“Those Immigration officers are facing corruption charges, and the rest is background noise…Let Kalumo stay”


A prominent lawyer, Ayuba James, has written an open letter to President Lazarus Chakwera, shedding light on the underlying reasons behind the calls for the removal of Director General of Immigration, retired Brigadier Charles Kalumo.

According to James, who is also a renowned human rights activist, Kalumo’s efforts to tackle corruption and disorder within the department have made him a target for those who benefit from the status quo. James describes the Department of Immigration as “notorious for corruption” and alleges that employees have engaged in extortion and bribery, using middlemen to exploit desperate service seekers.

In his letter, James praises Kalumo’s hands-on approach, which includes directly engaging with service seekers and confronting compromised officers. He urges President Chakwera to support Kalumo’s anti-corruption crusade and to take action against corrupt officers within the department.

Law scholar Charles Dokera has also come out in support of Kalumo, dismissing calls for his removal as driven by corrupt interests.

Dokera alleges that junior officers, including guards, are involved in corrupt activities and that Kalumo has made significant progress in addressing these issues.

Both James and Dokera urge President Chakwera to stand firm against corruption and to support Kalumo’s efforts to reform the Department of Immigration.

“The reason some of those employees want Brigadier Charles Kalumo out is because he is the first Director General to take very direct and realistic measures to address corruption at that department, other than massaging it as others had been doing,” James wrote.

James pulled no punches, describing the Department of Immigration as “the most corrupt in Malawi among all departments that deal with issuance of public documents.”

He alleged that employees have their own “dobadobas” (middlemen) who extort money from desperate service seekers, promising to fast-track their applications.

“The first smell you hear upon approaching the Immigration Department in Lilongwe is the stench of corruption. It smells tough,” James declared.

But Kalumo’s arrival marked a turning point, according to James.

“He would ask service seekers how long ago they paid for their passports and what explanation they were given for not being helped. With that, he would trace the compromised officers and directly confront them,” James explained.

James personally witnessed Kalumo’s hands-on approach, recounting how the Commissioner General swiftly resolved a frustrating case involving a friend and a group of students from Bunda.

“Kalumo’s approach is ‘management by walking around.’

He would always take time asking service seekers randomly…With that, he would trace the compromised officers and directly confront them for not doing what is right,” James said.

James urged President Chakwera to stand firm against corruption and support Kalumo’s crusade.

“Let Kalumo stay in office. Find a way of firing all the compromised officers at the department. We know how much fight corruption puts in every time someone attempts to deal with it. It is so resistant. But it must be fought. And Kalumo fought it very well.”

Law scholar Dokera corroborated James’ assertions and has also thrown his weight behind Kalumo, dismissing calls for his removal.

“I come to dismiss the calls of firing Kalumo. Let him stay as he is the broom of filth at immigration,” Dokera said in a statement.

The former University of Malawi Students Union President alleges that the calls for Kalumo’s removal are driven by corrupt interests, and that the Commissioner General has been effective in tackling corruption at the department.

“The fight against immigration boss has been given a cosmetic face mask (by accusing Kalumo of being harsh and undemocratic).

Much as we don’t expect Kalumo to be over and above human errors, the real call against Kalumo borders on corrupt interests,” Dokera explained.

He added that junior officers, including guards, are involved in corrupt activities, and that Kalumo has narrowed the gaps they used to exploit.

“Officers are now hiding behind human rights violations or what have you against the Boss. The truth of the matter is that these officers are facing corruption charges, and the rest is background noise,” Dokera said.

Dokera urged President Chakwera to support Kalumo, stating that “the only punishment corrupt officers at immigration department can receive is to let Kalumo stay.”

“We might have lost at ACB, let us not lose at Immigration department again! Yours in service,” Dokera concluded.


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