afrol News / The Chronicle, 8 December - The Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) member countries have said they are anxiously waiting to see how Malawi as a nation is going to cope with the inefficiencies associated with State President Bingu wa Mutharika's style of leadership as was exemplified when he was COMESA Secretary-General in the mid-1990s. Mr Mutharika was fired from COMESA for mismanagement.
Malawi's two main opposition parties - the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and the United Democratic Front (UDF) - have also indicated that they have noted President Mutharika has already started showing the proclivity that characterised his lack of appropriate leadership at COMESA. This, they said is very unfortunate, as they had originally believed that he would overcome his ineptitude.
President Mutharika was fired from COMESA after a report by a Special Committee of Eminent Persons on the Operations of COMESA uncovered a number of gross inefficiencies where it described his management style as "lacking ability to mould and motivate a dedicated management team." The critical report only now has become available to the press.
The COMESA Committee also established that Mr Mutharika displayed a flagrant disregard for protocol and frequent breached the provisions of the Treaty, the Staff and Financial Rules and Regulations. He was also accused of misusing funds and abuse of office. The report paints a picture of gross insubordination to the COMESA Council of Ministers, whom he considered below his own position.
"In view of the spite demonstrated to the decisions of the Council and the breach of the conditions of the compulsory leave, the Committee recommends that the services of the Secretary General be terminated forthwith as he lacks vision to take COMESA in the next century," the report concluded.
Great interest and wide internet discussion has followed the receipt by many individuals and the media of the complete damning report of President Mutharika's lack of performance at COMESA. Different people from member countries have been having open discussion and wondering on how Malawians have been able so far to trust Mr Mutharika whom, it is reported was removed for being totally inefficient and ineffective as the COMESA Chief Executive Officer.
The report obtained by 'The Chronicle' says the Council of Ministers resolved at its Extraordinary Meeting held in Lusaka from 16 to 17 January, 1997 to establish a Special Committee of five eminent persons to investigate into and prepare a comprehensive investigative audit and management report for the period beginning 1992 to 1997, after noting with concern the overall state of affairs at COMESA.
The Council was particularly concerned with the finances and management of the COMESA Secretariat, the poor implementation record of the decisions of policy organs by the Secretariat, and the lack of corrective action by Mr Mutharika despite repeated reminders by the Council.
The Committee was chaired by Emmanuel Maposa Hachipuka of Zambia while other members were John Muhaise-Bikalemesa from Uganda, Dan Ameyo from Kenya, Jean-Jacques Mambe N'gala Masseke from Zaire and Phibian Mashingaidze of Zimbabwe and was signed on 3 March 1997, in Lusaka, Zambia, at the COMESA Headquarters.
The Committee established that there was ample evidence of financial malpractices as Mr Mutharika used COMESA funds to finance missions that could not be confirmed to be official and beneficial to COMESA itself. He also used COMESA resources for his own personal activities unrelated to his office.
Spokesperson Sam Mpasu of Malawi's opposition UDF party said all the Presidents in the COMESA member states led by the Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni thus had wanted Mr Mutharika to be locked up but he was saved by former Presidents Bakili Muluzi of Malawi and Sam Nujoma of Namibia.
He said Mr Mutharika's first mistake was getting the impression that Malawi's thus ruling party - the UDF - was behind his dismissal when it was his own inefficiencies that determined his imminent removal.
"He had a very bad attitude towards public money. No wonder he has started behaving as if he has money when he was on the verge of starvation when he left COMESA to an extent that his wife was not even living with him in Malawi," Mr Mpasu alleged.
Mr Mpasu said President Mutharika was surviving by running two minibuses. He was saved when he went to former President and UDF party leader Muluzi to beg for a job, where he was made the Deputy Reserve Bank Governor before being appointed Minister of Economic Planning and Development.
Mr Mpasu said it is surprising that Mr Mutharika has started dishing out millions of kwachas and he has bought farms in Kasinthula in Lower Shire, Mitundu in Lilongwe, in Mzimba and even in Kasungu and wondered where he is getting the money from when his salary is far below what he has so far been able to accumulate.
Vice President and spokesperson Nicholas Dausi of Malawi's second opposition party MCP said if President Mutharika believes he can translocate his COMESA experience and background by running the country using that as a yardstick for proper management then it is very unfortunate and he will face the consequences. Mr Dausi alleged the President "does not care for the Constitution that he swore to defend," citing a controversial appointment to the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC.
Hetherwick Ntaba, the chief political advisor to President Mutharika, warned of legal redress if the media would make sweeping statements coming from the opposition against his boss when there was no evidence to substantiate it. He said the comments from UDF were very outrageous and irresponsible.
"These people are abusing the President's patience. The President as an individual has the right to sue any of those people and when reporting that as the media, you must have strong evidence," Mr Ntaba warned. He added it had been observed that some political officials and the media think they can abuse public officers at will and get away scot-free.
The Committee's findings, according to the COMESA report also established that the relationship between Mr Mutharika and the COMESA institutions was strained because of his demeanour and management style. "His desire to have a domineering role in the management of these institutions is one of the causes of the strain," the report says.
It further established that, as a result, Mr Mutharika failed to conclude cooperation agreements with these institutions as required by the treaty besides using funds of some institutions contrary to laid down rules and regulations of the institutions. Mr Mutharika, the report says also failed to develop an effective and beneficial working relationship with member states by arrogating himself status equivalent to Heads of State, thereby treating Ministers and officials responsible for COMESA affairs as inferior to him.
President Mutharika, who is often at variance with and in an acrimonious and ongoing fight with the party that ushered him into power, the United Democratic Front (UDF) as well as the main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) continues to alienate himself from those that could support his development agenda for Malawi. He has proved that he is a political novice who is unwilling to take advice and a more reconciliatory approach to issues of governance.
The Committee of eminent persons established that this was also case when he was with COMESA because of his demeanour and arrogance as he had created more misunderstanding and hatred in the institution and member states than he had made friends for COMESA.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.