Chaos deepens at immigration as 300 staff threaten to close airports and land borders if Kalumo is not sacked tomorrow – Malawi Nyasa Times

Nyasatimes has learned that about 300 Immigration Department staff across the country have threatened to close their offices, including at airports and land border posts, if the government fails to fire their boss, Charles Kalumo, tomorrow.

Staff said they took the resolution at a meeting last week at the immigration headquarters in Blantyre.

One of the senior officials who attended the meeting accused Kalumo of destabilizing the department’s hierarchy through unwarranted changes.

Concerned staff spokesman Charles Chisi said in an interview Monday that workers expect the issue to be resolved without the strike.

“Immigration is a disciplined department. We hope that the government will respond positively to our demands within the agreed period of ten days to prevent the planned industrial action,” he said.

Concerned immigration officials last Monday gave Kalumo 10 days to resign amid accusations of a tyrannical government and unfair bans.

A team meant to represent the disgruntled staff submitted a petition to the government on Monday evening through Maganga, who Chisi said had promised to take action within the stipulated timeframe.

He said staff want Kalumo removed because he allegedly verbally suspended several officers without giving them the right to be heard.

Attempts to speak to Kalumo about the allegations proved futile as his phone went unanswered despite several attempts.

However, government spokesperson Moses Kunkuyu says the Ministry of Internal Security will address the issue, but so far they have not responded.

The Department of Homeland Security’s Principal Secretary for Internal Security, Erica Maganga, referred us on Monday to Principal Secretary Steven Kayuni, who, however, did not respond to our calls and questionnaires.

Early last month, a group of passport seekers petitioned President Lazarus Chakwera to dismiss Internal Security Minister Ken Zikhale Ng’oma and Kalumo within 15 days for allegedly abandoning the nation.

Meanwhile, the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has asked the president to address the crisis rocking the department, including removing Kalumo.

In a statement dated June 2, 2024, co-signed by HRDC Chairman Gift Trapence and National Coordinator Kelvin Chirwa, Chakwera also called for termination of the passport issuing contract with local company E-Tech Systems and an open tender process for printing of passports.

Malawi is facing a crisis in the production of passports, which has left the immigration service with a backlog of 35,000 passports at a printing capacity of approximately 500 booklets per day.

The country has experienced passport issuance issues since Attorney General Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda canceled a $60.8 million (about K103.3 billion) Techno Brain contract in December 2021 over alleged poor handling of the contract.

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