Chipiliro Mpinganjira, son to Malawi’s veteran politician Brown Mpinganjira, is doubling as a politician and civil servant, contrary to Section 193 of the country’s Constitution on the independence of the civil service.
Mpinganjira is second deputy legal director in the ruling People’s Party (PP), a position he was elected into at the party’s convention last year whereas in the civil service, he is principal assistant Administrator General based in Malawi’s commercial city, Blantyre.
PP administrative secretary the Reverend Peter Kaleso confirmed on Thursday that Mpinganjira still holds the party position as he has not resigned.
“I did not get his letter. Maybe he cleared himself with other quarters, but not through us. Our policy is clear that if a member is elected into the national executive committee and they get a job in the civil service, they are asked to resign from the party. If he appears at the next meeting, he will be told to quit,” said Kaleso.
An officer at the Administrator General also confirmed on Tuesday that Mpinganjira is still a public servant.
“He has been with us for some years now,” the officer said on Tuesday.
In an interview on Thursday, Mpinganjira said he tendered his resignation from the civil service to concentrate on politics, but it was rejected. He could not tell when exactly he tendered the resignation. He only said “some time last year”.
Mpinganjira said after his resignation was rejected, he maintained his job, but quit from the party.
“I am purely a civil servant,” he said.
Malawi’s Attorney General Anthony Kamanga said on Thursday that the law is clear that civil servants are not supposed to engage in partisan politics.
He said where a civil servant wants to join politics, he should resign from the civil service.
Kamanga said it was up to the Department of Human Resource to take up the matter.
Associate law Professor Edge Kanyongolo said civil servants are not supposed to take part in partisan politics.
He said in an interview on Tuesday: “In principle, it is undesirable for civil servants to take an active part in partisan politics because this is likely to compromise the neutrality of the government.
“However, the Constitution of Malawi permits civil servants to participate in political activities as long as such participation does not compromise their role as impartial servants of the general public.”
Reads Section 193 of the Constitution in part: “Members of the Civil Service shall ensure that the exercise of participation in political activities does not compromise their independent exercise of their functions, powers and duties as impartial servants of the general public. The National Assembly may prescribe a category of civil servants, who by reason of their seniority shall not be able to directly participate in political activities provided that the civil servants so restricted shall have the right to resign in order to participate directly in political activities.”
The law further says no government or political party shall cause any civil servant acting in that behalf to exercise functions, powers or duties for the purposes of promoting or undermining the interest or affairs of any political party or individual member of that party, nor shall any civil servant acting in that behalf promote or undermine any political party or member of that party, save as is consistent with the provisions in the section.