The Office of Ombudsman, which is a public watchdog institution against any acts of mal-administration occasioned by public officials, has become vacant on 30th June 2015 following the expiry of the term of office for Justice Tujilane Chizumila retired.
This situation means that no cases can be completed without the ombudsman in the office as it is the ombudsman who closes the cases that are brought to the office.
This has also brought some fears that some cases will take too long to be completed just like it happened before Chizumila took the office.
It took about 15 months for Chizumila to take the office after former ombudsman Enock Chibwana retired in 2009.
Speaking to Nyasa Times, on the sidelines of a sensitization workshop for public officers in Kasungu on Wednesday, Deputy Director of Documentation and Research in the Office of Ombudsman Felix Masekesa said the office will wait for the Public Appointments Committee (PAC) of the National Assembly to have the new ombudsman.
“PAC is responsible for the appointment of the new ombudsman, so it will be up to the committee to come up with the person to take over,” said Masekesa.
Meanwhile the office of the ombudsman says it is its wish to have cases handled with speed.
This comes as response to the public outcry that cases that are sent to the office take too long to be completed.
According to Masekesa it is not deliberate that the office takes time to complete the cases but there are some problems that the office faces.
“Getting relevant information for a case takes too long as sometimes people don’t give the information in time and some are reluctant to give the information.
“Another thing is that the office of the ombudsman is one of the lowest funded and it is difficult to go around and investigate the cases,” said Masekesa.
However Masekesa has assured the public that they are trying to put in place mechanisms that will make sure that cases are handled with speed.
“The public should be assured that we are putting in place mechanisms that will speed up the cases, we are implementing what we call a one year file cycle of handling the cases so that the cases do not take more than a year,” he said.
Ombudsman’s office has also teamed up with National Initiative for Civic Education in order to have cases be handled with speed.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :