NATIONAL NEWS

Chilima welcomes diplomatic missions reform

Winston Mmwale – Africa brief.

As a continuation of my engagements with Cabinet Ministers on Public Sector Reforms, this morning I met with Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Eisenhower Mkaka and his ministry’s officials.

The ministry, whose mandate is to foster political and economic international relations, has undertaken a functional review to create new Directorates and Divisions as a way of improving service delivery.

During the meeting, the Minister highlighted a number of reform areas to be implemented ranging from the establishment of Career Diplomatic Service to restructuring some of the Malawi missions abroad.

I welcomed the proposal to restructure our missions in a bid to broaden our global representation and add value to their work. Through the restructuring, we must understand the extent of the establishments and their role in each mission.

Heads of Mission must be capable people to link our country to the global world. They must identify investment opportunities for the country and cultivate strategic allies to help us meet our needs on the international stage. They are not there for holiday or solely welcoming government officials at airports.

The Honorable Minister also presented a reform proposal to establish a Career Diplomatic Service and a diplomatic school to train our personnel. The establishment of a Career Diplomatic Service will stop the tendency of sending poIitical sycophants to foreign missions and the subsequent recalls every time a new regime is ushered in.

 I assured the Minister that the administration of His Excellency President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera will support the proposal especially with the fact that the legal framework on the proposal is being worked on already.

The ministry also indicated it is reviewing the VIP access at our international airports so that the abuse that has prevailed there is stopped. I have also recommended that an audit on diplomatic passports be carried out to review holders with the aim of reducing abuse.

In addition, the ministry will have a purpose built building as well as acquire VVIP vehicles for specific use such as state visits by Heads of State and other VVIPs.

The speed, energy and political leadership being shown by the Minister is commendable. Going forward, we will have a roadmap to ensure that we are all on the right track towards implementation.

This afternoon, I will engage the Ministry of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare.

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