There is crisis in Ministry of Agriculture as three junior officers have been promoted to Deputy Director and Deputy Program Manager positions (P4) from Chief Extension Officer and Districts Agricultural Development Officer (P6) position, bypassing many other long serving senior officers at P5.
Mr Andy Chikomola, of Department of Agricultural Extension Services (DAES) now becomes the Deputy Director there, while his boss Dr Jeromy Nkhoma who is acting Director remains at the same grade (P5). Dr Nkhoma is regarded as the most senior and most educated officer at DAES. He served as Chief Communication Officer there running the Achikumbe Magazine and producing Ulimi wa Lero Radio program before going to UK for his PhD. He later acted as Shire Valley ADD Program Manager before being brought back to DAES as Acting Director about two years ago.
Mrs Sheila Kang’ombe, DADO for Thyolo District has been appointed as Deputy Program Manager for Lilongwe ADD, where a Mr Kaperemera (P5) is acting as Program Manager. Mrs Annily Msukwa had been appointed Deputy Program Manager for Machinga ADD, where a Mr Chipeta (P5) is acting Program Manager.
In Civil Service, the most senior officer takes up the highest Office available in acting capacity, effectively meaning that these newly promoted junior officers will replace those in acting capacity at the respective duty stations even though they are promoted as deputies themselves. It is yet to be known if those in acting capacity (P5s) will be appointment to higher grades of P4, otherwise the writing is clear on the wall for them. This is very frustrating and demoralizing to these dedicated officers whose only crime might be in the name and districts of origin.
Such is the crisis that Ministry of Agriculture has found itself in as we start the New Year 2018.