Centre for Public Accountability demands immediate resignation or sacking of MERA Board

The Centre for Public Accountability demanded an immediate resignation of Mr. Leonard Chikadya and the entire Board of Directors of the Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) for gagging the Office of the Ombudsman through the court order the Board obtained to stop the Ombudsman from releasing findings of the investigations into the recruitment of MERA Chief Executive Officer Henry Kachaje.

MERA Board Chair Mr Chikadya: Must resign

The organizations acting Executive Director, Kondwani Bell Munthali, in a press release issued a short while ago, said the act of gagging a constitutional office from executing its mandate is a gross violation of the constitution itself, the trust public officials have to maintain with the public under section 12 of the Malawi Constitution and is an affront to public accountability.

“MERA is a public body under the Energy Regulatory Act (2004) therefore all its decisions are subject to public scrutiny, including the constitutional Office of the Ombudsman. An attempt to circumvent such constitutional body from discharging its mandate reflects the culture of arrogance y those holding public offices and lack of transparency that the MERA board wishes to perpetuate in Malawi.

“The Ombudsman determinations can be subjected to a review by the High Court where one is aggrieved. MERA Board has decided to hide information from Malawians as the best remedy for their below standard, archaic and clearly biased recruitment process,” says Munthali in the press release.

He observes that the act to gag a constitutional body is unprecedented in Malawi’s short democratic history and as such, he asks the appointing authority of the Board to immediately demand resignation of these undemocratic persons who do not believe in transparency and accountability.

“Should they not resign within 48 hours, we expect the appointing authorities, if they have any democratic credentials, to dissolve the MERA Board and a proper review by prosecution bodies be undertaken to determine if they did not breach the law, in their biased and discriminatory recruitment.

“The CPA wishes to congratulate all Malawians that have shared the Ombudsman report for enforcing the spirit of an open and accountable society, which is important towards developing good governance and accountability,” concludes Munthali.

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