wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy Privacy
Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06LILONGWE404
2006-05-10 15:44:00
CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN
Embassy Lilongwe
Cable title:  

NEW INTELLIGENCE SERVICE NOT UP AND RUNNING

Tags:   PGOV  KDEM  MI 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXYZ0018
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHLG #0404/01 1301544
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 101544Z MAY 06
FM AMEMBASSY LILONGWE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2732
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC
						C O N F I D E N T I A L LILONGWE 000404 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

STATE FOR AF/S GABRIELLE MALLORY
STATE FOR INR

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/10/2011
TAGS: PGOV KDEM MI
SUBJECT: NEW INTELLIGENCE SERVICE NOT UP AND RUNNING

REF: A. 06LILONGWE390


B. 05LILONGWE299

Classified By: Political Officer Tyler Sparks for reasons 1.4 B and A.



1. (C) Ambassador Eastham met with the newly appointed
Director General of Malawi's re-constituted Security
Intelligence Service (SIS), Brigadier General Rueben Ngwenya,
on May 9 to discuss SIS's mission and plans for
re-establishing an effective intelligence service in Malawi.
Ngwenya has been serving as the Director of Military
Intelligence, while his deputy Clemence James Kapalamula
comes from the ranks of the police service.



2. (C) Ngwenya outlined the way in which the SIS's
predecessor, the National Intelligence Bureau (NIB) had been
disbanded, and its leadership forced into retirement. The
rank and file of the NIB were subsequently absorbed by the
police service. As such, he and his deputy must set up the
service completely from scratch, cobbling together those they
can recruit back from the police and a completely new senior
staff. (COMMENT: According to an article in the May 10
Nation, some 200 of the former NIB employees have been found
to be unqualified for the work they were doing in the NIB
prior to its disbandment. END COMMENT) The SIS will work out
of the Office of the President and Cabinet and, while it will
have some small international component, will focus primarily
on domestic matters, including particularly potential
terrorism.



3. (C) Ngwenya was vague on the legal details of
re-establishing the service. Though a bill establishing the
SIS has been drafted, it is languishing in Cabinet and has
yet to be presented to Parliament. Even after it makes it
out of Cabinet, the bill will have to be passed by an
opposition-controlled Parliament worried about politically
motivated arrests (reftel A). Ngwenya himself, however, did
not seem overly concerned with the legislation or the fact
that the president has appointed him without Parliament's
approval, a move which has brought the government headaches
in the past (reftel B). COMMENT: In technical terms, he is
still a serving Malawi Defense Force officer and his deputy a
senior Malawi Police Service officer. While this may keep
their paychecks coming, it is politically risky to bypass
both the authorizers and the public appointments committee
(equivalent to confirmation) for an appointment of this
sensitivity. END COMMENT.



4. (C) In a separate conversation with the Minister of
Justice on May 10, the Minister said that the bill was indeed
stuck in Cabinet and that he had written to the President to
urge him to move it forward. He said (off-the-record) that he
had been surprised by the nomination of Ngwenya, since it had
been understood that the presentation of the bill in
Parliament would precede the nomination. Moreover, the
British High Commissioner told the Ambassador May 9 that the
assistance Mutharika had requested from the U.K. was on hold
until the bill was passed and that a U.K. technical advisor
on this subject was very likely to return home in the near
future, given the lack of progress toward achieving this
pre-condition for further training or other assistance for
the new service.




5. (C) Comment: We need to wait and watch how this plays
out. The new Director General stumbled when asked to
describe his organization's mission, saying that it was to
protect the national security of Malawi from threats such as
terrorism and the like. Moreover, we believe the government
faces a serious uphill struggle to pass the legislation in
the present parliament. The appointment of the Director
General, made during a parliamentary recess and without
consulting the leadership, presents a huge political target
for the opposition when the legislature reconvenes in June.
It is likely that this service will be internally (and
politically) focused, but until this becomes clearer, and
until the politics of the re-creation of the intelligence
service has played out, we'll be watching from a distance.
END COMMENT.



6. (C) Bio Note: Ngwenya moves into the position directly
from that of the Director of Military Intelligence, before
which he served as the Deputy Director of Military
Intelligence. According to post files he is both technically
and tactically astute, and has had extensive U.S. based
training. He has a reputation for flowing with the political
current, and has in the past bent to political pressure from
within the military. That said, he was the acting Director of
Military Intelligence during the disarmament of the Young
Pioneers in 1993/94.



EASTHAM