Forum for National Development (FND) concerned with the appointment of David Bisnowaty

By Burnett Munthali

Forum for National Development (FND) has written the Public Appointments Committee of Parliament registering its concerns regarding the appointment of David Bisnowaty as the Charge d’Affaires of the Embassy of the Republic of Malawi to the State of Israel.

“It is our contention that this appointment was made without proper adherence to the laws of Malawi. Notably, there was no apparent involvement of Parliament, specifically the Public Appointments Committee (PAC), in the confirmation process of Bisnowaty,” reads the letter in part.

FND’s coordinator, Fryson Chodzi argues with referencing to Article 190 of the Malawi Constitution, which governs the appointment of diplomatic personnel, it is evident that the appointment of Bisnowaty lacks legal validity.

“The article stipulates that individuals holding positions such as Charge d’Affaires must undergo confirmation by the Pac, which reserves the right to assess their competency and financial probity,” it further says.

David Bisnowatty

Chodzi demands that Bisnowaty should undergo the due process as mandated by the law before continuing his representation of Malawians in Israeli.

Chairperson for the committee, Joyce Chitsulo has confirmed receiving the letter, saying they will look into it and agree on the way forward as per the constitution and Parliamentary procedures.

But Foreign Affairs Minister Nancy Tembo says Bisnowaty being Charge d’Affaire does not require togo through that process; arguing the process will be followed when Malawi appoints ambassador.

“He is a Malawian of Jewish origin, he has been an MP before and he is just helping us for free, using his resources. We are not paying him,” Tembo says.

Most common causes of unlawful appointments
of the State Constitution requires that appointments in government be based on merit as ascertained by competitive examination. Unlawful appointments may occur for a variety of reasons including administrative errors, oversight, misinformation, or, in rare cases, attempts to circumvent the State’s service system.

Another common type of illegal appointment is a “short duration” appointment, which is intended to provide the employee with an advantage to which he would not otherwise be entitled. The duration of the appointment in itself does not render the appointment unlawful, but rather the intent behind the short duration of the appointment, which is to provide the employee with eligibility that he would not otherwise have. Example: A person who is not reachable on a certification list for military training is appointed to a position in Malawi Defence Force or Police Service, and on the same day is transferred to MDF in the same classification, thus circumventing the list.

Departments that have signed an unlawful appointment investigation delegation agreement must investigate all potential unlawful appointments to determine whether the appointment was made and accepted in “good faith” as required by the laws of this country. The laws and rules of unlawful appointments must be referred to for more information.

In addition, departments can take steps to reduce the incidence of unlawful appointments by:

Ensuring that staff responsible for appointment transactions are well-trained on appointment eligibility issues (e.g., transfers, appropriate list clearance or certification process, minimum qualifications, and short duration appointments).

Identifying and correcting flaws in government’s hiring process workflow that may be causing unlawful appointments.

Directing staff responsible for appointment transactions to take the time and steps necessary to verify appointment eligibility, including review of the applicable laws, regulations and manual sections before a job offer is made.

Auditing appointment transactions on a periodic basis to ensure compliance with eligibility requirements as set forth in the applicable laws and regulations.