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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Malawi’s Ombudsman Shakes State Institutions

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Godfrey Maotcha
Godfrey Maotcha
Born and grew up in Blantyre Malawi. Worked for the Guardian ( local newspaper) and Montfort Media for six years. A print and online media house. Currently lives in Lilongwe Malawi

MALAWI. Lilongwe: Malawi’s Office of Ombudsman has recently shaken the country’s state institutions with the latest being the communications regulatory body, the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority ( MACRA).

The Ombudsman is accusing MACRA of unlawfully recruiting staff including its Director-General.

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In a report titled ‘Secure in Deception’ released on May 10, the country’s Ombudsman’ Martha Chizuma accused the board of MACRA of removing the then serving Director General Andrew Kumbatira, appointing a new Director Godfrey Itaye and approving his appointment on the same day, contrary to the country’s employment laws.

“The appointment of the Itaye was not only illegal and irregular, but it was also a mockery to the public service recruitment process,” read the report.

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According to Chizuma, the MACRA Board was notified of the disapproval of Mr Kumbatira’s appointment on August 10, 2015 which was the same day that the Board was notified of the appointment of Itaye.

It was also on the same August 10, 2015 that the board deliberated the qualifications of Mr Itaye and approved of his appointment informing the Minister of Information of the approval.

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The Minister, also on the same day, wrote the board approving the appointment.

Apart from the Director General, it was learnt that 18 other people were unlawfully appointed into the communications body.

The Communications body allededly creating positions for them which never existed in the corporation.

Read Also: 5G Technology And Spread Of COVID-19

Other Cases

The office of the Ombudsman also blamed the appointment of another head of a government agency the Malawi Ernegy Regulatory Authority ( MERA), for lacking transparency and flouting procedures.

The Country’s former Attorney’ General, Kalekeni Kaphale and former head of the electoral commission were faulted for hiring South African lawyers in the Elections case which the then ruling party lost in court , paving way for a re run of the presidential polls.

A Spokesperson for the former ruling Democratic Progressive Party( DPP), Brown Mpinganjira wrote on his official Facebook page accusing the new government of Lazarus’ Chakwera of using institutions like the Office of the Ombudsman to punish political opponents

What MACRA Does

MACRA looks after telecommunications including regulation of radio and television frequencies.

It generates its revenue from broadcasting and mobile phone network operator fees which is one of reasons why politicians use it as a source of revenue to finance political activities.

This is the reason why the appointment of personnel to man the corporation is crucial.

The Office of the Ombudsman was established by Malawi’s parliament in 1994. It provides redress for individuals who have suffered abuse from state institutions.


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