Undule cautions CSOs on leaked report

Undule cautions CSOs on leaked report

Human rights advocate Undule Mwakasungula has cautioned civil society organisations (CSOs) against  politicising the reforms report and mar important national issues.

He was reacting to demands from some CSOs who last Thursday gave President Lazarus Chakwera seven days to authenticate the leaked Public Service Systems Review Report and provide its progress since 2021.

Speaking during a news conference in Mzuzu, Youth and Society executive director Charles Kajoloweka said the absence of a transparent implementation strategy and secrecy surrounding the report raises doubts about its authenticity.

Mwakasungula: Unrealistic timelines and
ultimatums are impractical

But Mwakasungula, in a statement yesterday, said it was necessary for CSOs to balance their role as watchdogs and advocates for transparency while recognising procedural and practical realities of governance and policy implementation.

“Unrealistic timelines and ultimatums may not only be impractical, but could hinder constructive engagement with the government and other key stakeholders.

“A more collaborative approach, acknowledging the challenges of implementing public sector reforms and the need for broad consensus, could be more effective in achieving lasting change,” he said.

Mwakasungula also said acting on a leaked report could set a precedent that might encourage future leaks, potentially destabilising the policy-making process and promoting an environment where sensitive information is weaponised for political or activists’ goals.

Among others, the report calls for removal of risk allowances for health workers, abolition of sitting allowances for staff members of Parliament and  introduction of full-board for civil servants.

However, Mwakasungula said the success of these reforms will largely depend on the government’s ability to manage the delicate balance between austerity measures and maintaining a motivated, efficient public service workforce.

He said: “These are aimed at reducing the fiscal burden on the government and while these cost-cutting measures are intended to address the country’s economic woes, they must be carefully balanced against the potential demotivational effects on the public workforce.

“Typically, policy changes and reforms, especially those with far reaching consequences as suggested in the report, need to undergo a process of official publication, public consultation, and legislative debate before implementation.”

Earlier, Minister of Information and Digitisation Moses Kunkuyu said there was nothing to comment on the report because neither the State House nor Office of the President and Cabinet nor his ministry released any report.

The report highlights that money lost through abuse of allowances is in billions of kwacha which could advance many development projects and create fiscal space for improved salaries and better conditions of service across the public service

Vice-President Saulos Chilima led the task force comprising professors Ronald Mangani and Nyovani Madise, Dr. Aubrey Mvula, Dr. Henry Chingaipe, Dr. Steven Matenje, Waki Mushani, John Suzi-Banda, the Reverend Elsie Tembo, Tione Chilambe, Zunzo Mitole, Nwazi Mnthambala and Jane Kambalame.

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