The Nation on Sunday of August 6 2020 reported that critics have faulted President Lazarus Chakwera for appointing retired individuals into the public service.
The critics think that this does not reflect well on the Tonse Alliance administration as the country is dominated by the youth hit hard by unemployment.
In my opinion, the critics have made these comments from a narrow perspective and probably out of ignorance of what happened in the country at the introduction of Multiparty Democracy.
The issue of retired civil servants requires a deeper analysis because it is far more complex than appears on the surface.
When multiparty democracy was introduced in Malawi in 1994, some politicians had planned to plunder public coffers through corruption, fraud, theft and abuse of office.
Therefore, such politicians clandestinely placed emphasis on political correctness as opposed to efficiency and effectiveness in the management of public affairs.
This brought in conflict of interest and the civil servants who stood for good governance, rule of law, accountability, transparency, selflessness and integrity were prematurely retired or their contracts were not renewed to create a favourable environment for achievement of their illicit intentions.
In my view, the new administration has done a commendable job by appointing the retired officers if they are qualified for their respective jobs.
The cardinal principle of merit, which has stood the test of time and circumstances, should always be observed.
In this respect, I fully agree with the views expressed my political commentator Humphrey Mvula in support of the appointment of the retirees.
He says: “The new government has made the move to recruit the retirees to inject best work practices.”
He aptly observes that “the political regimes beyond 1994 compromised the civil service by promoting political correctness in the recruitment of the civil servants hence the loss of meritocracy resulting in a dysfunctional system”.
I have also noted with great interest the views of Politics Uncensored columnist Golden Matonga on this subject. In his article published in Nation on Sunday dated August 9 2020, he writes: “The new government should be free to tap on both old and new hands. Age, tribe and party affiliations should not matter at all as long as the appointments respect the law…right people should be appointed to the right jobs”.
I was in the public service when the multiparty democracy was restored in this country and I lament seeing the standards of performance are compromised.
During founding president Hastings Kamuzu Banda’s one-party era, the philosophy was that nothing but the best was good for Malawi.
With the return of democracy in 1993, the philosophy was that if the best is not available, good is better. This was wrong.
In view of this, I strongly believe that the principle of merit when making public appointments should always be upheld and adhered to.
In my considered opinion, the path that the new government has taken will lead this nation to prosperity and should be supported by all Malawians irrespective of party affiliation, tribe, or region.
We are all Malawians.
For the sake of national unity, Kamuzu said in the National Assembly: “I emphasise that I am a Chewa from Kasungu to prove that I am a Malawian.
“After I have proved that, there is no Chewa, no Ngoni, no Tumbuka, no Mang’anja, no Yao, no Lomwe. We are all Malawians.”
What evidence do Malawians need from a patriotic leader who preached and achieved national unity during his time?