For better or worse- Chakwera love for Immigration boss

…First Lady’s trip was almost cancelled

…Immigration is now in a state of chaos

…Govt issues empty threat as officers threaten to close borders

President Lazarus Chakwera’s unusual love for sticking with failures in public office continues to manifest at the Immigration Department, almost half a year since the office deliberately tampered with a properly functioning passport system.

For the President’s loved one, Rtd Brigadier Charles Kalumo, cries from millions of Malawians to change the leadership and system at Immigration have fallen on deaf ears even as his own wife- First Lady Monica Chakwera was almost cancelled due to poor quality passports- The Investigator Magazine can reveal.

the President’s loved one, Rtd Brigadier Charles Kalumo; will he be fired?

Chakwera, one of the weakest presidents to ever govern Malawi, has failed to change his cabinet for over a year and a half. Secretary to the President and Cabinet Colleen Zamba was told by the High Court that she usurped presidential powers- could not take any tangible action to solve challenges until they had a crisis that had become uncontrollable.

The President- well documented for issuing empty threats- that even mice won’t run away in his presence, issued a 21-day notice in February this year, but despite comical attempts to restore the system, the passports have turned into a national embarrassment.

The First Lady team passport rejected

Malawians have been crying about the quality of the passports being issued by the E-TECH system, which is suspected to have ties with the President’s family and their associates. Still, the Government, including Minister of Information Moses Kunkuyu, has continued to rubbish public concerns.

These are total lies – Kumkuyu

But Karma is real; after complaints that most countries outside Africa could not read the data or authenticate Malawi’s passport, the reality of the current administration’s mediocrity was served on the State House itself.

The First Lady- Monica Chakwera, was invited to a TB conference in Geneva, and between the 10th of May and departure on the 26th of May, she submitted her passport and her entourage to travel to Switzerland for the all-important summit.

Her passport had question marks in one of the most embarrassing episodes, and her staff’s passports were outright rejected.

“She is exempted from Immigration controls due to her status. Otherwise, the embarrassment would have been massive. We are talking about diplomatic passports being rejKarma. This is real karma, as the government has been pretending, like in all other cases, that things are okay. They are not, and State House is now joining the queue to feel how ordinary Malawians feel,” said a source.

Another source said fearful of Immigration Chief Kalumo’s power status that, he will defend his faulty passports- Foreign Affairs officials asked the responsible Embassy to write a letter outlining the challenges as President Chakwera and his Immigration office would not understand the rejection.

“Her team did not travel to Geneva. The passports were of poor quality, some chips broken, and some pages cut as if butchers’ knife was cutting them,” said another source.

But despite such embarrassment, the President’s friendship with Kalumo is more important than his sworn duty to the nation.

Recalled from retirement, now Immigration joins Chakwera’s list of chaos

The President, whose appointments have always been questioned but seems determined to keep every mediocre performer, recalled Brigadier General Charles Kalumo to serve as Head of Immigration, leaving out experienced personnel.

The President’s appointment philosophy has evolved around “family, friends, church and tribe”, and rarely has he even made a suitable appointment in those circles, leaving even his supporters confused about how he perceives government runs.

Kalumo was given 10 days to resign, and insiders claim President Chakwera personally assured him that he is not going anywhere- a fact he says has been making to Immigration officers who are now on the verge of first-ever strike.

The Department has less than 1500 officers, and Kalumo has fired over 40, which has irked their colleagues who accuse the boss of running the department as a “personal kingdom”, and the 10 days expired last week with Kalumo still at the helm.

Letters of impending strikes have been circulating, prompting Homeland Security Secretary Steven Kayuni to warn of “long imprisonment” of any officers who will be on strike, saying it is “an affront to national security.”

Chaos and more chaos, as people spend hard-earned cash, and no one is responsible.

While President Chakwera and his closest allies have an easy ride, Malawians are losing travel, academic and business opportunities that are now running into millions of kwachas for a system that had been perfect when the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) assumed office.

Dozens have sent their experiences to The Investigator Magazine, and queues are growing longer as the Immigration authorities now seem hopeless in sorting the man-made crisis that costs many more than a passport.

Travel, accommodation and trips between Immigration offices and FDH Bank in the City Centre are among the huge costs in addition to the K50,000 people spend on the poor quality of passports.

The trend has been the same under President Chakwera; his corrupt agents interfere in a perfect working system, their new agents take over even without capacity, and Malawian taxes are paid to grossly incompetent or compensation deals.

A memo from the Director General to all immigration staff

Fuel at National Oil Company, Fertiliser scandals at the Ministry of Agriculture, and expensive procurements at several Ministries all have one thing in common- MCP business agents being given contracts at the expense of professional and competent personnel.

The President lied to Malawians that the system was hacked, and he cannot explain how restoring a hacked system has become a poor-quality passport system.

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