civil servants, especially those at Civil Service Commission. What they do is that when they are recruiting personnel for various posts in government, they shortlist “everyone” who applies for the interview. Reason? They want to conduct the interview sessions for several days (usually the entire week) so that they draw allowances for five days. And this happens even when they just need one person for a job. With such practices, will this country ever develop? Shame!—Dedicated Cut the Chaff Reader.
I hope you will all have a happy and successful New Year. Thanks for your company in 2012.