Remember when Mrs Joyce Banda was president of the Republic and Malawians complained that the country was being run by the West?
Among others, she had Tony Blair and his team advising her how to run the affairs of government. That Tony Blair – the former UK prime minister who, after leaving 10 Downing Street, established an institute that now goes around advising African governments how to run their countries. They do this by establishing results delivery units within each country’s highest office.
During Joyce Banda’s doomed two years, Tony and his team established one such Delivery Unit within State House and the Office of the President and Cabinet. A year later, cashgate happened. All hell broke loose. Stuff hit the ceiling. Keen to maintain his image, Tony and his team dumped JB, fled Malawi and distanced themselves from the cashgate scandal. They knew nothing about it, they didn’t enable it, they said. Yet nobody really knows how much they knew (or didn’t know) about the scandal. Some of their closest government collaborators were later arrested.
Now Tony and his team are coming back to Malawi to work with the government of Chakwera and Chilima.
According to their website: “The Blair Institute is looking to set up a new project to support the Government of Malawi to strengthen its delivery and implementation mechanisms. This is likely to include a delivery function in State House, but also potentially support other parts of the Presidency e.g. communications, international affairs.
The Project will seek to strengthen connections with other key ministries and agencies, both in the centre (the Vice President’s Office and the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Economic Planning) as well as key sector Ministries, such as the Ministry of Energy, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Malawi Investment and Trade Centre and the Ministries covering infrastructure. Our Malawi team may extend to include advisors in these or other Ministries, depending on the sectoral priorities of the Presidency.”
I have several questions: Why did Tony and his team leave in the first instance? What role did they play in cashgate? How much did they know?Given the plethora of advisors the president has surrounded himself with, what can a bunch of foreign advisors who know little to nothing about Malawi offer the president and the country?
Isn’t it the President and Vice President’s job to “deliver” results for Malawians?Isn’t that what they promised?
What is the role of the civil service if results delivery is outsourced to an external group of foreign advisors?
Is this part of the mindset change that the veep has been evangelizing to us all? And finally, what does Joyce Banda think of this comeback?
I have just finished reading the financial report of the Tony Blair Institute, dated 2018. In that year, they received $17 million from African governments, out of their total annual revenue of $45 million. What they do in other countries in Africa is their business, I will not talk about it, but I want to react to the State House media briefing this morning.”
Last year,” I’m paraphrasing State House Director of Communications, Sean Kampondeni, “elections were fraught with severe irregularities. That pointed to gaps in our governance structures. For this and other reasons, the President decided to engage the Tony Blair Institute to provide expertise with strengthening our governance institutions.” More or less.What Jane Ansah and her commissioners did was a crime. They sat down to commit a crime. You cannot use that crime to justify the hiring of the Tony Blair Institute. In fact, Justice Chifundo Kachale, who replaced Jane Ansah, was able to do an excellent job without Tony Blair’s involvement.
As we speak, he and his team continue to do an excellent job.If you used that crime to justify the hiring of Tony Blair, it means you do not know what you are doing. Those were criminals, they could exist in any system with or without Tony Blair. Secondly, without showing the contract with the Tony Blair Institute to Malawians, we are told, by word of mouth, that Malawians will not pay a single penny towards the Tony Blair Institute.
This is an institute that plans to hire nine people for the Malawi project. The last time they were here in 2012 to 2014, the eight people they hired at the time:-demanded houses with swimming pools;-big cars with fuel paid for;-flying in business class;-salaries of K6.1 million per person per month.All paid for by the sweat of the poor.As can be seen from their financial report, the Tony Blair Institute does not go around like Father Christmas with a bag full of cash, doling the cash out to starving African nations. On the contrary, African nations pay the institute for any services it provides.
***VIEWS expressed are of Onjezani Kenani straight from his Facebook page**