The race to replacing former President Peter Mutharika as leader of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has started garnering curious interest with reports that former Reserve Bank of Malawi governor Dalitso Kabambe is eyeing the post.
According to reports, Kabambe is expected to make an announcement into frontline politics where he will be gunning for the leadership of the DPP.
Kabambe who was appointed RBM governor in 2017 was fired by the Lazarus Chakwera government with over a year to go on his contract. He is a seasoned civil servant who was assigned to be a Principal Secretary in the office of President and Cabinet for special duties. He refused to take up that redeployment to what most civil servants call ‘the Guantanamo Bay’ of the civil service.
On Wednesday. 29 December, Kabambe granted an interview to privately owned ZBS where he thinly disclosed that he is interested in joining frontline politics. It is now established that it is with the DPP that he will pursue his political career and it is for the top most seat of the party which Mutharika will be relinquishing.
In recent days, Kabambe has been mired in reports of opulence as allegations claimed that he was getting a salary of MK27 million a month.
In his defence, Kabambe dismissed the sum as over what he exactly got.
“I got about MK24 million,” he disclosed in the interview indicating that his remuneration was decided by the Board of the bank and it was in line with his years of service in the bank.
“When I entered the bank, I was only getting about MK8 million. The bank overperformed under my time, declaring profits of over MK50 billion, that necessitated the review of my terms of conditions. I was not involved in arranging for my perks,” Kabambe disclosed.
Some people have faulted Kabambe for the hefty package while others have labelled the attacks on his as political mudslinging especially now that he has declared interest to join politics.
“Kabambe did not arrange for his own salary, he was not even stealing it. He worked for it and there is no issue over that unless it is just politics that people want,” said a source who opted for anonymity. “What did they expect him to do, resign from the post because the salary was hefty, would you do that yourself: get a job, perform, your salary is adjusted, then resign because the new salary is hefty?”
Kabambe himself said on his salary that Malawi might need to revise salaries within the civil service if they are to address the situation he found himself in.
“But we must make sure that the Reserve Bank remains competitive enough and is not outsmarted by commercial banks,” he said.
A holder of a PhD in Development Economics from the United Kingdom’s Imperial College of the University of London, Kabambe is expected to face competition from embattled leader of opposition in Parliament Kondwani Nankhumwa.