MCP Youth want Foreign PS out

…allege he is delaying their appointments

The Malawi Congress Party (MCP) youth leaguers renowned for interfering with public services- including stealing from refugees- have now headed to the government seat of Capital Hill where they are seeking to out Secretary for Foreign Affairs Benard Sande.

Secretary for Foreign Affairs Benard Sande (left) in a profile photo

The day President Chakwera visited Capital Hill to work in his office on Monday, 15th April, a gang of youth invaded the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to try and force Ambassador Sande out of office. The standoff was diffused by Police officers led by a senior officer only identified as Soko.

On Thursday, the gang returned to Capital Hill to search for Ambassador Sande again. He was on duty at the Malawi School of Government at Kanengo, where he saw frustrated youths failing to achieve their mission.

On Thursday, the gang returned to Capital Hill to search for Ambassador Sande again

“It is scary for public servants to be hounded like that. This has never happened at Capital Hill,” said an official from the same building with Foreign Affairs who witnessed the debacle. Foreign Affairs officials remained tight-lipped.

The youth leaguers are allegedly being sponsored by senior MCP figures who have promised some of them appointments to embassies, as 107 diplomats posted between 2020 and 2021 have their initial tour of duties expiring this year.

A list has been drawn, which shows mainly Foreign Affairs staff and other politically aligned diplomats in Brussels, New York, Tokyo, London, Washington DC, South Africa- Pretoria and Johannesburg, Mozambique, Zambia, Tanzania, Addis Ababa, and China are set to be recalled.

The list includes mostly members of other parties of the Tonse Alliance and those thought to have been appointed through their connection to former Foreign Affairs Minister and MCP Secretary General Eisenhower Mkaka.

His connected followers want positions at embassies

Ambassador Sande is being haunted by those who are desperate to go to the embassies before next year’s elections, though it is highly unlikely that most of the 107 will make it home before then as the government is broke and has not cleared both gratuities and shipping costs of previous 119 diplomats it recalled between 2020 and 2021.

“There is no money; the list has just been drawn to say these contracts are ending. No shipper will engage Foreign Affairs without clearing the last bills, which have gone unpaid for 3 years, and nobody from recalled diplomats has received their gratuities. Government is too broke,” said an official.

Ambassador Sande, recalled to public service by President Lazarus Chakwera from retirement, is allegedly resisting posting to the Office of the President and Cabinet after his contract was extended by 18 months, and a new Principal Secretary, McLoyd Polepole, is waiting for handovers.

Polepole was appointed as one of Foreign Affairs officials after the Zimbabwean Government asked Lilongwe to remove him as Ambassador to Harare over remarks he made at an African Ambassadors group in Harare.

He said to be related to someone senior in the Office of the President and Cabinet who allegedly came from the same village.

Ambassador Sande is being accused of clinging to office and failing to do handovers months after he received a letter of appointment to go to the “warehouse” in the OPC.

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