MERA, Lilongwe Water Board shortlist unqualified candidates


A whistleblower has revealed that the Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) and the Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) have been shortlisting candidates that are unqualified for the senior positions of chief executive officers, a procedure faulted by the Ombudsman as smacking of corruption and abuse of procedures in parastatal appointments for senior positions.

According to the whistleblower, people who have been invited for interviews for the LWB CEO role include Sili Mbewe who has Bachelor of Education & ACCA, Linda Phiri who has a Masters in Business Administration & ACCA and registered engineer Robert Hanjahanja.

The other candidates are Maclean Nyang’wa, Alfonso Chikuni and Gustaf Chikasema, all of whom are registered engineers and hold Masters degrees.

There are questions over the inclusion of Sili Mbewe on the shortlist who is said to be inadequately qualified for the position.

“The board has already acted in a chary & wary manner by short-listing Mr. Sili Mbewe. The advert for the position was very clear on possession of a Masters degree but “someone” has made sure Mbewe is on the list though he doesn’t have the required qualifications,” said the whistleblower Mulotwa Mulotwa.

At MERA there are also similar concerns. The MERA board interviewed several people for the position of CEO and they include economist Henry Kachaje, Richard Chapweteka who has a Masters degree, PhD holder Ted Nankhumwa, Alfonso Chikuni and Ishmael Chioko who holds an MBA.

According to the whistleblower, after interviews Henry Kachaje came out top with 89%, Alfonso Chikuni scored 78% while Chioko who is acting MERA CEO got 70%.

However, it has been discovered that Kachaje only holds a Social Science degree and does not have a Masters degree which was the requirement for the job.

According to the whistleblower, this has put Kachaje’s hiring in limbo.

“Should board members remain steadfast on Masters requirement, the job will either go to Chikuni or Chioko,” said the whistleblower.

At MERA, the new CEO will replace Dr. Collins Magalasi whose appointment was faulted by Ombudsman Martha Chizuma

In her report in March, Chizuma said the appointment of Magalasi without MERA advertising the position and allowing for fair and open competition was illegal. Chizuma then directed that the contract should be treated as a nullity right from start.